The Borrelclub (a club of Dutch gin drinkers) had its foundation in 1964, when the Officer-in-Charge of the local Dutch Emigration Service, Mr Cees Mossel, invited a few prominent expatriate Dutch businessmen for an after work ‘borrel’ at his office. Business problems and experiences of Dutch immigrants became the topic of discussion and it was found that these exchanges could be beneficial for other expatriates. This first meeting, fuelled by the ‘borrels’ was such a success that a repeat was called for with a few more people.
These functions soon became regular events and thus the ‘Brisbane Borrelclub’ was born. As the number of members increased, a bigger venue had to be found, a contribution to the costs was levied, a constitution adopted and a committee elected with Mr Sjaak Timmermans as first chairman.
Participation was initially possible only by invitation of Mr Cees Mossel and later only by nomination and subsequent approval of the members – primarily, one had to be able to speak the Dutch language. This, sometimes criticised, selective membership has, however, assured the club of a mostly harmonious group of individuals.
A ‘Borrelclub’ meeting are held on every first Wednesday of the month. The members enjoy the opportunity to speak in Dutch, exchange information, be friends to each other and, as the name implies, enjoy a social drink together. Members and their partners also enjoy several organised outings throughout the year.
With the ‘ageing’ of the club-members and the introduction of second generation ‘borrelaars’ as well as the fact that some members are married to ‘foreigners’, Dutch is spoken less frequently during the meetings. It should be noted however, that as a condition of membership a certain amount of understanding of the Dutch language is still demanded. The club continues to hold on to most of the Dutch traditions and above all to the typical Dutch `gezelligheid’.
Ad van der Syde (Secretary). September 2000
In 2022 the Borrelclub is still going strong!