The first Holland Festival was organized in 1990, by the combined Dutch clubs in Southern California. The plan was to give the Dutch community one big event per year, where family and friends would come together to celebrate Dutch culture. To ensure that this was all well organized and executed, a new non-profit umbrella organization was established called United Netherlands Organizations (UNO). The board of directors consists of representatives and volunteers of all the affiliated social Dutch clubs/organizations.
Who is coming to this event?
Many visitors of this event have roots in Holland and some have lived in Holland before they came to the States. Some still have or had Dutch nationality. A large and still growing percentage of the American born public have roots in both Holland and the former Dutch East Indies – a former colony of Holland now known as Indonesia. Before Indonesia became independent the country was under Dutch rule and had a Western/Dutch oriented society. Over a period of hundreds of years, a hybrid community emerged in South East Asia. Many people are also of mixed race, often children of European fathers and indigenous women. Regardless of their often Dutch or now American nationality, this ethnic group of Eurasians call themselves also INDO (from the word Indo-European and not Indonesian). They like to celebrate their unique sub-culture, which has cultural elements of both continents. After World War II most Dutch nationals migrated to Holland and some migrated through to the US. This explains the many Indonesian themed vendors and the Indo rock music performed at the Holland Festival.
Change event name?
Suggestions have been made to change the name of the event to reflect the growing number of people of mixed Indo-Dutch heritage. The board has discussed the possibility of changing the name. After giving it considerable thought, the board members have decided by majority vote, to remain true to the name and the theme as initiated by its founders. The name of the event has become a strong recognizable brand. Not only to keep attracting people with an affinity for Holland, but also to interest future sponsors who want to be associated to this festival. After all, we are a non-profit and to make this festival happen we want to make it affordable and fun for all.
We now celebrate multicultural Holland. Instead of changing the name of the event to recognize people who claim multiple ethnic affiliations and who have roots in both continents, the following subtitle was added: A celebration of our shared cultural heritage of Holland and Indonesia (the former Dutch East Indies).
The objective remains to deliver on the brand promise and offer a memorable experience with an even mix of all cultures. This event has become the largest Holland and Indo Dutch community event in North America.
Read about our last 28th annual Holland Festival.
I was at the very first Festival back in 1990, but have missed the other festival years until 2005 returning ever since. (Between 1990-2005 military service). I have been to other cultural festivals and noticed one thing they always do, and thats the National Athem before the start of the festivities. Being thats is festival takes place on Memorial weekend and America is our adoptive country. I think that its only right we give honor to the country that provided so much for us. We need to stand and play our National Athem sometime in the beginning of the festival.