Freo's View


Posted in city of fremantle, racism, Uncategorized, war by freoview on September 13, 2017


Anne Frank Sept 13


The moving ANNE FRANK Let Me Be Myself touring exhibition starts today in Fremantle at the Woolstores Shopping Centre and should not be missed.

Anne Frank’s story is a very sad one about a young Jewish girl who had to hide with her family in a secret annex of a house in Amsterdam during Hitler’s nazi regime and German occupation of the Netherlands during Worldwar II.

While they were hiding Anne wrote a beautiful diary, but sadly after two years she and her family were discovered and deported to concentration camps. From the eight people only father Otto Frank survived.

Intolerance to other people’s religion, culture and race should never be accepted.

The exhibition is on till October 31 and open from 10 am to 5 pm.


Roel Loopers



Posted in community, fremantle, newspaper by freoview on March 21, 2016

Oud Hagenaar



I have been called a do-gooder, bleeding heart, lefty, socialist, Greenie, communist, egomaniac, anti-development, alcoholic, Fremantle Council basher, weirdo, heathen, and so on, so it is nice to feel appreciated with a full page in De Oud Hagenaar community newspaper in the city where I was born 67 long years ago.

They distribute 74,000 copies of the paper around the city and train stations and I have already received a few emails from people in Hague, Netherlands who wanted to get in touch with me.

I left Holland in 1969 to start my career as a media photographer in Nuremberg, West Germany and migrated to Australia in March 1982

If only 10% of those who read the article are inspired to visit Fremantle I have done my job at promoting the city I love.

Roel Loopers


Posted in fremantle, hospitality by freoview on February 23, 2016

Good news for Freo’s Dutchies! The Dutch club Neerlandia has closed in Cambridge Street, Wembley and are now sharing the premises of the German Rhein Donau Club in Myaree. To stay with the two-river name the Dutchies have changed the name to Maas en Waal.

On Friday it will be borrel avond for the Dutchies from 5.30 to 9 pm at 110 North Lake Road, Myaree and the kitchen will offer all the Dutch goodies, as well as German food.

Roel Loopers



Posted in art, fremantle, photography by freoview on February 13, 2016



When I photographed the cruise ship Queen Mary from the pedestrian bridge to the Fremantle Port passenger terminal yesterday I looked down and took this photo. It reminded me of the late and great painter Jeffrey Smart, one of my favourite artists in the world.

Unlike Smart I have not made a huge amount of money out of my art photography and my biggest success was a sell-out show Blue Fire in Nuremberg, Germany in 1991 and a commission for 75 B&W photos capturing the essence and lifestyle of Perth for a company named Sealcorp. But for the rest my exhibitions all over Australia were well received but not financially supported.

But I love taking photos and capturing the moment and recording the history of my beloved Freo, so who cares about money hey. ; >)

Roel Loopers


Posted in fremantle, housing, poverty by freoview on June 8, 2015


There has been a lot of focus in the (social)media lately about housing affordability with Fremantle Greens senator Scott Ludlam calling for an end to negative gearing, and one of the leading Australian economists, Saul Estlake of the Bank of America Merryl Lynch, saying that house prices cause social and economic harm in Australia.

Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt has kept us regularly updated on his blog about housing in some of Europe’s most liveable cities and it is interesting to note that the City of Berlin has put a ceiling on rents, while other cities monitor and refuse to accept the sale of over-priced residential properties and force owners to lower prices. I know that will sound a bit too socialist to most of us in Australia, but Germany is governed by the conservatives, so that makes it even more remarkable.

The fundamental principle of Germany, one of the leading economies in the world, is to keep housing costs stable and affordable and that is partly done by regular release of more land.

Residential property and rental prices affect a huge number of people in Australia and I was amazed to see this morning that wealthy Australia shamefully ranks tenth on the list of nations with people living under the poverty line, a staggering 14 per cent in ‘the best country on earth’.

Roel Loopers


Posted in city of fremantle, housing by freoview on June 3, 2015

I enjoy Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt’s blog posts on his fact finding trip to liveable European cities, as there is always something we can learn. But I wonder why something from elsewhere always makes a bigger impression and people like our Mayor say we should do this in Fremantle. Take Brad’s blog on Hamburg for example.

The Mayor raves about affordable housing projects in the German city of Hamburg, where like-minded people get involved to create the environment they’d like to live in. I suggested something along those ideas in one of the many Freo Future 2029 workshops I attended, but it was not even mentioned in the elaborate document the COF published.

My idea at the time was to create affordable housing projects for e.g. artists and other creative people, with shared meeting and dining areas and open green spaces, maybe even sharing cars, scooters, bikes, washing machines, etc. Each project specifically designed for the needs of that specific group, so they take ownership of the creation.

I think this is a pretty good example of governments not listening well enough to the community, but spending a lot of money on overseas trips to get exited about ideas overseas, that locals at home also had, but went unnoticed.

It reminds me all a bit too much of when I hear people say that  WA artists can’t be very good if they have not had exhibitions in the eastern states and overseas. Believing that the best is elsewhere shows a lack of confidence in the place one lives in.

Roel Loopers


Posted in employment, fremantle, IMMOGRATION by freoview on January 5, 2015

Moving house is always quite unsettling and even more so at the start of a new year and makes me a bit philosophical. I was thinking how important it is to enjoy the journey of life, because the destination-death-is pretty shitty, unless one believes in heaven and pearly gates, or a lot of virgins waiting. My idea of heaven would be more a massive cello orchestra serenading me all day.

Let’s forget the undesirable end of life and concentrate on the beauty of the journey, of meeting great people, seeing great countries and engaging with great cultures. With an open mind and tolerance one will experience extraordinary things that are as mind-blowing as they are life changing.

Nearing the end of my journey I have found that the vast majority of people all over the world are good and kind people, who want to engage and are willing to help and share.

Strangely some of my favourite countries are third-world ones with a lot of poverty, but also a huge amount of culture and celebration of life. I twice spent six weeks in Sri Lanka and it was sublime on both occasions. Delightful people, stunning nature, and delicious food. Prague in the seventies was poor with large queues for food, but what a magnificent city and lifestyle. The small student bars, the music, the old Jewish cemetery, the stunning buildings and bridges. People who had little made something out of nothing. Rwanda, Morocco, Kenya, Croatia, London, Berlin, Paris, Venice, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Sydney, Alice Springs, Purnululu. I could go on. Wow, what beauty!

I lived a happy youth in the Netherlands before moving to the south of Germany where I lived a great life for 13 years and started my career as a photographer that I loved, and still do. Adjusting to a new culture, habits, food, etc. is always a challenge but I love the challenge of change and adaptation and learning a new language.

No doubt my move to Australia was the biggest one in my life. To give up everything to start in a country one knows little about and where one knows only two people, who also recently migrated, is enormous. The frustration of not finding work fast and of being told one is over-qualified, or that one has no Australian experience is demoralising. To have to start as a kitchenhand, cook, waiter, when one is an experienced professional media photographer, was probably one of the biggest personal challenges, but I was proud I was good at those jobs as well.

West Australia was far more embracing when we arrived in late 1984 with businesses keen to start working with us and let me do their corporate photography. We were flat out with work within six months of arriving and it hardly stopped for those first seven golden years.

But then the challenge of separating from the woman I had lived with for 20 years became bigger than anticipated and resulted in a huge midlife crisis and depression, which led me to sell my lovely Fremantle house and everything I had and to start driving throughout Australia. This was probably the darkest period of my life, but also the most character building one. Eight months and 58,000 kilometres later I knew I wanted to get involved with my local community more. I wanted to speak out against social injustice and lose my shyness of public speaking. I had survived my epic life-threatening trip and nothing would deter me from standing up for what I believe is right. That was probably not a wise career move because many businesses were now less keen to work with me because I supported our Indigenous people and social causes, but money had never been a big factor in my life as there was always enough to have a good lifestyle. Fremantle has been just the right place for that. I love being part of a community of really interesting people.

This blog has helped me to express who I am and what I believe in and to show I have real compassion and empathy for people and for the great city of Fremantle, but some people judge me on that and believe I criticise the City of Fremantle too much and don’t deserve to get photography or other work in this city. There are always some narrow-minded few who are better at judging others than being part of the solution themselves.

The last quarter of my journey-if I get that far-has set me the basic challenge of survival, of finding work that pays enough to pay the bills. The photographic industry has changed dramatically and I am no longer in the loop of designers, architects, the mining industry, etc. and work has become sparse. The challenge here though is mainly with those who are reluctant to give someone of my age a chance and realise my potential outside photography. I work bloody hard and take on ownership of any work I do. There are not many who are more reliable, dedicated and punctual than I am, but at 66 experience is just dismissed as old age by many employers.

I love life and working with people, so somewhere out there is the perfect job for me. My journey has not finished yet, so why not become part of it. Bring it on and let me positively surprise you!

Roel Loopers


Posted in fremantle, war, ww I by freoview on November 9, 2014

last gentlemen of war

There is an historic exhibition at the Fremantle Maritime Museum about the WW I battle between the HMAS Sydney and the German cruiser SMS Emden, which happened on November 9, 1914 near the Cocos Islands.

The Last Gentlemen of War tells a story of humour, decency and honour and recreates the battle that ended in the Emden being run onto a reef to save the 243 crew still alive after more than 120 had been killed by heavy fire from the Sydney. Captain John Glossop of the HMAS Sydney wired the message “Emden beached and done for.”

Remarkably the surviving Germans escaped and after a harrowing adventure reached Constantinople where they joined other German forces.

The exhibition is free and runs till April 26 next year.

Roel Loopers



Posted in fremantle, tourism by freoview on September 9, 2014

Whenever I mention that tourism is important for Fremantle and that we should do more to attract and keep visitors longer, someone will say that Freo can’t just remain that sleepy little cute tourist backwater, but needs strong economic growth, more offices, residents, shops, etc. Yep, all of that but not at the expense of tourism.

Figures released by WA Tourism shows that Western Australia is very popular, with a 7.3 percent increase of visitors, with the top number being from Singapore. But there was a staggering 22.8 percent increase of German tourists to our state, so that will be good for me to practise my German language skills. Guten Tag, wilkommen zu Fremantle!.

Good access to free wi-fi is also important to tourists and most use their mobile phones to access maps, and destination information, while restaurant and event guides are also sought after.

I repeat again and again that the visitors I meet weekly as a tourguide at the Round House unconditionally love Fremantle’s cute and beautiful heritage character and lifestyle, so I believe the City of Fremantle should put even more effort in creating new tourist attractions in our city.

Roel Loopers


Posted in fremantle by freoview on July 31, 2014

I am astounded to read in the West Australian newspaper today that a quarter of WA primary schools no longer teach foreign languages. Only four years ago all primary schools taught a foreign language.

Schools claim the reasons for dropping foreign languages are lack of funding, lack of foreign language teachers, and that they want to concentrate on literacy and numeracy instead.

I went to school in the Netherlands and learned French, German and English and it did not affect my numeracy or literacy skills at all. In fact it enabled me to start my career as a photographer in Germany and to migrate to Australia. On both occasions my language skills were good enough to not have a huge culture shock in the new countries of my choice, and over a relatively short time I became very fluent at them.

It is short-sighted to believe English-speaking nations do not need foreign language skills. Western Australian schools should be teaching the languages of our close neighbours and trading partners such as Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Indonesian, as this will open up career opportunities both in Australia and overseas.

To be able to read and write foreign languages has been a blessing for me and helped me to follow my love for photography and make it into my profession. It is also very rewarding to see how much tourists to the Round House appreciate those tour guides who can speak their language as it gives a sense of bonding.

Don’t limit the opportunities for our children. Give them a chance to work overseas by teaching them foreign languages!

Roel Loopers


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