Bridging the Distance | 1947-the-promise-of-a-better-future
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Overpopulation, unemployment and housing shortages,
together with the threat of a new war,
made many Dutch people susceptible to the lures
of a better life in the ‘land of tomorrow’.

Willem Drees

‘Een deel van ons volk moet het aandurven, als in vroeger eeuwen, zijn toekomst te zoeken in grotere gebieden dan eigen land’
[translation: ‘A proportion of the population should be willing, as in past centuries, to seek its future elsewhere other than in its own country’]

PRIME MINISTER WILLEM DREES, New Year’s message, 1950

After WWII migration was actively promoted and assisted not only by the Australian, but also by the Dutch government. Placards, fliers and brochures depicted Australia as a country with endless opportunities, where immigrants could own their own home and motor vehicle. An extensive network of migration offices was set up and information evenings were held around the country to attract people to migrate. At some point, one-third of the population seriously considers emigrating.

‘Australia, land of tomorrow’

The Dutch Emigration Board produced this propaganda film. The story of successfully building a livelihood in Australia has been told using a mixture of documentary material and acted scenes. However it  emphasized that one should accept any job that was offered at first, as it would be worth the price of a new life in Australia.