Hawthorn, Victoria Australia (PressExposure) September 12, 2006 -- It was 400 years ago that Dutch sailors first sighted Australian shores but left deterred by our rough exterior.
Today, however, rugged Australia appeals to the citizens of the Netherlands greatly. And just this year the spirit of a Dutchman-led Socceroos captured the attention of the world during their most successful World Cup campaign.
Arrangements between Australia and Netherlands that allow thousands of young Australian and Dutch holiday makers to work in each others countries were formalised at a ceremony today.
Australia's Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Amanda Vanstone, announced that the Ambassador for the Kingdom of the Netherlands and her department had signed a Memorandum of Understanding celebrating 25 years of working holiday arrangements between Australia and the Netherlands .
"The arrangement with the Netherlands is a win-win for young people from both our countries," Senator Vanstone said.
"The boost provided to the Australian economy by young Dutch travellers is welcomed by both our tourism sector and employers."
Senator Vanstone said it was also appropriate that the MOU was signed during the 400 th anniversary of first contact between Australia and the Netherlands .
The Ambassador for the Kingdom of Netherlands, His Excellency Niek van Zutphen also praised the arrangements.
"In this year of bilateral celebrations, it is very fitting that we try to encourage even more young people to visit each others' countries," Ambassador van Zutphen said.
"This will ensure that our strong bilateral relations will continue in the future,"
The Netherlands is the third largest source of European short-term visitors to Australia. Each year about 60,000 Dutch tourists and 3,000 young Dutch working holiday makers visit Australia.
The Working Holiday Programme allows young people (aged from 18 to 30 years) from participating countries to travel and experience different lifestyles and cultures and to work to subsidise their holiday.
- Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs