NAAL: Netherlands Alumni Association of Lanka
in touch with alumni
Alumni Associations in Asia
in the post-1945 period, many overseas students have studied at
universities in Western countries. The Netherlands faced the problem that the
Dutch language formed a serious obstacle. In order to solve the language
problem institutes which concentrated on post-graduate training were set
up. An additional advantage has been that the brain drain phenomenon,
linked to full-fledged training abroad, could be avoided. Participants must
have a job to which they can return after finishing their one to two years'
study in the Netherlands..
600 courses are currently offered each year. More information on these courses
can be found on the following websites:
increasingly globalized world good networks are of prime importance. For
this reason NUFFIC (The Netherlands Organization for International
Cooperation in Higher Education) has been promoting the creation of
Netherlands Alumni Associations (NAAs) most of them in Asia (Indonesia,
Korea, India, Bangladesh, Thailand, Nepal, the Philippines, and Singapore).
The most successful NAA operates in Sri Lanka and has 500 members. Its
secretariat is accommodated in the Dutch Period Museum in Colombo, a former
orphanage which was set up by the VOC (United Dutch East India Company)
during the period that this company dominated the coastal provinces of
Alumni from Sri
With the assistance of the Netherlands Alumni Association of Lanka [NAAL],
the orphanage was restored as a Dutch Period Museum and opened by President
Jayewardena in 1982. Especially for a small country like the Netherlands
which cannot (or does not want to) afford to appoint cultural attaches at
smaller embassies, a Netherlands Alumni Association can function as a
surrogate. In Sri Lanka the association has been active in organizing
lectures, filmshows, exhibitions, and providing information on
international programmes in the Netherlands. It has also been closely
involved in the twinning arrangement between the Srilankan city of Galle
and the Dutch municipality of Velsen. Velsen has assisted Galle with
various projects such as the building of 50 houses for fishermen and two
community centres. Galle is a city with many remains of the Dutch period in
Sri Lanka. Inside the Dutch fort, which has been well maintained, there are
still 400 houses dating back to VOC times. These buildings are of dual
parentage, as their architecture betrays both European and Ceylonese
influences. In 1987 the Galle fort was placed on the World Heritage list of
In February 1995 an international seminar on European architecture was held
in Colombo. As a follow-up eight Sri Lankan architects attended a
three-month course on integrated urban revitalization and heritage in Sri
Lanka at the Institute for Housing Studies in Rotterdam. Every year some 50
Sri Lankans attend an international programme in the Netherlands. The
Stichting Nederland-Sri Lanka which was instrumental in raising funds for
the restoration of the Dutch Period Museum keeps in touch with these
participants and stimulates their join the NAAL on their return home.
In February 1996 the NAAL celebrated its 25th anniversary. Fostering alumni
activities has proved to be a useful contribution to permanent links
between academics all over the world.
The tsunami disaster of 2004 resulted in much extra work for the
NAAL, since Velsen started a large fundraising campaign for her twin-city
Galle which suffered a lot from the floods.
In addition to advising and supervising the distribution of funds,
raised in Velsen, a special Tsunami Facility for Dutch Private Initiatives
was set up in Colombo at the residence and under the guidance of Mr. S.P.C.
Kumarasinghe, the President of NAAL.
In May 2006 the activities of this Facility came to a successful
Alumni Association of Lanka (NAAL)
(open Monday to Friday: 09.00 - 15.00)
C/o Dutch Period Museum
95, Prince Street
Tel./fax (0094) - (0)11 - 2 447 002
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