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Arrival of Dutch immigrants national news across Canada

Kota Inten and Tabinta delivered early waves in 1948

Tags: Immigration World War II HistoryCanadian troops had invaded the Netherlands just a few short years earlier, and now Dutch farmers and labourers were arriving by the thousands in Canada with their families after having crossed the Atlantic Ocean in hastily converted troop transport ships that were sparse on amenities.
The advance of Canadian troops as they crossed into The Netherlands three years earlier, in late March 1945, was first met by deadly fire from a stubbornly resisting German occupier and, once driven off, welcomed by a jubilant Dutch population, happy to have regained its liberty. News of the Canadian’s campaign on Dutch soil received updates daily in numerous newspapers in North America.
Three years later, newly arriving Dutch ‘settlers’ were put in the spotlight by the media across Canada upon landing in one of the harbours and subsequently locally as the trains carrying them dropped the immigrants off at the railway stations at or near their destination.
In 1948 the converted freighters Kota Inten and Tabinta plied the Atlantic Ocean back and forth taking their thousands to the New World. The Kota Inten departed Rotterdam for Canada on March 12, April 8, May 7, June 4, July 6, August 10 and September 7, which ended its Canada-bound ‘sailings’. The Tabinta, which had taken its first party of immigrants to Canada in September 1947, resumed its schedule on April 27 of 1948, followed by another one on May 22, then on June 18, and July 16 and again on August 19, the final one of that year.
A number of attempts were made in the past, to organize a reunion of fellow travelers. Burlington, Ontario book seller Gerry Den Bok organized a reunion in a London, Ontario, park on the 50th of his arrival on the Kota Inten in August 1998. He had advertised the planned event in a few Dutch immigrant publications and documented who attended and who expressed regrets, and took a number of snapshots as evidence of the happening. Years later, while downsizing, he shipped all his files for safekeeping to the Windmill Archives.
As the Dutch immigrant community settled in its new environs, it never lost sight of the sacrifices that Canada and its hundreds of thousands soldiers made for the cause of freedom. Evidence of official ‘Thank Yous’ can be found all over the country, from memorials to carillons. None surpasses the annual bulb donations by Dutch royalty for Ottawa’s parks and Canadian Tulip Festival.
Thanks to John Hultink of St. Catharines, Ontario-based Paideia Press, the book ‘To All Our Children, The Story of Postwar Dutch Immigration to Canada’ has well documented that history, and illustrated it with many hundreds of rare snapshots which enhance the story of this significant migration very well.
(Copies of the book To All Our Children are available at the online bookshop on and at