Kerikeri's Dutch Festival could become an annual event after more than 500 people turned out for the inaugural get-together on Saturday.

Held at Kingston House on Hone Heke Rd, the festival featured a children's flea market, traditional games and a wide range of Dutch and Indonesian food.

While the daytime attractions had a child-friendly focus, after 4pm it was the adults' turn for some fun with a bar, a singer and a DJ playing Dutch favourites.

The festival marked Koningsdag, the official birthday of King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands, where April 27 is a public holiday and an excuse for a nationwide street party.


It is celebrated in every village and town in the country but nowhere more than in Amsterdam, where up to a million orange-clad revellers pack the city's streets and canals.

Koningsdag has been celebrated in the past at Whangārei's Arts Quarry but Saturday's event was a first for the Far North.

Monique Ansems, one of the organisers, said she was thrilled with the response.

"I'm blown away with how many people came, especially because it's the first time."

People came from as far away as Whangārei, Mangawhai and Auckland with most dressing in orange, the national colour of the Netherlands.

Festival-goers were a mix of people celebrating their Dutch heritage and those who were curious or wanted to try the Dutch and Indonesian food.

Prices had been kept low so people could sample a range of dishes, Ansems said.

Indonesian cuisine had become part of Dutch food culture due to the country's colonial history in what was once the Dutch East Indies.


The weather had played a part in ensuring a good turnout, she added.

"It was like a summer's day, just as we'd hoped."

Food included poffertjes (mini pancakes), oliebollen (Dutch doughnuts), salted herring, croquette rolls, and Indonesian dishes such as gado-gado and rendang.

Children were able to earn extra pocket money at a kids' flea market and take part in games such as sjoelen (shuffleboard), stilt walking, sack races, koekhappen (bite-the-cake) and spijkerpoepen (best not translated).

Hospitality students from QRC's Tai Tokerau campus helped at the festival entrance and various food stalls.

In the 2013 Census, 1245 people out of Northland's total population of just over 150,000 described themselves as Dutch.

Ansems said Whangārei's Dutch Festival drew as many as 4000 people in its final year but that would be a lot more than the Kerikeri venue could handle.