Recent Dutch-Language Publications.
Every two years in Brussels the Europalia Arts festival is organized. In 2017 Indonesia was chosen to be the focus in its series of cultural events and expositions. Europalia was a prestigious event that was honored by the patronage of Indonesian President Joko Widodo and the Belgian King and Queen. The Indonesian Ministry of Education and Culture was deeply involved in the planning of Europalia, as well as counterparts in the Belgian government and in cultural institutions. This Europalia must have taken years to prepare. One of its features was an exposition in the Paleis voor Schone Kunsten (Center for Fine Arts) in Brussels (October 2017-January 2018) about ancestors and rituals in Indonesia. This theme was chosen as the remembrance of ancestors throughout the history of the Archipelago--a lasting and recurrent feature that is common to all parts of Indonesia, however different the format of this homage and the rituals surrounding it. Moreover, the theme is excellently suited for an exhibition as there are many objects that from a scholarly as well as an artistic viewpoint are interesting. In the catalogue of the exhibition about 125 objects are pictured, of which about 80 are accompanied by extensive explanations by experts from Indonesia and Europe. They adhere to a high scholarly standard, and expect their readership to have some basic knowledge of the subject. The objects date from the prehistory to the present, and originate from all parts of Indonesia with an emphasis on East Indonesia and North Sumatra. Nine Indonesian and five European institutions loaned from their collections, with most of them from the National Museum in Jakarta, which shipped a number of its top objects to Brussels. Composition and material are very heterogeneous, ranging from stone, bronze, and gold to textiles, and much more. Four essays (20 pages), by Daud Aris Tanudirjo, Heddy Shri Ahimsa, Abdul Munir Mulkhan, Pieter ter Keurs, and Nico de Jonge, give background and also trace the influence of the rituals in present-day Indonesian society, which are alive as ever. In all, this book is separate from a fine-illustrated catalogue as well a scholarly publication. Editions in English and French are also available.
Albert G. van Zonneveld, Traditionele wapens van Borneo: De uitrusting van de koppensnellers. Deel II Speren en blaasroeren. Leiden: Sunfield Publishing, 2017, 159 pp. ISBN: 9789081927437. Price: EUR 60.00 (to order via sunfieldpublishing @gmail.com) (hardback).
Growing from a personal fascination, Albert van Zonneveld (1951) studied and studies traditional weaponry from Indonesia, and has published a few reference books on the subject. He is now in the process of publishing three volumes on the traditional weapons of Borneo. The original inhabitants were notorious for their head-hunting practices, which were deeply rooted in their traditional beliefs. In 2015 the first volume (still available) was published on shields and war clothes, with an introduction to put Borneo society in perspective, including the head-hunting. Volume two, recently published, deals with spears, blowpipes and their arrows, quivers, and the poison used to make the arrows lethal. A third and last volume will deal with the swords and knives that were used when head-hunting. The second volume, with 460 illustrations, mostly in color, with old photographs added, contains exhaustive discussions of the weaponry--manufacturing, typology, use, origin, present depository. The professional skill and craftsmanship of its makers is astonishing. And that goes as well for the admirable meticulousness that Van Zonneveld invested in this book series.
Piet Hagen, Koloniale oorlogen in Indonesie: Vijf eeuwen verzet tegen vreemde overheersing. Amsterdam/Antwerpen: Arbeiderspers, 2018,1024 + 32 pp. ISBN: 9789029507172. Price: EUR 59.99 (hardback).
The journalist Piet Hagen (1942), after completing a voluminous biography of social-democratic politician P.J. Troelstra in 2010, spent his time in writing a even more bulky monograph on five centuries of colonial wars in Indonesia. Reading Peter Carey's The Power of Prophecy, on the Java War (1825-1830), led by Prince Diponegoro, triggered him to delve deeper in the colonial history of Indonesia. He systematically collected data on the colonial conflicts, and at last compiled a list of more than 500 armed conflicts from 1500 (the first Portuguese looking for trade opportunities) until 1975 (East Timor occupied by Indonesia). All these conflicts centered around trade and profits. The European powers Portugal, Spain, Netherlands, France and England, clashed with each other and the local rulers. In the twentieth century Japan also played a pivotal role. For the Dutch it was the voc, more and more acting as a state, which succeeded in becoming the main power in the archipelago. After the voc's bankruptcy, it was thanks to European power politics that the Dutch in 1816 were able to return, after a British interregnum which began in 1811 with a classical battle of a British invasion force against a French-Dutch army in Batavia, resulting in thousands of dead. The colonial state in effect continued the voc procedures. It is a litany of cruelty and violence beyond bonds, of plunder and robbery, slavery and forced labor, capital punishment, banishment, and forced financial and territorial compensation, all serving to reinforce the position of the voc or colonial state. Hagen primarily concentrates on the colonial wars and the resistance against these. In his descriptions of the conflicts Hagen underlines the roles of the indigenous parties, who often aligned with the voc/Indies state to foster their own aims. It often ended with shifting alliances and betrayal. Hagen systematically reports about the casualties, which run into astounding numbers, with the indigenous forces typically losing far more soldiers. Thus for the main part his book relates the battles fought and the backgrounds of these battles. Surprisingly his review leaves out the voc exploits in Formosa, India, and Ceylon as they are beyond his geographical boundaries, but these battles were essential and violent pawns in the voc power game. Inevitably, this all often results in an enumeration. Hagen himself calls his work a reference book, which can be digested in parts. Of the clashes as to the number of Indonesian victims the bloodiest are Coen's massacre on Banda (1621-10,000 dead), the Amboina Wars (1624-1660-25,000), the struggle for Batavia (1628-1629-20,000), the Java War (1825-1830-200,000), the Bali invasion of 1849 (10,000), the Aceh War (from 1873 on--70,000) and the Independence War/Civil War (1945-1949-300,000). Hagen estimates the total number of Indonesian casualties at three to four million.
After 400 pages, when arriving in the year 1900, Hagen's approach changes to become a history of Dutch rule. Violence, although far from absent, became a less prominent feature. Other forms of repression, in their combined efficiency, served to subjugate the Indonesians. It is a long list: monopolization, land expropriation, forced labor, forced deliveries, segregation, discriminatory language and education policies, police surveillance, restriction of democratic rights, criminal persecution, all brought together in a commendable last chapter summary on the colonial system. But this recent history is presented in a somewhat fragmentary and dutiful manner. It does not open new perspectives, for which there would have been ample room, for instance, on the importance of the years 1940-1942 with the Netherlands occupied and the Japanese drawing nearer. The Indonesian leaders went through an apprenticeship that prepared them for independence. Hagen's account of the Japanese occupation serves its purposes better. The account of the complex developments during the War of Independence does have some flaws, in particular in explaining the course of affairs on the Indonesian side. Better is Hagen's overview of the military aspects of the conflict. But, already by its sheer volume Hagen cannot add too much to Remy Limpach's recently published story and analysis. It is a pity that the last chapters (in particular) contain a number of errors.
To serve its purpose as a reference book the readers should be able to find their way easily between the text and its 991 notes. Not using headers, as this book has unfortunately chosen to do, results in awkward and annoying searches. And even worse, the subject index is far from exhaustive. Regrettably, a great number of geographical names are not included in it.
Robert Egeter van Kuyk, Een groen respijt: Over het sultanaat Pontianak /Away from the crowds: About the Sultanate of Pontianak. Den Haag: U2pi, 2018,138 pp. ISBN: 9789087597443. Price: EUR 15.00 (to orderviawww.jouwboek.nl) (paperback).
The author (1941) of this bilingual book--with the Dutch faithfully translated in English--found in Pontianak with his mother a safe place to stay in the last part of 1945, with Java in turmoil. As a belated thank you he compiled this book about the history of the Pontianak Sultanate, from its founding in 1771 until its dissolution in 1950. Pontianak, ruled by an able dynasty, slowly became the most important principality of West Borneo, although it still remained a peripheral region in colonial Indies. Gold and diamonds were mined under the Sultanate, which attracted a considerable number of Chinese, but profits were small. The voc and colonial governments interfered a number of times, and built fortresses as well. The last colonial-era Sultan showed himself a loyal subject to the Dutch. He paid dearly for this when in 1943 the Japanese executed him and dozens of his family members. The new ruler, Sultan Hamid II (1913-1978) survived and became Sultan in 1945. He played an important part in the federalist movement during Indonesia's War of Independence, and in 1950 became a minister. He was soon arrested on suspicion of conspiring with Westerling to topple the government. It resulted in a showcase trial and twelve years of imprisonment. This book is a factual account, without much coherence and analysis, replete with repetitions, and thus unfortunately not able to truly serve its purpose.
Gert Oostindie, Postkoloniale beeldenstormen: Daendelslezing 2018. Nijnegen: Vantilt, 2018,56 pp. ISBN: 9789460043895. Price: EUR 9.95 (paperback).
On April 25, 2018 Gert Oostindie, history professor in Leiden and director of KITLV, presented the Daendels lecture on what he named 'postcolonial icon-oclasm', at the invitation of the Daendels Foundation whose aim it is to keep Daendels' memory alive. Herman Willem Daendels (1762-1818) was influential and already controversial during his lifetime. He was Governor General of the Indies from 1808 until 1811 and initiated great changes with the construction of a road that connected the far ends of Java, and the stripping of the powers of the Central Javanese aristocracy. These were important steps, at great costs, towards centralization and modernization of the colonial society--and for which he has received more praise than disapproval in Dutch historiography. Along with Coen and Van Heutsz he was honored with statues and street names. In Indonesia this practice ended during the Japanese occupation, when colonial memorials were erased from the public domain. In the Netherlands only in recent years has pressure begun to mount in order to find new perspectives on colonial history reflected in, for instance, the renaming of streets. Oostindie is not in favor of such action--he pleas to not let these witnesses of a past disappear, but to use them to explain and understand the past. He argues against simplification and polarization, which will reduce history to an antagonism between colonialism and postcolonialism. There should be an awareness, in his view, that there is more than colonial history, which anyway cannot be undone. A common base should be sought and found. In this respect the roles of the Dutch government, museums and historians in the past have all been inadequate--too few and too late. To conclude, Oostindie pleas for empirical history writing, following clear conventions on transparency and quality. Different perspectives may be brought forward, different truths should be anathema. And as for Daendels: he represents a tradition of violence, exploitation, and racism, that offsets his contribution to the modernization of Java.
Obbe Norbruis, Alweer een sieraad voor de stad: Het werk van Ed Cuypers en Hulswit-Fermont in Nederlands-Indie 1897-1927. Volendam: LM Publishers, 2018, 320 pp. ISBN: 9789460224690. Price: EUR 34.50 (hardback).
Obbe Norbruis, Architectuur metvlagen wimpel:Hetwerkvan Fermont-Cuypers in Nederlands-Indie 1927-1957. Volendam: LM Publishers, 2018, 296 pp. ISBN: 9789460224706. Price: EUR 34.50 (hardback).
An ambitious project by Obbe Norbruis, who studied architecture at Delft University, has resulted in two large-format books, profusely illustrated, on the activities of the architectural bureaus of Eduard Cuypers (1859-1927), Marius Hulswit (1862-1921), and Arthur Fermont (1882-1967). Cuypers, a nephew of the famous architect Pierre Cuypers, who designed the Rijksmuseum, and many Catholic churches and other 'Catholic' buildings, worked indeed for some time with his uncle. He set up his own bureau and had success, until he was criticized for his traditional style and his anti-modernism. Berlage was on its way to become the leading theoretician on architecture: modern and rational. Cuypers visited the Indies a few times and looked for opportunities to build there, where his eclectic style found more appreciation, although there too, influential architects like P.A.J. Moojen did their best to thwart the building programs of Cuypers' Bureau that opened in Batavia in 1909 with Hulswit as an associate. The Bureau had considerable success, benefiting from its Catholic background. Thus they built churches, schools, and hospitals in addition to impressive offices. After Cuypers' death in 1927 the Bureau was renamed Fermont-Cuypers. Until its dissolution in 1957 it operated under this name. It had to cope with difficult times: crisis, nationalism, war, and revolution. Before the Japanese invasion an important source of income came from the projects to build Catholic churches and schools, using the Cuypers connection, which was reinforced when Pierre Cuypers' grandson Theo Taen joined the Bureau. From 1942 until 1950 the Bureau was closed, and made a modest recovery after 1950. It remained, however, a Dutch affair--its staff employed no Indonesians. Thus in 1958 there was no chance for it to survive, and the Dutch staff repatriated. Norbruis has succeeded in compiling lists of all of the Bureau's works--90 before 1927, and 91 thereafter. After a general introduction of respectively 75 and 60 pages, all of these buildings are described and depicted in two pages, or sometimes more if the building is prestigious. Illustrations are numerous, from construction drawings until the present time. The author also notes the present state of the buildings. Many are lost, but quite a number have survived until today, especially the 'Catholic' buildings and the big office buildings. He also includes biographies of the fourteen most important staff members. Norbruis considers the work of the Cuypers Bureaus neglected, and these two volumes make that convincingly clear in word and image and sets the record straight. These two volumes are best procured and read together.
Jessica Voeten and Angela Dekker, Moed en overmoed: Leven en tijdvan Mata-Hari. Amsterdam/Antwerpen: Atlas Contact, 2018,484 + 24 pp. ISBN: 97890450 35123. Price: EUR 34.99 (hardback).
Hanneke Boonstra, Mijn Mata Hari. Groningen: Passage, 2017, 96 pp. ISBN: 9789054523482. Price: EUR 22.50 (hardback).
From October 2017 until April 2018 the Fries Museum in Leeuwarden staged the greatest ever exhibition on Margaretha Zelle--better known as Mata Hari--titled 'The Myth and the Girl'. It commemorated her death before a French firing squad, a hundred years ago, on October 15,1917, convicted of espionage for the German enemy just when the bloody Great War seemed to drag on indefinitely. In this time of despair, rumor, and intrigue, unfounded accusations were rife. Mata Hari was a ready victim in this shadowy theatre. The Fries Museum, in Mata Hari's town of birth, scored an immense success, with 93,000 visitors, and the museum staff counting 733 press articles on the exhibition. However, this was only an upsurge: since her controversial death she has been the subject of many publications, fictional and non-fictional. Of the last category many were partial, a partiality that lingers on till today. The publication by Hanneke Boonstra, a companion volume to the exhibition, lists 61 original publications on Mata Hari in at least seven languages. Among these is also an early Malay one. The temptation to cite its full title is irresistible: Tan Lim Sen, Hikajat Nona Marguerite Zella alias Si Mata Hari: Satoe nona jang terlahir di Hindia Olanda, dari toeroenan tjampoeran ajah Olanda dan iboe Japan, hingga soeda bikin tergetar di antero Europa atas pekerdjaannja sebagi spion Duitsch dalam peperangan besar di Europa pada baroe ini (five volumes, totaling 396 pp.). The series is available in Leiden University Library, and well worth a closer look and analysis. Apart from the 61 titles mentioned, many translations circulated. The books by the pioneering researcher Sam Wagenaar, published in 1964 and 1976, for instance, were translated in 26 languages. Is there still anything to add to the story? The journalists Jessica Voeten and Angela Dekker in their biography Moeden overmoed (Courage and Recklessness) made use of recently discovered documents that especially give more profile to the Indies years of Margaretha Zelle (1876-1917). She was born in a middle-class family. She had a 'blind date' in Amsterdam with a KNIL officer on leave, Rudolph MacLeod (1856-1928)--who was decorated for his service in Aceh--which resulted in an engagement within a week, in March 1895. They married in July 1895 and left for the Indies in 1897, where MacLeod performed his military duties in Malang, Medan, and Ambarawa. The marriage proved to be a disaster, a mesalliance of great proportions. Most of the blame for this the authors lay with MacLeod and his temper, his wastefulness, his alcoholism, and his humiliation of his wife--and they provide ample proof of this. Margaretha Zelle left him and started a career in Paris, performing artistic oriental dances, which caused a furore. The success was repeated in other European capitals. Moreover, she lived a life of luxury as a courtesan whose favors were exchanged for a lot of money. At long last, in 1912, she divorced from MacLeod, but her marital past kept on haunting her, as well as the tragic circumstances around her two children, one of them dying at a very early age. She was well-known all across Europe, and probably the best-known Dutch woman of her era. She did her best to retain the aura of mysteriousness around her--she unveiled her body, but her past and even present remained shrouded in confusion. She gave rise to emotions--she was pictured as irritating, affected, egocentric, spoiled, and naive. But these labels could also be renamed to theatrical, ambitious, tenacious, and intelligent. The authors of the two books reviewed here have chosen for the second set of character traits, and admire her strong will to lead a life as an independent woman, at a time that this was extremely difficult. After the outbreak of the Great War, Mata Hari got entangled in the mystifications she had created. She had contacts with the German Secret Service, but also looked to become a French double agent. She overplayed her hand, reckless as she had become. She was arrested, tried, and executed on flimsy evidence. Thousands of pages since then have discussed Mata Hari's guilt or innocence. The biography of Voeten and Dekker is the latest addition to this long series, and certainly, by the scope of its research, it will be--for the time being--the definitive one, but it certainly will not be the last word on Mata Hari. The well-written book, with sometimes some unnecessary redundancy, supplies 750 notes that document searches in more than thirty Dutch archival collections, as well as archives in France, Germany, Great Britain, Austria, the U.S., and Russia. The Boonstra publication is a fine volume that in twenty chapters (originally blogs published by the Fries Museum) in a few illuminating pages deals with aspects from Mata Hari's life and legacy. This book, in a fine layout, is also profusely illustrated and contains the most complete collection of photographs and other images of and on Mata Hari.
Diederik van Vleuten, Daar werd wat groots verricht. Hoorn: Hoogland & Van Klaveren, 2018,368 pp. ISBN: 9789089672582. Price: EUR 34,90 (hardback).
This book is based on the 700-page memoirs of Jan van Vleuten (1906-1989), which focuses on his experiences as a planter on rubber, tea and coffee plantations in Java and Sumatra. His well-to-do family had a long past in the Indies, and after years of apprenticeship in South Africa, he entered service of the Nederlandsch-Indische Landbouw Maatschappij (Netherlands Indies Agricultural Company) from 1930. In 1942 he and his wife were interned and, after the Japanese defeat, repatriated to the Netherlands. He returned in 1947, charged with the survey and rehabilitation of the plantations that suffered demolition during the years of war and revolution in Indonesia. For Jan van Vleuten this was a traumatic experience--he felt that everything he had built up was reduced to shambles. Disillusioned, in 1954, he returned to the Netherlands. He wrote his memoirs, and collected a lot of photographs and documents, that luckily landed with his nephew Diederik (1961), who is a well-known artist, staging theatre performances as a one-man show or with a partner. He realized the potential of Jan's heritage and in 2010 he started a series of shows based on Jan's documents. It met with unexpected success, and was highly praised. In his moving account, the theatre audience with Indies roots in particular recognized a shared and tragic Indies past. In no small measure, all this success and appreciation was attributable to the stage talent of Diederik van Vleuten. (The DVD, with the same title as this book of the show, is still available, for instance via bol.com.) Now, Jan's heritage has been edited into a book. Jan's memoirs are extensively cited, and composed to become a coherent story authored by Diederik, and illustrated by a great number of illustrations. In essence, Jan's story is not an extraordinary account, nor is he an exceptional individual in colonial history--and this in fact probably explains its success. His views are those of the average Dutch inhabitants--with a lot of prejudices. In a matter-of-fact and casual way he mentions the Javanese girl who served as his concubine, the contract coolies, the people he classified as not the 'best elements of the population', and his 1947 experience during the Dutch military actions, when prisoners were made to disclose information by electric torture. Jan notes: 'I have never seen someone being so fast in confessing'. The book is well-written and includes some pages with general information. As for historical information, it does not add much to our knowledge. In sum, this is a beautifully produced volume, with recognizable contents for a wide audience, but it cannot equal its first publication as a DVD.
Herman Salomonson, Indisch leven In Den Haag, 1930-1940: Vijftig columns uit De Indische Verlofganger. Selected and introduced by Gerard Termorshuizen and Coen van't Veer. Hilversum: Verloren, 2018,183 pp. ISBN: 9789087047207. Price: EUR 19.00 (paperback).
Herman Salomonson (1892-1942) followed his vocation and, after finishing a technical study, became a journalist whose career was successful. Moreover, he was the author of popular novels that have not survived the ravages of time, except for Zoutwaterliefde, reprinted in 2006 for the sixth time. In 1923 he became editor in chief of the languishing Batavia daily Java-Bode. This was also thanks to the rhyme chronicles he wrote under his pseudonym Melis Stoke. In 1927 he returned to The Hague to become the Netherlands director of the Indies press agency Aneta. In his influential position, which he filled until 1940 when Germany occupied the Netherlands, he remained a prolific author. Outstanding among his many writings were the columns which he contributed, as Melis Stoke, to the weekly De Indische Verlofganger, specifically directed at the 9,000 Indies persons on a long leave from their jobs overseas. Their favourite place to stay was The Hague, which became the Indies capital of the Netherlands. The city and its commercial enterprises suited the needs of their overseas customers, as the contents of De Indische Verlofganger attest. Herman Salomonson wrote about three hundred columns between 1932 and 1940, of which Gerard Termorshuizen, who in 2015 authored a biography of Herman Salomonson, and Coen van't Veer selected fifty to be reprinted in this book. These are still readable pieces, not to be consumed all at once, drenched in nostalgia and melancholy, and clearly favoring life in the Indies above the leisurely life in The Hague, however many its efforts had been to please its temporary inhabitants. Columns are presented more or less thematically: life in The Hague, the Indies culture of The Hague, the journey to and fro, and the many ways to keep in contact with the Indies. Melis Stoke also has an eye for the forgotten group of baboe (female domestic servants) and djongos (male domestic servants), of whom hundreds accompanied the families that employed them or found a job for themselves. The attention for these columns is thus well-deserved, and the editors also contributed a concise biography of twenty pages, turning it all into a fine book.
Theo W.R. Doorman, In de schaduw van de Javazee: Brieven van viceadmiraal Pieter Koenraad naar bevrijd Nederland. Zutphen: WalburgPers, 2018, 176 pp. ISBN: 9789462492806. Price: EUR 22.95 (paperback).
Rear-admiral Pieter Koenraad (1890-1968) was sent to Indonesia in 1938, shortly before his retirement, to become commander of the Dutch Navy base in Surabaya. His service only ended in 1946. In the meantime he was closely involved with Dutch resistance against the Japanese invasion forces, as well as the deployment of the Dutch Navy against the Japanese fleet. In this, Karel Doorman fought a lost battle due to lack of air support in the Java Sea. The outcome was clear from the start, but nonetheless Navy Commander C.E.L. Hel-frich deliberately sent Doorman on his doomed mission. Koenraad managed to escape to Australia. After some rambling around, he returned to Australia and became Dutch Navy commander in Australia, and second in command for the Eastern Navy theatre. When back in Indonesia, he also filled this position until he repatriated in 1946. When mail contact with the Netherlands became possible again, he wrote a series of 26 letters, between May 1945 and May 1946, to his family. They contain a chronological account of his war experiences in the Indies, England, and Australia, from 1938 until 1945. Theo Doorman (1936), son of Karel Doorman, has edited these letters, and added 12 separate interludes to give background and additional information. Koenraad's letters are clear and frank and supply new details on Dutch authorities in war and exile. His verdict on the war performance of the Royal Netherlands East Indies Army (KNIL) is very negative. The Navy had a better record, but was not without fault. Helfrich often made the wrong decisions. His judgement on the Indies governemt in exile, based in Australia, of which he was a member, was devastating. 'I rarely encountered such a bunch of people, luxuriating in their power, and ill-mannered boors' (p. 125). On Van Mook he was not that harsh, but he lacked stature (p. 39). The book contains several more characterizations, including on Douglas MacArthur. The publication of these letters is thus useful. Interest in Doorman's battle has risen in the last few years. This is the third title on the subject in three years, of which Anne Doedens and Lieke Mulder, Slag in de Java-Zee (2017), provide the most comprehensive and balanced report.
Anne-Marie Mreijen, De rode jonker: De eeuw van Marinus van der Goes van Naters 1900-2005. Amsterdam: Boom, 2018, 374 + 8 pp. ISBN: 9789089533395. Price: EUR 24.50 (paperback).
Of the Dutch political leadership involved in the decolonization of Indonesia (1945-1950) many agents, even the majority, have become the subject of serious research and voluminous biographies, in a number of cases also building on and critically appraising autobiographical writings. But there are still lacunae: Logemann, Jonkman, Romme, Sassen, and Van Maarseveen. Among them is also Marinus van der Goes van Naters, who published his autobiography Met en tegen de tijd: Herinneringen in 1980, a personal, lively, and frank account, as well as an apology. It was also willfully one-sided and masculine in the view of Anne-Marie Mreijen, who has taken up the challenge to make Van der Goes the subject of her PhD. Within the social-democratic movement, Van der Goes, a nobleman and a Leiden lawyer, was a rare bird. His law studies, and his life-long conviction that law should play a pivotal and dynamic role in the establishment of a socialist society, resulted in his conversion to an idealistic brand of socialism. In this he was different from most of the leadership of the Sociaal-Democratische Arbeiderspartij (SDAP). It did not preclude him from rising fast in the SDAP. In 1937 he became a member of Second Chamber, which he would remain until 1967. During the German occupation he was interned for four years as a hostage, together with other pre-war politicians and elite members. He actively participated in the discussions about the restructuring of the Dutch state after the Germans were defeated. In 1945 Van der Goes was elected leader of the Second Chamber fraction of the Partij van de Arbeid (PvdA, the new name for the SDAP), and within a few months was deeply involved in the decolonization conflict. Van der Goes and his SDAP had not shown great interest in Indonesian affairs before 1940, but now had to take a stand. Abstract anti-colonial ideals were put to the test, in interplay with the more conservative policies of the Katholieke Volkspartij (KVP), which had been the coalition partner since 1946. The PvdA did not want to sacrifice its seats in the cabinet for the sake of a principled anti-colonial stand. Notorious in this respect was the Linggadjati Agreement of 1946, concluded in Indonesia and meeting a lot of critique in the Second Chamber. In cooperation with KVP leader Romme, Van der Goes 'dressed up' the Agreement in order to secure a broad majority in parliament. The amendments and additions were, of course, not acceptable for the Republic of Indonesia, which approved the 'undressed' version, resulting in deadlock and military action. The PvdA, and Van der Goes, defended their approval of this First Action, which caused extreme discontent among the PvdA rank and file. Support for the action was motivated by the argument that PvdA moderation helped avert a worse course. And perhaps, Mreijen does not discuss this, the opportunity to take part in the government and to be instrumental in bringing about legislation that would improve the position of the Dutch workers. As chairman of the PvdA fraction, Van der Goes was closely involved in the policy making, but he rarely was among the policy makers. He visited Indonesia, and ostensibly built up a good relationship with federalist leader Anak Agung in early 1949 (Mreijen wongly writes 1948), to the chagrin of Prime Minister Willem Drees. Animosity among the PvdA leadership was rampant. Party chairman Koos Vorrink wanted more influence on the parliamentary course. Van der Goes added to the conflicts in a number of cases by individual actions, without informing his fellow members of the Second Chamber, exacerbated by his emotional temperament. As to Indonesia, he survived, in essence following the cabinet's course, up until the transfer of sovereignty. Still, the colonial heritage of New Guinea thwarted his parliamentary career. A trial balloon in December 1950 on negotiating an agreement with Indonesia, without informing his party, and transgressing the party line, brought about his downfall, orchestrated by Drees and Vorrink. Van der Goes now successfully devoted his energy to supranational efforts to lay a foundation for European cooperation in economic, defense and political matters. Mreijen includes one chapter of forty pages on Van der Goes' Indonesian exertions, considerably more than Van der Goes himself did in his sometimes anecdotal autobiography. Mreijen's account is reliable, but succinct. Errors are rare, but Moh. Roem was not minister of foreign affairs when negotiating with Van Roijen (p. 194) and the results of the 1948 Dutch elections are wrongly given (p. 184). The picture Van der Goes painted of himself is now corrected and amended by Mreijen, who also has a few interesting remarks to make on the genre of autobiography and the framing of the personal past by its writers.
Han Deibert, Permafrost in de tropen: Een verzwegen Indische familiegeschiede-nis. Leeuwarden: Elikser, 2018, 243 pp. ISBN: 9789463650311. Price: EUR 19.95 (paperback).
Han Deibert (1954), of Eurasian (Indo) descent, left Indonesia in 1956, when Sukarno ordered all residents with a Dutch passport to leave the country. Most of them were of mixed descent and had never been in the Netherlands. The influx of thousands of migrants and their integration was ostensibly a success, but in fact a laborious process, which left many Indos with deep scratches. Such was the case with Deibert's parents. In a quest for explanation, many years later, in a long process, Deibert looked for the decisive moments, and gradually dug deeper and deeper in the history of his family, going back seven generations, and of colonialism, beginning with the first Dutch ships entering the archipelago. A lot of attention is given to his ancestors, among whom were indigenous concubines (nyai), who gave birth to multiracial children. According to Deibert, the decisive and traumatic turning-point in the destiny of Indos was the bersiap period in late 1945. A number of letters about the course of events in Bandung are included. Deibert's story is a personal one, characterized by a search for reconciliation and healing. After a long quest he finds these in the writings of A.H. Almaar, the founder of the Diamond Approach to Self-Realization, a contemporary teaching method that developed within the context of both ancient spiritual teachings and modern depth psychology theories. Deibert calls this a systemic approach, which he also applies in courses he gives. This book is an example of the Indo individual in search for identity, including a place for the Indonesian roots. Its jumpy setup does not make for easy reading and the same goes for the sometimes confusing mixture of fact and interpretation.
Ronald Lagendijk, Rubbertijd. [Beverwijk]: Rocka Projects, 2017, 305 pp. ISBN: 9789082754919. Price: EUR 22.50 (hardback).
Ronald Lagendijk was born in Batavia in 1948. His parents, who married in May 1947, had arrived at the end of that year. His father (1917-1984), without an Indies past or roots, had enlisted with the semi-official Nederlands-Indisch Rubber Uitvoer Bureau (NIRUB), to help rehabilitate the plantations that had suffered from the effects of Japanese occupation and the conflict between the Netherlands and the Indonesian Republic. Nothing much came of the ambitious plans, and the Lagendijk family probably waited in Batavia in idleness most of the time. In June 1950 the three returned, and Ronald's father embarked on a different career. He rarely spoke about the more than two years in Indonesia. When the son started to be interested in his background it turned out that almost no documents were preserved. In this book his quest to unravel his family's past is detailed. His search in archives and newspapers is not very successful. A journey to Indonesia in 2014 is equally unfruitful. He finds the place in Cideng where his birth house once stood. Lagendijk relates a lot of circumstantial information: on NIRUB and the rubber plantations in general, and on his Cideng house, which was once part of the notorious Japanese internment camp. As a by-product he collects a lot of information on his family tree, with a number of colorful characters. Thus he meanders, telling his life story and summarizing Dutch colonial history, with, for instance, a separate chapter on Dutch excessive violence during the Decolonization War, and the Research Project Decolonization, violence and war 1945-1950 underway (pp. 248-262). This book is for a considerable part based on the online newspaper database Delpher, and shows how a formidable amount of sources has become available through this infrastructure. Lagendijk is a competent writer and indefatigable researcher, but his book does not add to historical knowledge concerning Indonesia.
Fridus Steijlen, Een Indische skyline: Indische organisaties in Nederland tussen 1980 en 2010. Amsterdam: AUP, 2018, 257 pp. ISBN: 978962987401. Price: EUR 19.99 (paperback).
Fridus Steijlen is senior researcher at the KITLV and for decades has been a participant observer involved in the study of the migrants from Indonesia to the Netherlands after 1945. This research scope also extends to the fate and activities of the veterans who returned to the Netherlands, some of them disillusioned and traumatized, and the Moluccans, who 'temporarily' landed in the Netherlands, but whose presence was to become permanent--a reality that was difficult to accept by all parties concerned. Recently he was appointed as Professor in Moluccan Migration and Culture in Comparative Perspective at the Free University of Amsterdam. In this book, Steijlen endeavors to study the Indies organizations as determining the contours of Indies Netherlands. His intention to write a comprehensive history had to be abandoned because of the myriad of organizations that were once active--a database lists 338 organizations that had been active in the fifties. For obvious reasons, though not convincing from a purist's point of view, Steijlen thus somewhat arbitrarily chose to limit himself to the years 1980-2010. And still a dazzling number of organizations pass in review, sometimes confusing the reader. Steijlen is not to blame for this, as his systematic approach is admirable. Separate chapters are devoted to key organizations and issues in a number of fields. These are introduced, research questions are formulated, and conclusions close the chapters. Thus there are chapters on the organizations of children with war experiences, and the Indisch Platform, in which many Indies organizations united to present themselves as the spokesmen with the Dutch government. They succeeded in obtaining financial compensation, albeit not accompanied with official recognition as war victims. Indies culture represented another focus, and is shown to be a hotly debated subject. Slowly however, an annual fair called Pasar Malam Besar set the trend, in which Indies culture became mixed with Indonesian cultural elements in a multi-faceted blending. In the field of publicity, the journal Tong Tong/Moesson dominated and dominates the scene. From a motor of Indies emancipation, under the guidance of its founder Tjalie Robinson, the magazine became a general, glossy monthly, reporting about Indies Netherlands. Efforts to write a distinct Indies history and to erect an Indies monument encountered great difficulty, resulting twice in the bankruptcy of the Indisch Huis, planned to be a center of Indies studies. Another chapter concerns the activities of the second and third generation youth in their quest for meaningful Indies culture, making extensive use of social media. A specific task was shouldered by organizations in the Netherlands to support destitute Indos in present-day Indonesia. In a last chapter Steijlen draws his conclusions. Some striking conclusions are that the war has determined the Indies identity, that writing the history of Indies Netherlands is considered a monopoly of the group itself, that the stories of Indos and veterans do not match, that the cultural organizations give 'Indies' a different content than the other organizations, and that the lapse of time has mitigated internal disagreements. On the basis of many sources, often difficult to access, documented in 522 notes, Steijlen has written a very useful compendium of the complicated Indies Netherlands relations, mutual and external. His analysis will be helpful in understanding history and trends of Indies Netherlands.
Aad Kamsteeg, Vandaag heb ik een Papoea ontmoet: Het leven van Chris Padwa. Soesterberg: Aspekt, 2017, 81 pp. ISBN: 9789463383356. Price: EUR 9.95 (paperback).
Aad Kamsteeg (1940) a retired journalist, working for Dutch Protestant newspapers, has always been a prominent spokesman on the sad fate of the Papuans, the original inhabitants of the vast and inaccessible island of New Guinea, as his Ontstolen zelfbeschikking (2010) and Ooggetuige in Papua (2014) attest. He is a harsh critic of the Indonesian government's conduct on the western half of the island. The author has now added a third title to these publications, a concise history, with the biography of Chris Padwa, born 1942 on Biak Island, as a recurring theme. The decisive turning points in West Papua history are all given attention: the Decolonization War (1945-1950), the exclusion of New Guinea from the transfer of sovereignty, the Dutch policy of preparing New Guinea for independence, and Indonesia's readiness to go to war to include New Guinea in its territory. International pressure eventually forced the Dutch to leave in 1962. A vague promise for an act of free choice in 1969 was rigged by Indonesia. An armed resistance movement Organisasi Papua Merdeka (OPM) fought a bitter guerrilla war against the Indonesian government, but was bound to lose to an army that applied methods that went against human rights. Moreover, education and health care went downhill, natural resources were plundered, and the environment suffered from the felling of trees on a grand scale. Chris Padwa was a witness to all of this. He was incarcerated without charge for one and a half years. He maintained contacts with OPM, but was not directly involved in its actions. He is still in Biak, but under surveillance. This booklet is too brief as a biography and as a history. It does not add to our knowledge about the fate of New Guinea, nor is Chris Padwa given enough content.
Marthe Raven, Indie in Velp en Rozendaal: Een wandeling. Arnhem: Koninklijk Tehuis voor Oud-Militairen en Museum 'Bronbeek', 2017, 62 pp. ISBN: 9789082152791. Price: EUR 4.95 (paperback).
It has become something of a trend: the publication of walking guides along places of remembrance of a colonial past. With a confronting directness, the colonial past is brought alive, sometimes critical, sometimes descriptive. Since 2012 such guides were published on the cities of Utrecht, Amsterdam, Den Haag, Groningen, and Leiden, concentrating on relics that could be connected with the Dutch involvement in the slave trade and slave exploitation. In a similar format, Bronbeek Museum in Arnhem has now added a tour of 12 kilometers through suburban Arnhem along 32 villas and graveyards. The life stories of former inhabitants with an Indies connection are told. Many of them were military personnel who settled in these nice surroundings after their retirement. Well-known among them are Mina Kruseman and the MacLeod family, of which Mata Hari was a part. The Dutch Ministry of Defense published this guide, which has no ideological message to convey, in a full-color edition. The guide is also available as a free download (https://www.defensie.nl/downloads/publicaties/2017/11/07/indie-in-velp-en-rozendaal-een-wandeling).
Harry A. Poeze
KiTLv/Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies Poeze@kitlv.nl
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|Title Annotation:||Voorouders en rituelen in Indonesie, Traditionele wapens van Borneo: De uitrusting van de koppensnellers. Deel II Speren en blaasroeren, Koloniale oorlogen in Indonesie: Vijf eeuwen verzet tegen vreemde overheersing, Een groen respijt: Over het sultanaat Pontianak /Away from the crowds: About the Sultanate of Pontianak, Postkoloniale beeldenstormen: Daendelslezing 2018, Alweer een sieraad voor de stad: Het werk van Ed Cuypers en Hulswit-Fermont in Nederlands-Indie 1897-1927, Architectuur met vlag en wimpel: Het werk van Fermont-Cuypers in Nederlands-Indie 1927-1957, Moed en overmoed: Leven en tijdvan Mata-Hari, Mijn Mata Hari, Daar werd wat groots verricht, Indisch leven In Den Haag, 1930-1940: Vijftig columns uit De Indische Verlofganger, In de schaduw van de Javazee: Brieven van viceadmiraal Pieter Koenraad naar bevrijd Nederland, De rode jonker: De eeuw van Marinus van der Goes van Naters 1900-2005, Permafrost in de tropen: Een verzwegen Indische familiegeschiedenis, Rubbertijd, Een|
|Author:||Poeze, Harry A.|
|Publication:||Journal of the Humanities and Social Sciences of Southeast Asia and Oceania|
|Article Type:||Book review|
|Date:||Apr 1, 2018|
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