Today I had the pleasure presenting at the Welcome to Delft event, which as the name clearly reflects, focusses on welcoming newcomers to Delft.
ACCESS is a wonderful organisation that has been supporting English speakers in the Netherlands for over 35 years, and organises this event twice a year in conjunction with the Gemeente Delft. It was a delight to catch up with Executive Director of ACCESS, Deborah Valentine, and volunteer Kitty.
Hosted at DOK, the library and cultural centre in Delft, guests followed an informative programme throughout the morning:
They were welcomed by vice-mayor of Delft, Maaike Zwart, who herself has lived abroad so is familiar of the experience of getting to know a new city. She encouraged newcomers to understand the Dutch culture may not seem as welcoming as some others (for example, on one of her foreign assignments, a colleague made her breakfast each day!), but that everyone IS still very welcome here and it may just take some effort.
Fabienne Scholte-Buijs, from the TU Delft Coming to Delft Service also welcomed guests, sharing that TU Delft is the largest employer in the city for internationals.
Catriona Rush is originally from Ireland, but living here long term in the Netherlands. As a cross cultural consultant and trainer, she gave some tips about living in the Netherlands and how to communicate with “the locals”.
I gave a 15 minute presentation on culture and sporting activities, and was attending on behalf of Delft MaMa – a community supporting international families in Delft, for which I have been involved with on some level for almost 16 years. I was living in Delft, far from family in Australia, when I fell pregnant with my first child, and found that the support from others was so valuable.
I look forward to welcoming a new group to Delft in September!