Dutchcare chief executive, Petra Neeleman, has been awarded a knighthood – The Order of Oranje-Nassau.
On the eve of her Abdication, Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands awarded Dame Neeleman (pictured) the prestigious title.
The Knighthood was presented to Dame Neeleman during the reception that was hosted to celebrate the Inauguration of His Majesty King Willem-Alexander in Melbourne last month. The Honorary Consul for the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Hans Nieuwland, presented the distinguished medal.
For more than 25 years, DutchCare has been looking after the welfare of the Dutch elderly in Victoria. Both in aged residential accommodation, including intensive care and also in home support.
Dame Neeleman has been chief executive of DutchCare from the beginning and has been instrumental in bringing together a group of diverse care organisations into one strong and professional aged care group.
Born in Delft, The Netherlands, Dame Neeleman came to Australia with her family when she was three and half years old.
She has been involved in aged care in the Dutch community since October 1986 when she joined the Committee of the Holland Australia Retirement Foundation (HARF) and became chief executive in 1991.
DutchCare cares for 172 elders in the residences at Carrum Downs and Kilsyth, 135 elders in the home care programs, 87 independent living units and provides services to many more in the Dutch community.
The Order of Orange-Nassau (Orde van Oranje-Nassau,) is a military and civil Dutch order of chivalry founded on 4 April 1892 by the Queen regent Emma of the Netherlands, acting on behalf of her under-age daughter Queen Wilhelmina.
The Order is a chivalry order open to "everyone who has earned special merits for society".