The colonial past of the Dutch East Indies and interesting facts about this period as related by the Eurasian Dutch (Indo)

(Fotobook: Het Oost Indische Koloniale verleden)

The following short stories have not been put into a chronological order, but by reading them it gives a good impression of life in the former Dutch East Indies.

Compiling author and editor:
Rob Dias




The aim of the short stories in this book is to provide the present Dutch youth an insight and create an interest in the history of the former colony of theDutch East Indies. In this historical oversight, which comprises about 300 years, there were many sea battles and wars fought. The ultimate victor of these battles and wars was the Dutch United East Indies Company (VOC). As in every theatre of war, those who suffered the most with great loss of life were the indigenous people of the archipelago.

The Netherlandsbecame a very rich country through the colonization of the Dutch East Indiesin the 17th century, which in Dutch history is more commonly known as the Golden Age. The influx of Dutch and other Europeans was responsible for many descendants of mixed blood, the Eurasians, or as known in The Netherlands, the Indos.

Although the Eurasians were by law Dutch citizens, they were considered to be second rank citizens by the authorities. This becomes apparent by the positions and jobs they were offered in theDutch East Indiesand in The Netherlands 300 years later. When the Dutch East Indies became the independent country ofIndonesia, the Eurasian Dutch were forced to go to The Netherlands. The diplomas and certificates obtained in the formerDutch East Indieswere not accepted and recognized.

It is therefore of great importance that the history lessons in the Dutch schools give a more realistic picture of the colonial period. Our present descendants will also be able to profit from this.

I wish you pleasant reading.

Rob Dias

The discovery of theDutch East Indies.

About1500 A.D. the Portuguese attempted to discover new trading possibilities via the existing sea sailing routes. In 1487 Bartholomeus Dias rounded the Cape of Good Hope (nowCape Town) followed by Vasco de Gama, who reachedIndiain 1498.

Under the leadership of the Portuguese prince ´Henry the Navigator´ Portuguese ships reached Asia and conquered in1505 A.D. Goa on the west coast ofIndia. Later on, the Portuguese established onGoaa trading centre. The archipelago was now within reach of their ships.

A small expedition left Goa in1513 A.D. under the command of Francesco Serrao to search for theSpice Islandsin the archipelago. Having moored first on Java, they became the first Europeans to reach the spice islands ofAmbonand Banda. The Portuguese and the sultan ofTernatesigned a treaty which gave the Portuguese a monopoly for the clove trade.

The archipelago consists of about 13.500 islands and has a length of about4.000 kilometres. The archipelago begins at the southern tip ofThailand(until 1939 known asSiam) and ends at the border withPapua New Guinea, just north ofAustralia. The archipelago has three time zones and a modern jet liner needs about 3 to 4 hours to cover the archipelago.

The invention of the steam engine and the rise of steam vessels.

About1712 A.D. Thomas Newcomer invented the steam driven engine. It would take another century before the technology was available to install and drive ships by the use of steam. The advantage of a steamship was that it could cover large distances without being dependent on the trade winds. The steamships had greater manoeuvrability which decreased the danger of being hit by enemy fire. The steamships could be build longer and wider while their draught was much less than the draught of sailing vessels. Because of these features the steamships and steam boots could navigate on inland rivers. The biggest problem, of course, was the supply of fuel. Coal was in short supply on the way to theDutch East Indies. It was necessary to adapt the logistical system to provide fuel for the steamships. Between The Netherlands and the Dutch East Indies and theDutch West Indiesvarious supply bases for the storage of coal had to be set up. In order to supply these storage bases the Dutch had to find coal mines in their colonies, exploit these coal mines and transfer the coal to the storage and supply bases.

As mentioned before, sailing vessels depended upon the trade winds, were less manoeuvrable and therefore more vulnerable for enemy fire during sea battles. Because of the supplies these sailing vessels had to take along their draught could not be minimized. A journey from The Netherlands to theDutch East Indieslasted on the average six months.

As soon as steam engines became available for ships, the Royal Dutch Navy ordered the building of the type of ships that could be powered by steam engines. Because of the aim for which these vessels would be used, they were build under the supervision of navy specialists. The aim of the steamships of the Royal Dutch Navy was to guard the waters around theNetherlandsand to protect the colonial areas, which included the Dutch East- andWest Indies. The assignment of the navy in the colonies was to combat sea piracy, showing the Dutch banner throughout the whole of the colony and supporting police and military operations.

The cultural system.

Because of the need for safety and security various new governmental administrative systems were developed in theDutch East Indies. The government of theDutch East Indieschose for what they named the cultural system.

Not only trading interests, but also the stability of the government of the colony and the social security of the indigenous population were to play a more prominent role under this system. The system was devised for a ´united social and stable security´.

Approximately around 1807. the administrative system was implemented by civil servants who brought over from The Netherlands

Further development of the cultural system took place whenGreat Britainhad control of theDutch East Indiesbetween 1807 and 1811.The British found the cultural system as developed by the Dutch too expensive.

When theNetherlandsregained control of theDutch East Indies, the implementation of the cultural system was made definite by Governor General J. van den Bosch. The implementation of the system took mainly place on theislandofJava, as this was the most profitable island during this time.

The trading posts in the outlaying areas were non-profitable and only cost the Dutch treasury money. The only reason for keeping these trading posts was to enable the Dutch to maintain their claim on the remainder of the archipelago.

Because of the increase in poor labour conditions and the exploitation of the indigenous population by their own sovereign leaders, the Dutch abolished the cultural system around 1850.

A change in policy.

In 1845 the new Governor General J.J. Rochussen brought about a change in policy. His idea was to make an autonomous region from theDutch East Indies, which could operate independently from The Netherlands. He also propagated the development of the islands outside of Java and tried to give a new impetus to the stalled economy on Java itself.

By installing a special autonomous government on theislandofBorneo, the Dutch government tried in 1848 to prevent further encroachment by the British under leadership of their Governor J. Cookes. In the same year Governor General Rochussen sent a large military force to theislandofBalito subdue the indigenous population. The Governor of Borneo, A.J. Duymaer, notified the Dutch government in 1851 that military action was necessary because of the unreliable attitude of the indigenous sovereigns. At the same time there was an immediate need for the exploitation of natural resources such as coal and minerals.

The Dutch minister for overseas colonies stated in 1861 that the expansion of military and civilian activities in theDutch East Indieswould be too costly and the Dutch treasury could not afford this. Nevertheless, it was the same minister who authorized in 1875 to attack the Atjeh nation. The two bloody and costly wars that were fought to subdue the Atjeh nation meant the end of the economic profitability of theDutch East Indies.

The Royal Dutch Navy in the Dutch East Indiesin the 19th century.

After1816 A.D., the Government of theDutch East Indiesneeded more maritime equipment to be able to maintain their authority over the archipelago. In order to be able to perform these tasks the Dutch government decided a year before to establish a Colonial Navy beside the already existing Royal Dutch Navy. It was decided to outfit the Colonial Navy with smaller ships, which would be more capable in the performance of the tasks of the Colonial Navy. The Colonial Navy was outfitted with schooners, sloops and out-of-date warships of the Royal Dutch Navy, which were initially intended for the scrap yard. With these resources communication had to be maintained within the archipelago and most important, the combating of sea piracy.

In1821 A.D. the Dutch government also formed a Merchant Marine in theDutch East Indies.

In the same year problems arose with the command structure of both navies, as the commander for both navies was one and the same. Because of the inefficiency of the command structure the Colonial Navy was abolished in1838 A.D., and all the ships, material and personnel became part of the Royal Dutch Navy.

As mentioned previously the tasks of the Royal Dutch Navy were the combating of sea and river piracy, the showing of the Dutch banner throughout the archipelago, keeping the lines of communication open and support for the police and the army during their operations.

In1844 A.D. a large naval operation was started against the sea pirates of Kutei on theislandofBorneo. During this risky operation two schooners penetrated deeply inland via the waterways. After the evaluation of this operation, the Royal Dutch Navy came to the conclusion that two more modern steam driven war ships were necessary in order to be able to combat the sea pirates and local rebellions. It took, however, until1848 A.D. before the first steam driven war ship, ZMS Onrust, was available for service. This ship had an operational radius of1500 kilometres.

The Sultanate of Bandjermasin.

In order to guarantee the supply of coal for the ships, an evaluation study was undertaken on the islands of Java, Sumatra andBorneo. The important aspects of the study were the easy possibility of coal winning and transportation of the coal. The findings of the study were that the Sultanate of Bandjermasin onBorneowas the most suitable place. Transportation of coal from the coal mines could take place via the many existing rivers. This made the logistical costs relatively low.

The population of the sultanate of Bandjermasin consisted mainly of Javanese, Madurese and Malaysians. The original indigenous population, the Dayaks, had been driven inland into the jungle.

The contacts with the coastal mixed population were not always on a friendly basis. As early as1606 A.D. the Dutch captain of a VOC ship was murdered. Nevertheless, trading contacts remained intact because of the importance of the coal mines.

ZMS Onrust.

During the period 1848/1849 A.D., the Dutch minister responsible for overseas colonies made an inspection tour throughout Borneo on board of the ship ZMS Onrust (ZMS is the Dutch abbreviation for His Majesty’s Ship). His aim was to inspect and obtain an impression of the administrative policies of the responsible persons of the island.

In1849 A.D. the ZMS Onrust was used during the thirdBalioperation. ZMS Onrust was used as a tug, but also as a gunboat against Balinese fortresses. In the same year ZMS Onrust was used for a trial run on coal won in the coal mines ofBorneo. During this trial run ZMS Onrust got stuck on a reef near theharbourofSurabayaand nearly sank.

After extensive repairs ZMS Onrust was put into use in 1853 mainly for troop-and weapons transportation. ZMS Onrust was also used for punitive operations to quell the rebellion at Djember on east Java and later against rebellion forces at Boni near Bandjermasin onBorneo.

Local rebellions and guerrilla actions.

During this period there were different local rebellions and guerrilla attacks. At Kalangan the coal mineDelftwas attacked. Thirty- three staff members and personnel, all Europeans, were murdered. At the nearby town ofPulupetakthe European missionaries were murdered. Various coal mines were also attacked which resulted in the murder of the Europeans who were there employed. The installations of the mines were destroyed by the rebel forces.

Royal Dutch East Indies Army forces recaptured the town ofPulupetak, occupied Martapura and relieved the town ofPengaron. After that the military forces were deployed to safeguard the transportation of coal over the roads and waterways leading to the harbours and depots.

During various operations against rebel forces, the coastal fort of Tabanio was recaptured with the help of steam driven naval ships. Months later, the rebel forces tried by the use surprise attacks to capture the towns of Bandjermasin and Martapura. Military re-enforcements from Java were deployed to protect the town ofBeraskuningand some smaller towns against attacks from rebel forces. At the same time Tanah Laut, situated south of the important coal depot and transportation town ofBandjermasin, were cleared of rebel forces.

The rebellion was finally squashed through the superior firepower levelled against them the by military re-enforcements and steam driven naval ships. After more than four years of rebellion and guerrilla warfare the resistance of the local population was finally broken by the 2000 to 3000 military re-enforcements supported by seven steam driven naval ships. During the end of the operation ZMS Onrust steamed400 kilometresinland in order to arrest the leader of the rebellion. It was attacked by the local population and sunk, with the loss of life of the whole crew.

Hereafter, a secret decision was made by the government of theDutch East Indiesto place the Sultanate of Bandjermasin under the authority of the government. The reason being the incapability to rule the Sultanate, by Sultan Tamdjit Illah, who had abdicated, and there was no suitable successor. At the same time the possession of the coal mines near Bandjermasin were for the government of great and eminent importance for the country.

The early Muslim nation of Atjeh.

As early as the 13th century the Islamic religion was spreading throughout the archipelago, now known asIndonesia. It is possible that the traveller Marco Polo stayed a number of months at an Islamic independent nation on his return fromChina in1293 A.D.

Shortly after1500 A.D., the Portuguese conqueredMalayawhich was geographically situated across the narrow strait from Atjeh. Because of the difference in religions and the harsh regulations imposed by the Portuguese many inhabitants of Malaya were forced to cross the Strait ofMalayaand settle in the Atjeh nation. Under these immigrants were experienced traders fromEgyptand Arabia, craftsmen fromIndia, goldsmiths fromChinaand Islamic Imans. They were instrumental for the increased prosperity of the Atjeh nation.

Later on, when the first Dutch military invasion force encountered the fanatic resistance of the Atjeh population, they were labelled with a number of un-truths.

They were called animal like fighters who inspired by the jihad (holy war) would throw themselves without remorse on the bayonets of the Dutch soldiers. They were also called notorious opium snuffers and were accused of decapitating and quartering bodies of their enemies. Because they did not correspond with the normal indigenous population, they would receive no quarter from the Colonial government.

The mighty power of the Atjeh nation before the Dutch conquest.

The Sultan of Atjeh wrote a letter to the English monarch, QueenElizabeththe first. One sentence of this letter was written as follows:

´I am the mighty ruler of the region below the wind, who holds sway over thelandofAtjehand over thelandofSumatraand all the lands tributary to Atjeh, which stretch from the sunrise to the sunset.´

The letter from the Sultan initiated the beginning of a trade agreement betweenEnglandand Atjeh, which would last almost 280 years. It also indicates how large the sphere of influence was of the Atjeh nation, both as an independent and trading nation.

Although the might of the Atjeh nation decreased towards the end of the 17th century, the Atjeh nation remained an independent nation which lasted for a long time. Through the treaty withEngland,Singapore and Atjeh were active trade partners. All this ended when the British and Dutch governments negotiated about and signed a new treaty. The British government would not interfere if The Netherlands intended to attack and conquer the Atjeh nation. In 1873 The Netherlands declared war on the Atjeh nation.

The reason for the war against the Atjeh nation.

When Ferdinand de Lesseps finished constructing the Suez Canal in 1869, the sea route to theDutch East Indieswas shortened by four months. Now the northern part ofSumatraand especially the Atjeh nation became of strategic importance for the government of The Netherlands. It was of imminent importance that the movement of merchant and naval vessels which moved through theStraitofMalakkacould be monitored. The coastal sultanates of northernSumatrawere notorious for their violent sea piracy. The profitable sea piracy was carried out with military precision and was a serious threat to the merchant ships. The Dutch had conquered the whole ofSumatraas far as the borders of the Atjeh nation. According to the Dutch government it was imperative to conquer the northern part ofSumatra.

In the treaty ofLondonin 1824 betweenGreat Britainand The Netherlands it was agreed that the Sultanate of Atjeh would remain an independent nation. But because of continuing disputes about the definition of the borders, The Netherlands and the Atjeh nation signed a friendship treaty which defined the borders. The leaders of the Atjeh nation recognized all too well the threatening expansion movement of The Netherlands and sought support from other nations. These were the Caliphate of Islam, now known asTurkey,Great Britain,Franceand theUnited States. This worried the Dutch government greatly. The Dutch government could not allow letting a foreign nation gain a foothold onSumatra.

The Atjeh nation, the great unknown.

The territorial commander of westSumatra, Major General J.H.R. Kohler, had devised a simple operational plan for the conquest of the Atjeh nation. His forces were to land at the sea entrance of theAtjehRiverand establish a base camp. From this base camp the military forces were to advance inland to conquer the palace of the sultan at what was then known as Kota Radja.

After the conquest of the palace, the whole of the Atjeh nation would be in disarray and would capitulate to the Dutch authorities. This had happened in the past in other parts of the archipelago and Atjeh would be no exception.

Only, the Atjeh nation was prepared and well organised. From the moment the infantry landed, they were confronted by a large force of furious screaming Atjeh warriors which while waving their curved swords (Klewangs) attacked the infantry. The infantry armed with unwieldy rifles and bayonets were barely able to repel the attacking Atjeh forces. Another surprise for the Dutch forces was the effective artillery used by the Atjeh forces. The transport ship ´The Citadel of Antwerp´ was hit by no less than twelve cannon balls on the first day. The violent sword attacks by the Atjeh warriors and the effective cannon fire caused nine soldiers to be killed and forty-six wounded. According to the military leaders, this was exceptionally high and abnormal.

The first military expedition against the Atjeh nation.

The Dutch military expedition consisted of three thousand troops whom were immediately furiously attacked by fanatic well organised Atjeh warriors. In spite of the attacks by the froth mouthing Atjeh warriors, the Dutch forces were able to gain a foothold at the entrance of theAtjehRiver. The Dutch established a base camp as quickly as possible. According to the plan of attack, the Dutch forces were to move inland and capture the palace of the sultan of Atjeh. The problem was that nobody knew the exact location of the palace. The information which was supplied to the officers was wrong, and the maps of the area were also wrong. The river entrance, the river itself, the palace and the coastal roads were depicted totally differently than they were in reality. It also was impossible to set up observation posts from the base camp to reconnoitre the areas behind the tall trees which rose up from the swampy coastal areas.

In their quest for the palace, the Dutch erroneously attacked a missigit (mosque) which happened to be surrounded by a protective wall, thinking that this was the palace. The mosque was captured with heavy casualties on the side of the Dutch forces, due to the fierce resistance of the defending Atjeh Muslim warriors.

The commanding officer, major general Kohler, decided to abandon the mosque at dusk, because his soldiers were too exhausted to be able to defend the mosque in the event of night attacks. The mosque was attacked again three days later, and again conquered with heavy losses on the side of the Dutch army. Major general Kohler was killed in action during this encounter.

The retreat of the Dutch army.

After the death of Major general Kohler, Colonel E.E. van Daalen took over the command of the Dutch army. Even though the resistance of the Atjeh warriors was furious and unexpected, the destruction of the palace of the sultan of Atjeh remained the ultimate objective. Colonel van Daalen led his forces in the direction of where the palace was situated.

The Dutch soldiers were constantly harassed day and night by Atjeh warriors, who dressed in white and believing in the jihad threw themselves fanatically upon the bayonets of the Dutch soldiers. The expeditionary force reached the palace fourteen days after disembarking at the entrance of theAtjehRiver. Colonel van Daalen decided to employ two battalions for the capture of the palace. The well organised Atjeh defenders beat off the attack of the Dutch battalions and the Dutch army had no other possibility but to retreat. The attack on the palace had caused one hundred casualties among the Dutch forces. After this setback, Colonel van Daalen realised that other military means were necessary to defeat the Atjeh Nation.

Seventeen days later the military expeditionary force embarked in their ships and returned toBatavia. Of the 3000 officers and men involved in the operation, 56 were killed in action and 438 were wounded in action.

The return of the Dutch forces was not welcomed by the Dutch authorities, and especially by Governor General Loudon. He would have to explain the failure of the military expedition to the government inThe Hague.

The preparations for the second military operation against Atjeh.

The first military operation against the Atjeh nation had ended in a failure. The Dutch government inThe Haguewas adamant to defeat the Atjeh nation and gain the authority over the territory. Therefore, a second military expeditionary force was equipped on a short notice. The preparations, however, were insufficient, because the Dutch government felt that the conquest of the Atjeh nation was imperative in recovering and boosting the national and colonial prestige. European foreign mercenaries were conjured into joining the Dutch army in the Dutch East Indies by offering them a handsome joining-up fee, and their equipment was improved. The outdated canons of the Dutch navy were replaced by state-of –the art weapons. A bottomless budget was made available for the supporting units. Included were a steam bakery, modern water pumps, rails and railroad wagons for the six kilometre long railroad system, iron bridging material, a rifle production unit and an iron forge.

The army consisted of about 13.000 officers and men. Included were about 3.000 slave labourers for the overland transportation of the artillery and other equipment. There were also approximately 1.000 batmen for the more than 400 officers. 240 women accompanied the indigenous forces.

Two companies consisted of Africans, whom were hired in the Gold Coast. The indigenous members of the army gave them the nickname of ´Belanda hitam´ which means black Dutchmen, because of their biblical and Dutch names such as Mozes, Jodocus, and Johannes etc.

The transportation and landing of the second military operation against Atjeh.

Nineteen ships loaded with troops and supplies left theharbourofBataviaand sailed for Atjeh. The overall command was entrusted to General van Swieten. General van Swieten had experience in commanding military expeditions as commanding officer of the Dutch Indies Army (NIL) and had led the military operations that conquered the islands of Celebes andBali.

Just when the military expedition had embarked, a cholera epidemic which was ravishing theislandofJavareachedBatavia. The troops and sailors on board the ships were also infected. The thousands of soldiers and sailors packed together in the filthy small holds of the ships were an easy prey for the disease. Sixty persons succumbed to the disease during the fourteen day sailing trip to the coast ofAtjeh. Upon arrival at the marshy coast ofAtjeh, the troops were hastily disembarked as a longer stay in the cramped holds of the ships would lead to a disaster. It took the expedition two weeks to set up their base camp because of the persistent torrential rains. The tents were set up on marshy areas. The hospital, which by now had more than 500 cholera patients, had to be moved repeatedly to higher ground. Because of the cholera epidemic the strength of the army was decimated.

The military victory over the Atjeh nation.

Due to the cholera epidemic which decimated the strength of the Dutch army during the voyage on the ships and the landing on the marshy coast ofAtjeh, the army’s advance inland was delayed. After re-organizing the army, the troops were finally able to advance inland towards the palace of the sultan. Eventually, the Dutch army was again confronted by the heavily defended mosque where they had incurred heavy losses on the previous two attacks and where the commanding officer of the first operation was killed.

After ten months of advancing inland towards the mosque, the Dutch forces were in a position to attack and conquer the mosque. This, however, did not prove to be easy. The brigade, consisting of 1400 officers and men, lost 214 officers and men wounded in action.

The attack on the palace was carefully prepared. First reconnaissance units were send out, followed by heavy artillery fire. After constructing trenches and emplacing artillery designed to destroy fortifications, the Dutch forces attacked the palace. It seemed that the defenders of the palace had slipped away during the night and the palace and the surrounding area was taken without a struggle. The capture of the palace of the sultan of Atjeh was seen inBataviaand The Netherlands as an enormous military victory. The disgraceful defeat of April 1873 was avenged in April 1874. A patriotic Dutch song, ´Wien Neerlands Bloed´, which freely translated

means: ´Who has Dutch blood flowing through his veins´, was sung by the soldiers in the palace and champagne was served in abundant quantities. In a speech to the officers and men, General van Swieten said, ´the palace is ours´.

The V.O.C. and theBandaIslandgroup.

Shortly after the founding of the V.O.C., their forces conquered a number of Portuguese fortifications and strongholds. The dilapidated fortifications were renovated, manned with garrisons and given Dutch names. Around some of the fortifications there arose Dutch settlements.

The importance of theBandaIslandsfor the V.O.C. is found in an instructional letter written by the V.O.C. council to their highest representative inAsia, Admiral Pieterszoon Verhoeven.

´…De eylanden van Banda en Moluques is het principaele wit, waernaer wij schieten.. . Wij kunnen U.E. niets gewisser ordoneeren, dan alleenlijck op het hoogste deselve soeckende met tractaet of te geweld aan de Compagnie te verbinden voor den eersten september ofte eerder, oock op elck landt cleen fortes opwerpe, met eenich crijghsvolk bezettende…´.

Translated into modern English the instruction means:

The principal goal of the Company is the Banda and Molukken island groups. We cannot stress to You the importance of gaining control of these islands before the 1st of September or sooner, either by treaty or by force and establishing a fortress on each island manned with a garrison.

The V.O.C. desperately wanted control of the BandaIslands, because in another written instruction of the 11th of April 1608 Admiral Verhoeven was once again reminded of the importance of conquering the Banda islands.

´ De Moluques en de eylanden… Banda boven alle´

Again translated it says:

´Conquer the Molukken islands, but above all the Banda islands´.

The aim of the V.O.C. was to gain the monopoly over the spice islands and the spice trade.

The bloodstained victory over the inhabitants of the Banda islands.

Jan Pieterszoon Coen conquered theislandofLonthor, the largest of the Banda islands, after fierce fighting. However, the resistance of the indigenous population had not ended, and the air on the islands was frightening. When a conspiracy was discovered and there seemed to be a threat that the islanders were about to revolt, Jan Pieterszoon Coen decided to act. This resulted in a bloodbath. He sends punitive military expeditions to all the islands. They exterminated almost the total population. It is estimated that about ten thousand Bandanese were brutally murdered. Tens of village chiefs (Orang Kayas) were later convicted as conspirators. Japanese mercenaries used Samurai swords to behead the convicted conspirators, and quartered the bodies. The heads and other parts of the body of the murdered persons were spiked on bambu sticks and displayed for everyone to see.

About 1.000 Bandanese survived the slaughter of the 8th of May, 1621. They were shipped toBatavia and sold as slaves.

The first phase of Jan Pieterszoon Coen´s plan had been accomplished. The Banda islands were depopulated and the nutmeg plantations were now under control of the V.O.C.. It was now time to initiate the next phase. The exploitation of the nutmeg plantations and finding new labour forces. After the slaughter there were no Bandanese left to work on the plantations, so slaves were imported from different parts of theDutch East Indies.

The productive nutmeg area consisted of about half a million nutmeg trees. These were divided in 68 parcels of land. Each parcel was1.2 hectarein size for which Dutch plantation tenants could obtain a license to exploit it. These plantation tenants were mostly free citizens, soldiers and commercial persons whose contract with the V.O.C. was finished, and who decided to stay in theDutch East Indies. It was their compulsory task to take care of the nutmeg trees and to harvest the nutmegs. The nutmegs had to be delivered to the V.O.C. against a previously fixed price. In order to be certain of a profit margin of 300 percent, the V.O.C. paid the plantation tenants a 1/222 part of the nutmeg market price in theNetherlands. Even so, the plantation tenants fared well. The merchants who had financed the war began to earn immense profits. According to a report, theBandaIslandsgroup was the shiniest star on the V.O.C. heaven.

The Dutch plantation tenants (in Dutch: perkeniers) of Banda.

The Dutch plantation tenants were mainly freebooters who did not care much for Christian values and standards. Many local women, mostly slaves, had illegitimate children from these plantation owners. This resulted in a melting pot of different types of the population.

The plantation tenants soon considered their employer, the V.O.C., as their enemy who paid too little for their nutmeg and who denied them the right to become the owners of the plantation. Because of this there originated a lively smuggle of nutmeg.

The Portuguese intentions.

Portugalwas situated exactly on the maritime crossroads between the two most important trading nations of that time, Flanders andItaly. After the crusades against the Islamic enemy had ended, the nobility and clergy searched for other possibilities for their mission, but also for commercial and economic expansion for profit.

The young Portuguese prince Henry, better known in history as Henry the Navigator, decided to establish himself in Sagres, a place in southernPortugal. He founded a maritime centre for maritime studies. Scientists, shipbuilders, cartographers and mariners gathered around the prince.

He send ships into unknown waters in order to gather as much information as possible. Through these reconnaissance voyages along the unknown coasts ofAfrica, the Portuguese mariners became familiar with the sea currents, wind directions and the measurement of latitudes and longitudes. They adopted the diagonal crossbeams and the square sails from the Arabians and fitted their ships out with these. At the same time they equipped their ships with cannons in order to be able to fight sea battles and land fortresses more effectively.

The Portuguese were now ready to make the leap toAsiaand apply their newly acquired maritime technology.

The Portuguese quest for spices.

Spices such as pepper, clove, mace and nutmeg were in high demand inEuropeand sold against exorbitant prices. The traditional route for the transportation and trading of these products was from Asia to the Red Sea, then overland acrossEgyptand from there to the countries around theMediterranean. The Portuguese were searching for another maritime route which they could control in order to be able to compete with the traditional trading routes. Through careful preparations and the use of the latest military technology they were able to be the first Europeans to bridge the sailing distance between Western Europe andAsia. Upon reaching southEast Asia, they discovered the existence of numerous sovereignties. These sovereignties were continually in conflict with each other for different reasons. This schism between them was cleverly used by the Portuguese to enable them to play an active role in the Asiatic trading network. Small trading posts were set up along the traditional trading routes, which later on became flourishing trading centres.

Goa, situated on the west coast ofIndiawas conquered in 1505. In 1511, the Portuguese conquered Malakka, which was strategically important. In 1522 they established a strongpoint on theislandofAmbon. They furthermore established a network of trading posts situated on crucial locations, which were fortified according to the state of the art fortification technology as known inEurope.

The conquest of the Portuguese colonies by the Dutch.

TheNetherlandswere excluded from trading on theIberian peninsulaby the Spanish embargo. TheIberian peninsulawas the depot and transit port for the spices from the east, where there trade was flourishing. Because of this embargo, the Dutch necessarily had to explore other, until now unknown sailing routes. The Dutch searched for a northern passage. Various Dutch and English expeditions failed to find the northern passage due the inability to break through the polar ice. The well known Dutch mariner Willem Barentsz died together with his crew on theislandofNova Zembla.

There remained only one possibility to achieve the Dutch aims. It was decided to remove the Portuguese from their fortresses. In order to accomplish this, the Dutch founded the United East Indies Company (the V.O.C.). Within a few years they were able to conquer the Portuguese fortresses and occupy the important spice islands.Portugaldid not count anymore. The new rulers were the Dutch.

The early history ofBali.

There is a legend which says that a Javanese high priest placed his finger on a spot on the area that connectedBaliwith Java. This became the demarcation line between Bali and Java and this is whereBaliseparated from Java. The Straight of Bali (Selat Bali) is approximately three kilometres wide and sixty meters deep. This indicates that Java andBaliwere connected with each other in the past.

Little is known about the history of Bali. Archaeological discoveries on the island show evidence that the island had a reasonable population around 300 B.C. and that an orderly village life had developed. The first documented information dates from the 9th century A.D. The inscriptions were chiselled in stones.

Around this time, the Balinese community had made such a development that it formed the basis for the present society.

Rice was cultivated by using a complex irrigation system. These methods are probably used today.

Metal objects, sculptures and wood carvings were also developing. The island was divided into small sovereignties which later were amalgamated under the developing royal dynasty.

Marco Polo, the informative guide forAsia.

In the course of the centuries many powerful nations had developed inAsia, with diversified cultures and millions of inhabitants. These nations were more powerful and more prosperous than the European countries of that time. Marco Polo described his experiences while travelling through these nations in his eye-witness account of his journey toChina.

When the first Europeans arrived inAsia, they discovered a continent of powerful nations with connected but different cultures and a flourishing high level of science. In the north the mighty Mogul empire had developed itself, consisting if many prosperous individual kingdoms. The Indonesian archipelago had also known alternating smaller and larger empires with flourishing cultures. On theislandofJavadeveloped the Buddhist Borobudor and the Hindu Prambanan. The Islamic sultanate of Matamaran was developing itself into a powerful nation and would eventually dominate a large part of theislandofJava.

Over the centuries a closed loop trading network developed between the nations ofAsia, with regular maritime sailing routes and caravan roads. On their first attempts to link up with this existing trading network, the Portuguese and Spaniards relied on the experiences of Marco Polo.

TheDutch East Indiesunder British rule.

The British forces met little resistance from the combined Dutch and French army. On the 17th of September 1811, the Dutch Governor General, J.W. Janssens, surrendered.

One of the officers commented on this in a letter:

´On the 26th of August, the only fortress of any importance on theisland ofJava, the Meester Cornelius, fell to British forces in a time span of only four and a half hours. The British forces advanced that day very early in the morning to do battle. The Dutch forces in the bivouac area were not prepared for this attack. A part of the Dutch army consisting of indigenous Javanese soldiers who were supposed to guard one of the flanks were still asleep and were immediately overpowered.

The commanding general, Jumel, was awakened when the British attack was already in progress. He ordered the cavalry to attack the enemy infantry and simultaneously ordered his infantry units to open fire on the same enemy infantry. The advancing cavalry forces were caught in a cross fire. The chaos among the Dutch forces was complete. The retreat by all forces turned into a rout. The horse artillery galloped through the retreating infantry. Many of them were crushed by the artillery carriages or were finished off by the British cavalry. An attempt to reorganize the dispersed troops failed as the surviving indigenous soldiers had returned to their villages.´

The first inhabitants of the archipelago.

Two gigantic migration waves left a long time ago from what is now southChina. The people established themselves over a period of time on the coastal areas of different islands. Their livelihood consisted of hunting and fishing. At the same time they practised agriculture and started to keep livestock.

It is known that in the 7th century A.D. highly developed and well organised communities existed in the Indonesian archipelago. Some villages existed from the cultivation of rice. The inhabitants developed a refined irrigation system which is still used today. Later on they developed shipbuilding methods. Just like their neighbours, the Polynesians, they were able to row over the seas over large distances with their prows. This indicates that they had excellent knowledge of navigational skills.

An extensive trading network developed with countries on the mainland of the Asian continent, especially withIndia.Indiawas the most important stopover for the trade with the Mediterranean area. Trading withIndiabecame very important. There was an ever increasing demand for expensive articles such as pearls, precious stones, spices and expensive types of wood. Because of this, the Indian influence became noticeable at the beginning of our calculation of time.

Native resistance against the Dutch.

At the beginning of the 19th century, the Dutch named native opponents rebels, ruffians, bushwhackers, venom blenders, bandits and scoundrels. The native enemy was a many headed monster which differed from region to region and resisted against the ´lawful authority´ of The Netherlands. For instance, the leader of the resistance on theisland ofJava, Diponegoro, was named the chief mutineer. In other regions where the Dutch army and authorities first entered, and in fact no Dutch lawful authority had ever existed, native resistance was named rebellion against the authorities.

One characteristic feature was common to all the native enemies. They used a form of uncivilised warfare against the Dutch civilised troops. They wore no uniforms and did not have a military organization and did not use the rules of engagement for normal warfare as known by European armies. Because of this, the European troops considered that everything was allowed against the native enemy.

Yes, and then…mixed races.

Population statistics have shown that there were 56.903 European inhabitants in theDutch East Indiesin the year 1880. The lived mostly on theislandofJavaand consisted mainly of males. For every 1000 men there were 471 women. It is reasonable to assume that the remaining 529 bachelors lived a celibate life. The situation outside of Java and especially on the island of deli, the situation around 1900 was even worse. There were about 500 women for every 1500 men. Because of the rough pioneer character during their stay on Deli, men were discouraged of bringing their wives along. Living together with a concubine (njai) was a common and accepted phenomenon. In some cases the children were acknowledged by ´marriage´. In other cases the children were only half acknowledged by giving them surnames derived from the father’s surname by turning the father’s surname around. Such as Nesnaj (Jansen) or Rhemrev (Vermehr). But the greater part of the children remained nameless.

If the man who sired the children, or if it was a soldier who was killed in action, the unwed mother disappeared with her Eurasian children to her village in the countryside without any means of financial support.

Missing an important maritime turn off.

The sailing voyage of the V.O.C. ships toAsialasted on the average eight or nine months. The return voyage took, thanks to favourable south easterly winds and a shorter route, on the average seven months.

The ships, on their voyage to Asia, sailed first through the English Channel to theAtlantic Ocean. In order to circumvent the strong head winds of the African coast nearSenegal, the ships sailed via theCapeVerdiislands in the direction ofSouth America. Then the ships sailed in a big curve in the direction ofCapethe Good Hope, now Capetown, and then to make use of the favourable westerly passat winds. These were discovered in 1610 by Henrick Brouwer.

Once the ships were on course for Asia, they sailed directly over the Indian Ocean in the direction of theislandofJava. South of Java the ships had to turn north and sail through theSundaStrait(Selat Sunda) in order to be able to reachBatavia. If the ships failed to turn off into theSundaStrait, they would then be forced to sail straight along the south coast of Java and then end up on the inhospitable west coast of what now isAustraliawith its dangerousGreat Barrier Reef. Most of the ships were shipwrecked.

One of the ships that were shipwrecked was the well knownBatavia. TheBataviawas one of the largest V.O.C. ships that combined enormous fire power and a large cargo capacity. A reconstruction of this ship can be seen in the city ofLelystadin theNetherlands.

Independencefor TheNetherlands.

The Spanish viceroy Fernando Alvarez de Toledo, the duke of Alva, came in 1568 to theLow Countriesto ban out heresy and guarantee the Roman Catholic institutions. What is known in Dutch history as the eighty year war had begun.

During the cruel government of the duke of Alva the Dutch pirates in the south west ofHolland, operating from their safe havens inDoverinEnglandandLa RochelleinFranceattacked the high, slow Spanish galleons with their small manoeuvrable ships and expelled the Spanish from the Scheldt andRhineestuary.

The capture of the Spanish stronghold of Brielle (Den Briel) was the signal for a general rebellion in thenorthern provincesof theLow Countries. Under the leadership of William of Orange, the northern Seven United Provinces declared themselves in 1584 independent fromSpain.

This had grave consequences for the Dutch being able to trade in spices. The Dutch controlled the greater part of the transit of spices. They loaded their cargo in Lissabon and transported the spices to countries in northernEurope. Due to the declaration of independence, the Spanish authorities decided to close all ports on theIberian peninsulato the Dutch. Now the Dutch had to find their own way to ´the Orient´.

Ambonese in the RoyalDutch East IndiesArmy (K.N.I.L.)

After conquering the Moluccan islands from the Portuguese, the V.O.C. signed treaties with the tribal chiefs giving the V.O.C. the monopoly of the purchase of spices. This policy was maintained, if necessary by force, for almost two centuries.

During the British reign under Sir Stafford Raffles, the Moluccan inhabitants experienced a different variant of colonialism. Servitude was lessened and the British paid more for different products and the monopoly on clove was less enforced. At the same time an Ambonese army unit was established with higher pay.

The return of the Dutch in 1817 led to a bloody rebellion at Saparua. The rebellion escalated and jumped over to the other Moluccan islands. The leader of the rebellion was a former sergeant who had served in the British army. His name was Thomas Matulesssy and his nickname was Pattimura. The rebellion was quelled with great difficulty by the use of force and Pattimura was hanged.

This resulted in a strong aversion against the Dutch by the Moluccan people. The recruiting of Ambonese men for the Royal Dutch East Indies Army met great opposition. At that time most of the soldiers in the in the Royal Dutch East Indies Army were criminals. Only around 1920 was there an increase of Ambonese men for service in the Royal Dutch East Indies Army due to a higher entrance fee. After that the Ambonese were always present in the Royal Dutch East Indies Army. They fought side by side with the Dutch expeditionary forces against various rebellions in theDutch East Indies.

The RoyalDutch East IndiesArmy after 1830.

The organization of the army in the Dutch East Indies was determined after the return of the colonies by Great   Britainin 1815. Apart of the regular Dutch army was detached to the Dutch East Indiesunder the name of ´Corps d´armee´. This ´Indies brigade´ arrived in Bataviain 1816. The governmental resolution of the 4th of December 1830 to reorganize the Dutch East Indies army held in that the armies of The Netherlands and theDutch East Indies became separate armies. This meant that the Governor General became the officer commanding of all the forces in theDutch East Indies, and that a commanding officer was appointed for the ground forces.

The army of theDutch East Indieswas again reorganised after the Java war (1925-1930). This was necessary because replacements from the Royal Dutch army were very sparse. A large percentage of the soldiers remained permanently in theDutch East Indies.

It wasn’t until 1933 that the title ´Royal´ was added to the name of the Dutch East Indies Army. The at that time Minister for the Colonies, dr. H. Colijn, emphasized that the title ´Royal´ had already been added on the banners of the Dutch East Army in 1836 by king William the First.

The discovery ofNew Guinea.

The south coast ofNew Guineawas seen for the first time through the looking glass of Willem Janszoon. In 1606 the V.O.C. equipped the ship ´Duyfken, meaning little dove, for an expedition to explore uncharted areas. The assignment for the expedition was to leave Bantam on the west coast of Java and sail eastward to investigate if there were uncharted areas with gold deposits.

The maritime captains Schouten and Le Maire sailed along the complete north coast. They charted the islands that were later named after Schouten. Jan Carstensz. Left theharbourofAmbonin 1623 and sailed in an easterly direction. By the way of the Kei- and Aru islands he encountered the south west coast of NedGuinea. An attempt to land on the coast failed due to an attack of the indigenous Papuans. A part of the crew was killed during this attempt. After this he sailed onwards along the south coast. In his ship’s log he described the snow covered mountain peaks of a high mountain ridge. Upon his return to theNetherlands, he was mocked and ridiculed. It was impossible that there could be snow that close to the equator.

Abel Tasman sailed in 1642 along the north coast ofNew Guineaon his way toNew Zealand. On his return voyage he explored the same coast and charted many parts of it. The V.O.C. showed little interest inNew   Guinea. It did not have natural products for profitable trading.

The Dutch arrived last.

On the 2nd of April 1595 four ships left theharbour ofAmsterdam under command of Cornelius de Houtman and Piet Dirksz. De Keyzer. The ships were theMauritius, the Hollandia, the Duyfken and theAmsterdam.

Extensive preparations preceded the voyage. Information was obtained from two Dutch mariners who had served under the Portuguese flag. These were Jan Huygen van Linschoten and Dirk Jansz. Pomp, whose nickname was ´China´. Both men had extensive knowledge aboutAsia.

On the 15th of June1596, a little more than one year later, the ships dropped anchor in theBay ofBantam. The voyage to the east was marked by internal quarrels, all kinds of illnesses, inefficient leadership and disorganization. After the ships arrived in theBay ofBantam, the problems increased due to the blunt attitude of Houtman with regard to the Bantamese indigenous population. Moreover, the European barter products were rejected by the native people. At the same time, the Dutch were frustrated by the Portuguese merchants who did not wish to co-operate.

Early nationalistic movements.

More and more young persons from important Indonesian circles followed western style education. As a consequence, young men who were well educated would be able to fill positions within the European community. The European community was not prepared for the influx of these well educated young Indonesian persons. Admission to the higher social and commercial positions was limited. The positions available for these highly educated young persons were, due to protectionism, reserved for Europeans.

The Indonesian egalitarians understood that forcible integration into the European society was the only way. In order to force admission into the elite European society they would have to search for other possibilities. At the same time western education for Indonesians had to be expanded in order to slowly gain admittance in the European community.

Emancipated movements developed. These consisted of Interest groups of certain parts of the Indonesian population, such as the lower Javanese nobility, Chinese, Eurasians, Islamic merchants and others. Some of these movements would in the future become nationalistic movements whose aim was the independence of theDutch East Indies.

The founding of the city ofBatavia.

Bataviabecame the executive and administrative centre of the Asian branch of the V.O.C. The city was centrally located between the connecting sailing routes from Europe, theSundaStrait, theStraitofMalakkaand theSouthChineseSea. Moreover, it was not far removed from the Moluccan islands.

Initially, Jacatra (the presentJakarta) was nothing more than a fortified warehouse for the storage and protection of V.O.C. goods. The threat of the mighty sovereignty of Bantam, which had always played an important role in the Asiatic pepper trade, and the hostile mood of the British who tried to take over and safeguard their Asiatic trade, made it necessary for the V.O.C. to strengthen their fortification in Jacatra.

A conflict broke out in 1618 and the V.O.C. fortification was besieged by a large force consisting of British, Bantamese and Jacantranese. The underling division between the besiegers gave Jan Pietersz. Coen the possibility to defeat the besieging forces. Jacatra was destroyed.

Thenew cityofBataviawas founded in1619. TheCastleofBataviawas constructed on the site of the old warehouse and was intended to be used as a warehouse for V.O.C. goods and for quartering the government and the garrison.

TheCastleofBataviawas constructed on the left bank of the entrance to theTjiliwoengRiver. The castle was constructed according to the so –called multi angled fortification system. The ramparts were build along the sides of a square. Five angled bastions were constructed on the corners of the ramparts. From these bastions one had a perfect view over the ramparts. It provided the artillery with the largest possible line of fire.

The design of the castle was carried out according to the latest guidelines of Simon Stevin, a mathematician and a fortification engineer. He copied the ideas of Italian architects, who during the Italian renaissance were busy designing the ´Cite ideale´.

Large warehouses of the V.O.C., the offices of civil servants and the houses of the higher echelon of the civil service personnel were located within the ramparts. The garrison was also quartered within the ramparts.

West Timor.

The Portuguese were driven out of a part ofTimorby the V.O.C. because of the lucrative trade the sandalwood provided. Sandalwood was in vogue because of its yellow brown aromatic oil which was used in the production of perfumes and the fabrication of soap.

The bestharbourofTimor, Kupang, was conquered from the Portuguese around 1650. Around 1750 the Portuguese retreated to approximately halfway the island. This became the border between Dutch Timor and Portuguese Timor, and both parties were satisfied with this.

Both the Dutch and the Portuguese left the management and control of the inaccessible interior over to the many existing native kingdoms. The Dutch also allowed the existence of a Portuguese enclave on the north coast of the island within their territory. The enclave was called Uikusi, and here lived the descendants of the Portuguese who had resisted the V.O.C.

The existing border led to differences of interpretation of the definition of where the border should be. Attempts to define the border in treaties of 1854, 1859, 1893 and 1903 were unsuccessful. Finally on the 1st of November, the longest border issue in Dutch colonial history was settled, and it included the border definition of Uilusi which remained Portuguese.

TheBandaIslandsbefore the arrival of the Europeans.

Little is known about the original inhabitants of theBandaIslandsbefore the arrival of the Europeans. It is known that they lived in small villages along the coast and that they were Islamic. The villages were governed by a ´Orang Kaya´, the traditional village chiefs. The villagers lived from the yield of nutmeg and mace, the skin of the nut. The spices were sold to Chinese and Arabic merchants who in their turn sold them in Asia andEurope. The value of the spices increased by one hundred percent by every sale.

The Banda islands were the only supplier of these spices in the whole world with the consequence that they were targeted by trading nations such asPortugal,Englandand The Netherlands.

The Portuguese were the first to arrive. They signed a treaty with the sultans ofTernateand Tidore. Tidore was the supplier of clove. The Portuguese gained a foothold in the spice trade because of these treaties.

For almost ninety years the Portuguese were able to trade quietly in the Moluccan islands until vice admiral Jacob van Heemskerk dropped anchor at the Banda Island’s largest island, Lonthor, in 1599 with his ships the Gelria and the Zeelandia and founded a trading post.

The founding of Hollandia on DutchNew Guinea.

A detachment of Dutch soldiers bivouacked on the coast ofDutch New Guineain September of 1909. They had to perform the initial operations for the Dutch/German border settlement commission, because the north eastern part was claimed byGermany. The German soldiers named their bivouacGermania. Not to be outdone, the Dutch captain Sachse christened the bivouac on theHumboldt Bayin the queen’s name ´Hollandia´.

On the 7th of March 1910 the Dutch and Germans agreed that the border between the two countries would be the 141st eastern meridian. During the course of the following years, the military settlement grew into a small village. The resident civil servant made it is domicile. The mission established a school and a church. Later on a post office equipped with a transmitter and receiver installation was constructed. Next, a police station including a jail was constructed. Then followed a hospital, a pasangharan and a mosque, Chinese shops and houses constructed of stone with sirap roofs. The years went by in a sense of tranquillity.

It was only in 1938 that the tranquil situation was pleasantly disturbed by the arrival of the third Archbold expedition who intended to explore the northern flank of the Snow Mountain Range. This was still a white spot on the charts of Dutch New Guinea.

The Javanese kingdoms of Shailendra and Mataram.

Between the 8th and 10th century, two large dynasties developed in the middle of theisland ofJava. These were the Buddhistkingdom ofShailendra and the Hindukingdom ofMataram.

The famous BuddhistmonumentofBorobudurwas constructed north ofDjokjakartaunder the Shailendra dynasty. We find the remains of the Hindu empire back in the temple ruins on the Dieng plateau and the temple complex of Prambahnan which was dedicated to the gods Siwa, Brahma and Wisnu.

At the end of the 8th century the Shailendra dynasty became submissive to the Sumatrans empire of Sriwijaja. Hereby controlled the empire of Sriwijaja just about the whole of the archipelago.

ThekingdomofMatarammoved, for unknown reasons, its powerbase in an easterly direction, without loss of its influence. Under its last king Airlangga it became a powerful nation, which would eventually encompassBali. Under his government, irrigation waterworks were constructed for agricultural purposes.

The first aeronautical flight to theDutch East Indies.

In the early twenties of the previous century you would have to be an idealist to dream of flying from theNetherlandsto theDutch East Indies. A captain in service by the Royal Dutch Airlines (KLM), Thomassen a Theusink van der Hoop, was such an idealist. For years he had been walking around with this incredible and almost impossible idea.

He finally obtained permission from KLM to make his dream come true. A large crowd had gathered on the 1st of October 1924 to watch him and his crew departs from Schiphol, Amsterdam in a one engine Fokker F8. The crew consisted of van der Hoop, flight Lieutenant van Weerden Poelman and flight engineer van den Broeke. After two days, above Bulgaria, the radiator gave the ghost and van der Hoop had to make an emergency landing. Due to the impact of the landing, the landing gear collapsed and the engine was wrecked. Could this be the end of the flight? No. A new Rolls Royce Eagle motor was supplied from The Netherlands and installed by accompanying technicians. On the 2nd of November the flight resumed. In spite of many technical problems the plane landed at Batavia on the 24th of November, without any significant delays. The crew became the new national heroes.

On the 18th of December1933 a Fokker F XIII airplane, named ´ The Pelican´ departed from Schiphol for a return flight Amsterdam-Batavia-Amsterdam. It was a special mail delivery flight from KLM to show the competition of what they were capable of. The captain was Ivan Smirnoff, an experienced pilot who had earned his credentials as a fighter pilot in the service of the Russian Tsar. He had escaped after the Russian revolution and the communist takeover. He was in service with KLM since 1922. The plane had a crew of six persons. Besides Smirnoff, there was co-pilot Piet Soer and flight engineer Chef.

The empire of Sriwijaja.

The emerging nation of Malayu on the islandof Sumatrawas quickly devoured by its neighboring state Sriwijaja, which also conquered the southern part of the Malayan peninsula. Near the end of the 7th century the empire of Sriwijaja was in control of all the sea routes than any other nation in the archipelago.

From the capitalPalembang, the nation controlled the greater part of the trading in southEast Asia. The important Strait of Malacca situated betweenSumatraand the Malayan peninsula was under control of Sriwijaja.

International trade was mainly in the hands of the Tamils fromIndiaand the Chinese. Merchants fromArabia,PersiaandIndiabrought goods to exchange for local product, Chinese ware and spices from the spice islands. FromChinacame silk, porcelain, and Chinese rhubarb, famous for its medicinal properties. These products were exchanged for ivory, turtle shields, rhinoceros horns, clove, cardamom, pepper, coral, camphor, barnstone and perfume. There was also trading in expensive wood such as ebony and camphor. Sandal wood, sipo, ivory, tin and spices were exported toArabia.

The Sriwijaja nation expanded its territory as far as the greater part of Java and remained a powerful empire until the end of the 13th century.

The colonization of DutchNew Guinea.

The first pioneers arrived in Dutch New Guinea in November of 1930. They resided in self constructed villages with names such as Abelsdorp, Bijslag, Julianadorp, and Weversdorp. They lived mostly in miserable circumstances. Although many returned disappointed to Java, the colonization was not a failure. The will power and idealism of the remaining pioneers remained intact.

Many of the pioneers were well willing non-professionals, but the next generation had grown up in agricultural surroundings, making them one with the soil. They were able to practise agriculture with more love and insight.

Even so, the colonization of before the Second World War, despite the setbacks, bore its fruit. Without expert pre-knowledge of the soil and a better selection of human resources it would have failed. Because of this, the Ditch government decided to send exploration and soil investigation expeditions to the area surrounding Hollandia. These expeditions took place in the years 1931, 1932, 1938 and 1941. Because of this scientific research in the north eastern corner of Dutch New Guinea more and better cartographical information became available than from other parts of the colony.

The growth of the city ofBatavia.

In the 17th and 18th centuryBatavia became one of the most beautiful cities inAsia and was named ´The Queen of the Orient´.

Bataviawas founded by Jan Pietersz. Coen. The castle was constructed first on the ruins of Jacatra. The dominant building was built according to the instructions of Simon Stevin. Later on, the expansion of the city also took place according to the instructions of Simon Stevin.

The city was built according to a chessboard pattern with rectangular housing blocks situated along the straight streets and canals. Keeping in mind the fire safety regulations a regulation was issued that the houses could only be built with bricks. The building materials such as bricks, roofing tiles, harder stone, marble floor tiles and window glass were imported partially from the Moluccan islands. The remainder of the building materials were shipped from The Netherlands and served as ballast for the ships whose holds were mostly empty when they left forAsia.

Along the wide streets and canals stately mansions were built according to Dutch style. They were mostly exact copies of the houses in theNetherlands, but totally unsuitable for inhabitation in the tropics. The construction of the canals was also typical Dutch. The soil of the canals was used to heighten the ramparts of the city. The canals were used as a drainage system during the monsoon season.

Radio and telegraph communication in theDutch East Indies.

The archipelago was before the emergence of radio communication dependent upon trustworthy telegraph connections. In order to install a telegraph service for the archipelago, telegraph lines and sea cables were necessary. Around 1922 the sea cable network in theDutch East Indiesconsisted of a length of12.500 kilometres. The purchase of sea cables and the maintenance thereof was very expensive and the cables had a short lifespan.

This was the reason to change as quickly as possible to the fast developed radio technique. Better results were obtained, taking into account the long distances, by using short wave transmitters and receivers and it was less expensive. Transmitter and receiver stations were constructed in many places of the outer regions. They were now able to communicate back and forth.Bataviabecame the main station for radio communications. The transmitter and receiver station was installed on theBandunghigh plateau and communicated with larger places such asMedan,Makassarand Menado. In turn, these places served as relay stations for the smaller places. Around 1940 all the landlines and the sea cable network was replaced.

Hongi trips.

On the orders of the V.O.C. governors, so called hongi trips were undertaken on the Moluccan islands which at that time were held in an iron grip by the V.O.C. These trips were undertaken in order to hold supervision on the planting of nutmeg and clove trees. At the same time the transportation of the products could be controlled.

The hongi trips were named after the flat bottomed war prows which at that time were in the Moluccan a great danger for the higher and slower sailing ships of the V.O.C. fleet.

The native population planted the fruit bearing trees clandestine in hidden places. This allowed for serious forms of smuggling. If the cultivation of the trees was found to take place outside of the registered plantations, they were thoroughly destroyed. Excessive planting of young trees could be financially prejudicial for the V.O.C., and the destruction of the clandestine plants and trees was necessary to maintain the market price on the European markets.

Hongi trips also took place to solve differences between the native population groups and to punish the Alfuran and Makassaran inhabitants. The hongi trips were abolished in 1824.

The origin of the court of Paku Alaman.

During the period that the British governed the Dutch East Indies, sultan Hamengku Buwana the second got involved in a conflict with the British. Lieutenant governor Sir Stamford Raffles send armed forces and issued an ultimatum to the sultan and demanded his abdication in favour of his son. The British were assisted in the conflict by an uncle of the sultan, prince Natakusuma.

The sultan refused the British ultimatum, after which the British captured the palace. The sultan was deposed and together with two of his sons banned to Penang onMalaysia.

According to a resolution from Raffles, the sultanate of Paku Alaman was founded on the 1st of March 1813 as an independent sovereignty with a separate land area to counter poise the sultanate ofDjokjakarta. The brother of the deposed sultan was installed as sovereign Paku Alam the First. The earlierkingdom ofMataram was now definitely divided into two large and two small sovereignties.

The sovereigns of Paku Alaman who followed thereafter became famous as the most enlightened sovereigns of all the Javanese sovereignties. This was not only true for the financial and agricultural policy, but also in the area of education and mental care for their youth. Almost all of the children received a western style education. Paku Alam the eight was installed in 1937.He later became governor ofYogyakarta. Much has changed since the founding of the Republic. The sovereigns now only reign over their palace and their family.

The Mardykers.

The first group of Mardykers came from India. They were mostly soldiers who had been taken prisoner in the war with the Portuguese and the Spaniards and formed into separate companies or sold as slaves. After being released from slavery, they were referred to as Mardykers, meaning ´in freedom restored´. All of them had become Christians. First to Roman Catholicism and in the 17th century to Protestantism. They dressed themselves in European clothing and their language was Creole Portuguese. They were supplemented later by freed slaves from the Indonesian archipelago. Among them were Bandanese, Ambonese, Makassaran, Buginese, Balinese and natives from other tribes. The Indonesian culture became evermore influential because of this. The Creole Portuguese language remained the main language for a long time.

In 1670 the Portuguese church was built inBataviafor the Mardykers. Because of their Christian religion, they received certain privileges in the city, such as care for the poor and education. The majority was in the service of the V.O.C. as soldier, worker or clerk.

Batavia, a European city.

It was never the intention of the V.O.C. to conquer the whole of the islandof Javausing Bataviaas a jumping off base. Until late into the 17th century, the employees of the Company did not have any notion of the surrounding hinterland. There was nothing for them outside the ramparts of the city. All eyes were turned towards the sea. Food was supplied from overseas from Europe with their own ships and with junks and prows from Mataram on Java and fromIndia andThailand.

According to the ideas of its infamous founder, Jan Pieterszoon Coen,Bataviahad to become a European city. The population would consist mainly out of men and women from The Netherlands.Bataviahad to become a European colony. In this way, so he thought, an elite class of citizens would be created who under strict supervision of the V.O.C. would be able to control the inter Asiatic trade. The concept did not work. Entering into service by the V.O.C. was not very popular in The Netherlands. An attempt to bring over single women and orphan girls failed. The moral character of the woman and girls was such that it could never lead to a stable family build up.

The origin of the sovereignties of Djokjakarta,Surakartaand Mankunegara.

Paku Buwana the Second ruled since 1742 as Susuhunan of Surakarta over thekingdomofMataram. The support of the Dutch authority was hereby necessary, because discontented family members of the king were still able to conduct warfare against the V.O.C. and thereby also against Paku Buwana the Second. After the death of Paku Buwana the Second in 1749 the war fanned up again when the V.O.C. recognised his son as the lawful successor.

Direct family members of the new sovereign, Paku Buwana the Third, sided with their supporters with an uncle of the new sovereign. The uncle proclaimed himself inDjokjakartaas Susuhunan of Mataram.

This came in handy for the divide and conquer policy of the V.O.C. to be able to divide the nation of Paku Buwana the Second among the arguing interested parties. The V.O.C. was able to advocate the partition of the nation between the son, his uncle and a nephew, named Mas Said. The definite partition of thekingdomofMataramtook place in 1755. The Kesusuhunan of Surakarta under Paku Buwana the Third, the Kasultanan of Djokjakarta under Hamengku Buwana the first and the smaller sovereignty of Mangkunegaraan under Mas Said. This last sovereignty became definite in 1757.

The Kubu.

The Kubu came apparently fromIndiaorSri Lanka. They are seen as the oldest inhabitants ofSumatra. They moved into the jungles of central and southSumatraages ago. They avoided as much as possible contact with the inhabitants of the surrounding Islamic sultanates in order not to be subdued.

They lived as bush nomads in small groups of fifteen to thirty persons. Their dwellings were a roof made of leaves built on poles in the neighbourhood of a small river. The men hunted wild boars, monkeys, bush tortoise and other small animals. For the hunt they used simple wooden spears with an iron point or traps.

Musical instruments, dancing and songs were unknown to the Kubu. The Kubu never washed himself; instead he scraped the dirt off his body with leaves. The skin of the Kubu is often scurfy, hard and full with skin disorders. The use of natural medicines is also unknown to the Kubu.

Even now, tens of families still live as nomads in the jungle. Most of the Kubu are now located in the area surrounding Jambi. The men work in rubber tapping or wood chopping for a payment of second hand clothes, flashlights, sarongs and tobacco.


The Chinese emancipation movement.

The government of theDutch East Indiesissued around1900 anumber of measures in order to curtail the Chinese trading activities. The traditional functions in the opium trade (preparation and sales) and the running of pawn shops were taken over by the government. They were not allowed to travel without a passport. This impeded the freedom of movement. They were discriminated for the use of the newly instituted form of education and training courses.

The from previous formed mixed Chinese population, Peranakan (descendants) Chinese, which originated during the V.O.C. period, and who fulfilled an important function in the trading between The Netherlands and the Dutch East Indies now had a dilemma. Chinese trade associations were originated who handled all types of grievances and complaints. The associations had success. The government repealed their repressive measures for entry into native and European schools.

A Dutch Chinese school was established in 1908. The success of the Chinese emancipation movement was very influential inIndonesia, because it showed that an ethnic population group with assistance of the colonial authorities seemed to be an effective instrument.

The Chinese gold Kongsi´s (associations) onBorneo.

On the west coast of Borneo, about two hundred kilometres abovePontianak, lies an area where Chinese had established themselves long before the arrival of the Dutch to search for gold and diamonds. After a period of time, the Chinese aligned themselves into five large Kongsi´s. The Kongsi´s slowly evolved into little republics with their own government, laws and army.

Montrado was the unofficial capital. It was located about forty kilometres from the coast. The gold mines with names such as Ha-bok, Sing-bok and Sjong-bok were dispersed. Every Kongsi hall, a sort of city hall, was a fortification armed with light cannons. The Kongsi´s were constantly at war with each other or with the sultan of westBorneo. In 1850 the colonial government decided to intervene. The expeditionary armies met heavy resistance from the approximately 7000 Chinese armed with double edged swords. There were heavy and bloody battles.

Montrado was captured in 1854 by a combined Dutch and Indonesian force. The Chinese burned down the whole city. The war moved to the jungle. Long pursuits with the help of Dayaks were the result. Both sides committed war atrocities.

It was only in 1884 that the last Kongsi was defeated. All the Chinese living inWest Borneowere now under colonial rule.


ThePadanghighland stretches out around the city ofPadangand is one of the most fascinating landscapes ofIndonesia. The Bukit Barisan, the dominating mountain ridge and backbone ofSumatraruns from north to south. High volcanoes, fertile plains and valleys, deep ravines and canyons, a dense jungle and blue crater lakes vary the highland. The landscape is unique. This is the area where the Minangkabau live. Their houses are constructed with a saddle roof, and the top joints depict the horns of the local oxen. The houses are built on poles and decorated with multi-coloured carved wood and animal heads. The many coloured flower designs and the red background makes these houses the most decorative ofIndonesia. Another version of the saddle roofs was that the points of the roof depicted the front and back of the prows, which were the boats used with whom the first Minangkabauers came over from southChinaand the Indian hinterland toEast Indië.

The Minangkabau people despise tahu and tempeh. They eat beef. Rendang, dry cooked beef in coco milk and lombok is the characteristic and not to be missed dish in the kitchen of westSumatra. Anyone who intends to eat good and fast must go to a Padangese dining house. One does not have to make a choice of the available food, because many different dishes are served immediately. One pays only for the food consumed.

The west Sumatran cuisine is savoury, knows heavy long cooked dishes and is by the application of lombok, rawit and pepper very spicy.

Bandungand the Grote Postweg (Great Postal road).

In the past there must have been a small village namedBandungsituated where theTjikapundungRiverjoined theTjitarumRiver. The inhabitants were farmers. The soil in this area was very fertile. The area was the property of the sovereignty Bupati´s Wiranatakusumah.

The first Europeans arrived about halfway the 17th century fromBatavia and settled on the fertile ground in the hinterland. The road fromBatavia toBandung was completed around 1786.

King Louis Napoleon ordered the Governor General, Hein Willem Daendels, to improve the defences of Java, in order to be able to defeat an eventual attack by the British. Defensive positions were to be build along the coast and a supply road was to be constructed fromBataviato Cheribon.

Unfortunately, the coastal areas were too swampy for the construction of a road, and it was decided to construct a road through the Preanger highlands. Construction of the road which cut through Java from east to west began in 1809 not far from the villageof Bandung. By the resolution of the 25th of May 1810 thevillage ofBandung was relocated to a place where the Grote Postweg met theTjikapundungRiver. This was the origin of the city ofBandung.

The V.O.C. and the Asiatic trading methods.

The V.O.C. was a trading company inAsia, and had no intention of conquering large areas. The V.O.C. tried with political and military methods to take over the existing Portuguese and Spanish trade routes and to occupy their trading posts. In order to meet their commercial interests as good as possible, the V.O.C. made deals with Asiatic sovereigns who were rulers in their own sovereignty. This system was not compatible with the European political systems.

The agreements made by Asiatic sovereigns with foreign traders were:

  • The economic variant. In exchange for financial compensation the sovereign offered protection to the foreign traders and gave them permission to conduct commercial activities.
  • The political and military variant. Local sovereigns entered into an alliance with foreign traders against a common enemy. Military assistance and protection were provided against contracts for the delivery of products.
  • The sovereigns considered the contracts as temporary contracts only for the promised deliveries. The so called monopolies were nothing more than the agreed upon deliveries against fixed prices.

Two companies of Africans, recruited in the Gold Coast, formed part of the military forces. The native troops, the Javanese and Ambonese named these negroes ´belanda item´ or black Dutchmen because of their biblical and Dutch names such as Moses, Jodocus, Johan and more.

Telephone service.

After the introduction of the radio, the wireless telephone service developed itself at a fast pace. A voice was from The Netherlands was heard for the first in theDutch East Indiesin March of 1927. The spoken word from theDutch East Indieswas clearly recognizable in The Netherlands. Telephone communication between The Netherlands and theDutch East Indieswas opened for the public. At the same time, the official connection with theDutch East Indieswas officially opened in The Netherlands. Telephone transmitters, named Indië cells, were installed in the larger cities. The Dutch Telecom Company (PTT) recognized the importance of this event and has registered the personal experiences of the first speakers in a booklet ´HalloBandung, here is The Hague´. A telephone station was put into operation inMedanin 1931 by which telephone traffic became possible between Java and northSumatra. Subscribers in northSumatracould also be connected with subscribers in The Netherlands and all the countries connected with Java. By constructing new telephone stations, the telephone network was expanded over the complete archipelago.

The Navy Aeronautical Service (MLD) around 1940.

Just like in The Netherlands, young men in theDutch East Indieswere conscripted when they reached the age of eighteen. If the conscripted person chose for the navy and the MLD, he first had to follow a general training course of three months at the navy barracks at Gubeng,Surabaya. Thereafter he would be transferred to the naval aeronautical camp which was also located atSurabaya. The training courses consisted of metal revision, wood revision, engines and spare parts. After completion of the training followed a transfer to the aircraft of the MLD.

Around 1940, the MLD had a fleet of flying boats and aircraft capable of landing on water. The fleet consisted of 42 Dorniers which served as a reconnaissance plane and bomber, 21 Fokker aircraft which also server as reconnaissance planes and bombers and 47 Ryan training aircraft.

The archipelago had a length of5000 kilometresfrom east to west and2500 kilometresfrom north to south. 145 support places had been constructed in order to control these extensive waterways. They were situated, taking into account the flying radius of the different MLD aircraft, dispersed over strategic places within the archipelago. In the beginning of 1940 aircraft groups (GVT´s) were formed. These were formations of three aircraft which had to protect each other. Divided over differ locations, these aircraft flew reconnaissance missions above the different parts of the archipelago.

Goods and messages arrived after two years.

The V.O.C. shipping connections using the existing sailing routes between The Netherlands and the Orient was only able, depending upon the prevailing winds, to sail at certain times of the year. Three fleets left annually from The Netherlands forAsia.

  • The Christmas fleet sailed in September and arrived around March or April of the next year inBatavia.
  • The Christmas fleet sailed in December or January and arrived in June of the same year.
  • The Easter fleet sailed in April and arrived in October of the same year inBatavia.

Depending upon the demand within The Netherlands and the results of the auctions for Asiatic products, the Seventeen Gentlemen of the V.O.C. gave their orders to the fleets. Between the issue of the orders and the delivery of the products there was a time span of about two years.

An order given to the Christmas fleet of December 1700 arrived atBataviaaround the summer of 1701. If everything went according to plan, the products were hoisted on board one of the two return sailing fleets. The fleet of December 1701 who arrived in The Netherlands in the summer of 1702 or the fleet from April which arrived approximately at the end of 1702.

The Badui tribe (Orang Kanekes).

The Badui is a tribe that lives on the slopes of Paglaran in the south east of Bantam (Lebak) on west Java. They apparently fled to the impregnable interior of Bantam during the rise of the Islam on west Java. Their religion shows Hindu influences, but especially ancient Javanese influences previous to the Hindu period. The main desa is named Kanekes.

They do not differ much from other Indonesians by their appearance. Their ethnics and customs also show little difference from the other Indonesians. The name Badui probably descents from the word denoting Arabic desert dwellers, the Beduwa. They led a sober and simple life and worshipped their ancestors. They practised circumcision even though they were not Muslims.

The village chiefs apparently also served as spiritual leaders. They were called Pu-un. The leader of the Pu-uns is the Pu-un girang. He lives with the ancestors and is the go between for the ancestral worshipping. The Kanekes desa consists of three small villages. Only forty families are allowed to live in these villages. They are called the Inner Badui. Extra families have to move and are called the Outer Badui. The Outer Badui have more contact with the surrounding Muslim population.

Love and misery.

Marrying or living together with an Indonesian woman created the problem for a European man in which culture the children would be raised. By fathering children, some European fathers felt a moral duty to live with his native woman. The fathers intended that the children would be absorbed in the European community, while most mothers wanted to take the children to the countryside. Besides this, the possibility existed that the mother had no sense of moral obligation like the father. She just disappeared with the children. The father had the possibility because of a governmental resolution to ´recognize´ the children and later on ´legalize´ them. This allowed for the father to obtain legal power over a child, while the mother lost it. There was a clause on the application form where the mother recognized the man as the father and left him with legal power over the child. If the parents married, the child could be ´legalized´ by a European civil servant. In order to do this, an Indonesian spiritual leader had to issue a declaration that the woman was unmarried. It was the custom that, according to the adat rules, Indonesian girls were married off at very early ages.

The European population ofBatavia.

Attempts to make ofBataviaa European city failed due to the little interest in The Netherlands and the bad experiences with the single women and orphan girls that had been transported toBatavia. The policy of the V.O.C. was for employees to marry or live together with Asiatic of Mestizo women. Mestizo women were daughters of a European father and an Asiatic mother. These women were later called Eurasian or women from Indië. It was the intention of the V.O.C. to create a continuous top layer who would loyally execute the V.O.C. trading. The Portuguese had solved this problem in their port cities in the same manner.

The Europeans who arrived in the 17th and 18th century were mostly men. They could try to find a woman who was fit for marriage among the small group of European woman, the Indonesian women or the Asiatic women. The condition was that the marriage partner had to be a Christian. The rules of the V.O.C. insisted that non Christian women were first taught the cathegism and were baptized thereafter. Because this could take a long period of time, most men decided to live with an Asiatic concubine. This became a widely known appearance.

The Tangsi (army barracks).

There were military camps all over the archipelago. In the outer areas these were small barracks or tangsi´s surrounded by barbed wire (kawatduri). On Java it were large building complexes which were also surrounded by barbed wire. The soldiers beneath the rank of senior N.C.O. lived in the tangsi´s in barrack buildings. The daily quarters, sometimes with a canteen, were located in the middle. In the wings of the building were large sleeping quarters which were separated for married and unmarried soldiers Most of the time the buildings were classified according to the origin of the soldiers. For example, Ambonese, Menadonese, Timorese, Sundanese or Javanese. A large number of families lived together in the married soldier’s sleeping quarters. Each family had a small portioned private space. The parents slept on a sleeping table or bunk bed. The children slept under the sleeping table or bunk bed (under the kolong). They slept on a tikar, which is a thin bamboo mat. To separate the families, sailing cloth or a green cotton curtain was used. This offered visible but not audible privacy.

Personal belongings, clothing and shoes were kept in barrack boxes with the serial number and the name of the father noted on it. The barrack boxes were stored in the remaining empty spaces.

TheCocos Islands.

British freebooters settled themselves in 1820 on the smallCocos Islandslocated just south of Java. The Dutch government turned a blind eye, but the navy kept a suspicious watch of the settlers.

During the five year British government of the archipelago, the British civil servant Alexander Hare had obtained the area of Maluko onBorneofrom the sultan of Bandjermasin. However, he had to return Maluko to The Netherlands when they returned in power in 1816.

Hare sailed on the schooner ´Maluko´ with some British followers and a number of slaves to theCocos Islandsand proclaimed possession of the islands. Hare established himself onRiceIsland, the smallest and highest island. Ross, one of his followers, went to live with his family and six British sailors onScottIsland.

Hare turned out to be a real tyrant. He thought of himself that he was lord and master over his followers.

He terrorised the other British and the slave women from his shabby dwelling onRiceIsland. He distributed the rice supply according to his whims, took children away by their parents and locked them up in cages onRiceIsland. It was a bizarre and hostile community on theCocos Islands.

Eurasian girls.

In theDutch East Indiesfrom after1900, aEurasian girl was understood by the European community as a girl of mixed races. The impression of the average Dutchman in theNetherlandswas that a Eurasian girl was a wild savage that had just emerged from the jungle. The general opinion in The Netherlands that Eurasian meant the same as ´ from the countryside´ or native resulted in the conclusion in The Netherlands that a Eurasian girl was nothing more than a ´black savage´.

If a Dutchman wrote a letter to his family in The Netherlands in which he proudly wrote that he was going marry a Eurasian girl, the family concluded that he was either mentally disturbed or suffered from a maniacal depression. Even though his bride to be was recently hired as a teacher at the judicial faculty ofBatavia.

Conversely, Indonesian people who only knew The Netherlands fro geography lessons could not believe that white men would carry their own suitcases upon arrival in The Netherlands, or of the existence of white road workers, garbage men, etc.

The Chinese ofBatavia.

From the beginning of the founding ofBataviain 1619 there were Chinese present in the city. Trading withChinawas important for the V.O.C. The Chinese junk traders brought products like tea, porcelain and silk. There was also a great demand for Chinese workers. They were diligent and peaceful. In a short period of time, the Chinese became the largest ethnic population group inBatavia. Jan Pieterszoon Coen appointed a trustworthy Chinese as Captain Chinese. This person formed together with a number of lieutenants the administration of the Chinese population. The administration took care of the interests of the Chinese by the V.O.C. authorities. Every Chinese inhabitant paid ´head money´, a monthly tax. This was collected by the Chinese administration.

The Chinese population ofBataviaremained aloof of the local population. They preserved their own language and customs. They had regular contact with their families inChinathrough the direct shipping connections. Most of the Chinese considered their stay inBataviaas temporary.

The daily routine of passengers travelling to the Orient around 1840.

Only employees of the V.O.C. were allowed to travel on their ships to theDutch East Indies. After 1816, anyone who wanted to undertake the journey was allowed to do so.

The Dutch Trading Company which succeeded the V.O.C. built many ships for the sailing journeys to theDutch East Indies. The journey around theCape of Good Hopelasted more than one hundred days. The cabins were little more than pens, where if the passenger so desired some improvements could be made by the ship’s carpenter, like a book shelf or a small folding table. A bath was only possible if rain water from a tropical downpour was collected in a container made of tarred sailing cloth. The ladies tried to keep their hands clean by rubbing them with slices of lemons. Lemon would last for a long time, but the provisions for other fruits, fresh meat, fresh vegetables and white bread were depleted within two weeks.

All that was then left for the cabin passengers was the ship’s food from the cook. Monday and Thursday beans with salted meat. Tuesday white beans with bacon. Wednesday sauerkraut with potatoes and bacon. On Friday, French pea soup. Saturday dried fish with potatoes. On Sunday soup with fresh meat was served because a pig was butchered. The passengers arose early and drank a cup of coffee and thin porridge mixed with water and at noon a cup of chocolate. The meal was served from three to four- thirty. After the meal, the passengers lingered on deck. At nine o’clock, after tea, the passengers returned to their cabins to play a game of solitaire.

Sugar cane production in the regions surroundingBatavia.

During the course of the 17th century the danger of attacks from the surrounding nations Bantam and Mataram diminished. The city gates of Batavia were cautiously opened. The first citizens who ventured outside the city were the Chinese and some V.O.C. employees. Parts of the surrounding forest was chopped down and the cleared areas were used for the cultivation of vegetables, rice and sugar cane. The cultivation of sugar cane increased at a fast pace. The planting of sugar cane expanded even further. Mills (factories) were built in order to process the sugar cane locally. Twenty mills were in use around the middle of the 17th century.

The V.O.C. realised that the sugar cane trade would be profitable. The owners of the mills, mainly Chinese, were obliged to sell their products to the V.O.C. against a fixed price and sales to third parties were excluded.

It wasn’t long before the V.O.C. again became involved in conflicts with Bantam and Mataram. The sugar cane production stagnated due to a shortage of labour. Only after the V.O.C. had defeated the Bantam nation and improved her position in the region did the number of koelies (workers) increase. In 1696 there were116 mills registered by the governor ofBataviain the surrounding region.

The departure of European women to the Orient.

The young and unmarried tobacco plantation owners lived a rough and unrestricted life in the begin period of the exploitation of Deli on the east coast ofSumatra. They lived together with their njai´s (concubines) In The Netherlands this manner of the lawless life of the young planters, who because of the scarcity of European women shared their lives with native housekeepers, was met with strong disapproval. But is was also unfavourable to let young, well brought up European women to depart for the Dutch East Indies because of the uninhibited moral practices.

The demographic composition changed due to the explosive expansion of the tobacco enterprises and the increase in Europeans. In the first instance it was better to be unmarried, but with the change to the advantage of the planter community, it would be more beneficial for the society of Deli if one married with one of the European personnel. It would contribute to the increase of civilization in the region.

It became more and more usual to depart for the Orient as the wife of an administrator or assistant. Many European married by proxy and followed their husbands later to theDutch East Indies. With the influx of European wives, the role of the njai´s largely disappeared out of the lives of the planters in Deli.

The massacre of the Chinese.

There were 84 sugar cane mills in operation in the surroundings of Bataviaat the beginning of the 18th century. Most of the mills were owned by Chinese. The sugar cane export had become an important part of the inter Asiatic trade for the V.O.C. In 1722 the largest buyer of sugar cane, the dynasty ofPersia, was overthrown. At the same time the competition of Bengalese sugar increased. The V.O.C. lost a large part of the world market and many mills had to close. This had far reaching consequences for the Chinese population. They ended up in poverty and misery. The tension became greater through the shortage of food. The Chinese revolted in October of 1740 and thousands of Chinese attackedBatavia. Although the attack was repulsed, there was panic in the city about the ´Chinese danger´.

Out of fear for the extensive Chinese population and the rumours in the city, the civilians and garrison soldiers hunted down Chinese men, woman and children who were unable to defend themselves. Ten thousand Chinese were massacred. It seemed afterwards that they were not involved in the revolt and were innocent. This massacre has entered the history books as the ´Chinese massacre´.

An incident on the quay ofBatavia.

General van Swieten returned to Bataviatriumphantly on the 1st of May 1874 after the ´successful´ second Atjeh expedition for an honourable and spectacular reception.

Governor General Loudon awaited him and his troops at the quay. Also present was the wounded captain van Daalen who also returned from Atjeh. He was the brother of the editor-in-chief of the ´Java bode´ who was fired by Loudon and a nephew of the colonel who led the first Atjeh expedition and was denigrated by Loudon.

Loudon approached the captain to honour him for his part in the second Atjeh expedition. But the family van Daalen was united in their disdain for the Governor General. Captain van Daalen bowed respectfully, but refused to shake the hand of the Governor General.

The publicly humiliated Governor General wanted to dismiss the captain from the army on the spot. The army commander, Whitton, prevented this by pointing out that the action of the captain first had to be judged by an honorary board of officers.

The board came to the following conclusion:

´ The captain had bowed respectfully and then had done nothing, namely to accept the hand of Loudon, and doing nothing could, according to the board, not be seen as being disrespectful towards the person representing the king´.

With the KLM to theDutch East Indies.

In the years after the successful flight fromAmsterdamtoBataviaand back in 1924, the KLM carried out different trial runs. The KLM stared regular flights every fourteen days fromAmsterdamtoBataviaand back in 1930. The Fokker F-7B aircraft needed twelve days for a one way flight. The KLM started using DC-3´s in 1937 for their regular flights. The DC-3 had a load capacity of9600 kilograms, could carry eleven passengers and the flying time was reduced to five and a half days. There were now three regular flights each week.

The timetable was so exact that not only the days of arrival and departure were listed at the airports, but also the hours and minutes. The transportation of mail and passengers increased greatly. Three times as many foreign passengers flew with KLM than Dutch passengers.

During the flight thee were stopovers inAthens,Basra,Jodhpur, andSingapore. Prior to the start of the Second World War in 1939, KLM transported 4.888 passengers,121.274 kilogramsof mail and74.570 kilogramsof freight.

Mixed races.

In 1911 the ´First Universal Races Congress´ took place inLondon. In the ´Papers on inter Racial Problems´ the politicians and scientists expressed their concern over the problem of persons of mixed races.

Jean Baptiste de Lacerda stated in his introduction about ´Metis or half breeds of Brazil´ the following:

´Although it is impossible to indicate Metis as examples of beauty, such as their figures as well as contours, it is even so true that we encounter, especially under the female gender, types with gracious and well proportioned figures. The voluptuous instincts are strongly developed within them, and this can be seen on their yearning eyes, sensual lips, indolent posture and the comparative slow method of speech´

Differences between races were accepted, but persons of mixed races were for a long period of time seen as degenerate persons whose sex instinct was well developed. They were the descendants of the crossing between races.

More than thirty years earlier, the Dutch journalist P.A. Daum could not have described it better in his articles in the ´Bataaviasch Nieuwsblad

The origin of the court of Surakarta.

The consequences of the massacre of the Chinese were that the remaining Chinese rebels expressed their outrage by conquering a number of cities along the northern coast ofJava. The sovereign of Kartasura, Paku Buwana the Second, thought that the Chinese conquests could be advantageous to him and he joined the Chinese. He hereby tried to escape from the V.O.C. stranglehold.

The combined Javanese and Chinese rebel armies conquered another number of cities, but the siege ofSemarangended in a failure. Paku Buwana the Second was severely criticised by his people and he decided to become again a subject of the V.O.C. by expressing his regrets for his deeds. The answer of the rebels was very quick. In 1742 they destroyed the palace at Kartasura.

The rebels were defeated by the V.O.C. after heavy fighting and Paku Buwana the Second became king of the Mataram nation. In the treaty between the new king and the V.O.C. it was stipulated that almost the whole of the Mataram nation would resort under the authority of the V.O.C.

Because of the destruction of the palace at Kartasura by the rebels, the king decided to move his court toSurakartaat the palace Surakarta Handininggrat.

Harderwijk, the cesspool ofEurope.

Colonel Johannes van den Bosch, a later Governor General, who was in charge of recruiting for the colonial army, chose the town of Harderwijkas recruiting depot. From 1815 onwards, after the defeat of Napoleon, volunteers from different parts of Europeflooded the depot. They existed of military criminals, fortune finders, and French deserters. Dismissed German soldiers, poverty stricken persons and adventurers. Later on Dutch volunteers came to the depot to sign on or re-sign because of the existing poverty. The colonial recruiting depot remained in Harderwijk until 1909. The shopkeepers profited almost a century from the despicable conduct of the colonial recruits who spend their signing on pay on immoral practices. The Christian population of the town were horrified by the immoral conduct of the recruits in the bars and brothels. They were supported by fanatic preachers of the Midnight mission who demanded the closure of the brothels. Their demands were adhered to and on the 1st of January 1892 and the brothels were closed. In 1909, the recruiting depot of Harderwijk moved to the Colonial Reserve atNijmegen.

The sovereign state of Sriwijaja onSumatra.

The sovereignty of Malayu originated on Sumatrain the 7th century. It was the Buddhist empire. Malayu acted as if it were an absolute empire, but was quickly devoured by its neighbouring nation Sriwijaja which also ruled the Malaysian peninsula and the southern part ofThailand. Sriwijaja was the most powerful nation in the archipelago.

The empire ruled over the Strait of Malacca and was thus able to control all trading in south east Asia from their capital,Palembang. The trade was in the hands of Tamils fromIndiaand Chinese. Merchants fromIndia, Arabia andPersiabrought goods to barter for local products, such as Chinese goods and spices.

The Chinese brought silk, porcelain and Chinese rhubarb (known for its medicinal properties) in exchange for ivory, tortoise shields, rhinoceros horns and spices. They also exchanged their goods against expensive wood such as ebony and camphor wood. Other products wanted by the Chinese were pearls, coral, mace, barnstone and perfume. The Arabian merchants exchanged their goods against sandal wood, ebony, ivory, tin and spices.

Sriwijaja conquered a large part of Java and continued to maintain its power until the end of the 13th century.

The soldier and his native housekeeper.

The Indonesian housekeeper was, in the years after 1900, an accepted phenomena within the military community in theDutch East Indies. A long period of peaceful calm came to pass after theBaliexpedition of 1908. Many of the young soldiers were in search of a woman to come and live with him in the barracks. The soldiers without a wife did not live a chastised life, with all the expected dangers.

The pay of a European soldier was around 1915 between 85 cents and one guilder and fifteen cents every five days. A corporal received two guilders and eighty cents and a sergeant a little less than five guilders.

With such an income was, for the soldiers who wanted it, impossible to raise a family with a European woman. The only remedy for them was to take an Indonesian woman as a concubine. The barracks were divided by heavy sailing cloth into small rooms. There was enough room for a two person bed, a small table and a small wardrobe. This was the room where they lived during the evening and night. The children slept underneath the bed. During the day, they resided in the central common room. Sometimes, the soldiers moved to the countryside and lived with their wife in a bamboo hut.

Travelling on V.O.C. ships.

The V.O.C. maintained the rule from the founding of the company in 1602 until the dissolution of the company in 1799 that only V.O.C. employees were allowed to travel on the ships sailing for the Dutch East Indies. These were important civil servants with their families and servants, merchants, surgeons, preachers, craftsmen, soldiers and of course the sailors. The three master ships of the V.O.C. in the 17th and 18th century were a combination of trading-, war- and troop transport ships which completed the journey in about eight months. Very precise sailing orders were issued by the council of the Seventeen Gentlemen, from which no deviation was allowed. The ´Wagon spur´ provided precisely the sailing route that had to be followed because of the different wind directions. If one deviated from this, one could end up in windless or strong head winds. Both meant long delays, through which the supplies depleted and malnutrition and diseases took place, especially under the crew.

The opium proceeds ofBali.

The opium trade was the reason why The Netherlands wanted to have direct authority over the islands of Bali andLombok. The use of opium was common under the population and was sold on the open market. The sovereigns had a large interest in the opium trade because the Buginese and Chinese merchants had to hand over part of their profit as a form of taxation. The V.O.C. and the Dutch government also profited from the opium trade. The Dutch government made a new law in 1904 named the opium directive which made it compulsory that merchants were only allowed to sell to opium houses at fixed amounts and prices.

The Balinese population rioted because they had always been able to purchase opium on the open market. In the sultanate of Klungkung at a place named Gelgel, the population attacked the opium houses and murdered the civil servants who were appointed by the Dutch government. The army intervened and killed more than a hundred Balinese. The sovereign of Gelgel who had supported the uprising fled to the palaceof Klungkung. General van Heutz ordered a battalion from Surabayato attack Klungkung. The attack on the palace started on the 28th of April 1908. The sovereigns and their supporters committed suicide according to the puputan ritual.

The hierarchy of the federal Muslim sultanate of Atjeh.

The population of Atjeh lived in religious villages. They were mosque municipalities or Mukims. A number of Mukims were located within the boundaries of sovereignty. Each sovereignty was named after the number of Mukims that were located within its boundaries. A sovereignty with five Mukims within its boundaries was known as ´Five Mukims´. The sovereign was a ´ Uleebalang´, a traditional chieftain and of nobility. He was addressed as ´Teuku´. His advisor was the religious leader, the ´Ulema´. He was addressed as ´Teunku´.

Atjeh was a federal state sub divided in Sagies. Each Sagi consisted of a number of sovereignties within its boundaries. A Sagi was named after the number of sovereignties within its boundaries. Sagi 26 consisted of 26 sovereignties. Each Sagi was led by the ´Panglima´, which was the title of the most important commander. The Panglimas were also advised by Ulamas. The total of the Sagies formed the Atjeh federation under the sultan of Dalam, but they kept their own authority and military structure.

The first newspaper in theDutch East Indies.

In 1615 Jan Pietersz. Coen ordered that a newspaper had to be published In theDutch East Indies, based on the ´Courante nouvelles´ of The Netherlands. This was a hand written newspaper with news bulletins. The name was changed to ´Memorie der Nouvelles´ in 1644.The prototype and also the oldest print was issued, on the orders of the government inBatavia, in 1688.

It took more than a half century before a real newspaper appeared. The ´Batavische Nouvelles´ appeared on the 7th of August 1744. It was the first newspaper that had received a license. The main source of income was from advertising sales. The board of the V.O.C. prohibited the newspaper from appearing, because they saw it as a threat to the monopoly position of the V.O.C.

It was only in 1776 that a successor appeared. It was called the ´Vendunieuws´, which also had been issued with a license. The government purchased the City printing press in 1809 and could hereby control the reports. The articles of the Regulations were printed in detail on the governmental printing press. The newspaper immediately went bankrupt because of the high costs involved.

In the same year Daendels founded the ´Bataviasche Koloniale Courant´, which was re-named as the ´Java Government Gazette´ during the British occupation. The newspaper disappeared with the return of the Dutch government in 1814.

The ´Puputan´. The ritual suicide onBali.

The fifth expeditionary force was in position before the gates of Denpasar. Warships bombarded the capital of the sovereignty of Badung. The princes, who were present, realized that surrender would mean imprisonment and banishment. They chose for the Puputan, the honorary suicide in combat with the enemy.

The sovereign, the princes, the priests and their followers dressed themselves in gold embroidered clothes and wore brilliant jewels. They waved with a golden Keris of which the with precious stones adorned belts hung around their bodies. A pure white cloak was worn over the ritual clothing. With the sovereign up front they stormed with their lances pointed forwards and their Keris raised high at the soldiers. The rifle fire of the soldiers mowed down most of them. The wounded stabbed the other wounded in their heart before killing themselves. More than two thousand Balinese were killed this day. The sovereign of Tambanan was taken prisoner a few days later and banished toLombok. He also committed suicide. Hereafter Klungkung and Bangli recognized the Dutch government.

The daily life inBataviain the seventeenth century.

The Europeans lived within the ramparts of theCastleofBataviaduring the early occupation of the V.O.C. On the whole, life was monotonous. The men left the suffocating bedroom at dawn to take a cold bath. There were some persons who found that taking a bath two or three times a week was sufficient to wash away the perspiration from their bodies. Thereafter, thee was taken to clean the kidneys and then followed breakfast. After breakfast, one chewed on a sirih plum to freshen the mouth.

The men went quietly to work, while the ladies gave instructions to the slaves for the work to be done in the household. Then they visited neighbours or friends. The children were left in the care of the baboes (native nannies). The noon gong rang around noon for the midday meal, after which one took a nap.

Around four o’clock one promenaded on the streets in what was called the ´slipper parade´ to see or be seen. A preacher read out the prayer aloud at exactly seven o’clock, followed by the singing of psalms accompanied by an organ. Hereafter the evening meal was eaten, and one drank a ´zoopie´ (a nightcap) before going to sleep. There were no beds. One slept on mattresses.

Around ten o’clock it became quiet again in the city, except for the ´boozers´ who continued to drink.

Serious communist revolts.

Tan Malakka, Semaun, Darsono and Alimin Prawirodirdjo belonged to the banished leaders of the Partai Komunis Indonesia (P.K.I.) who were banished for their leading role in the strike actions of 1922, 1923 and 1925. In1926, the P.K.I. leaders thought the time had come for a general revolt against the Dutch authorities. Moscowhad send instructions to start the general revolt, but rescinded these orders shortly thereafter. The P.K.I. leader Muso kept the last instruction from Moscowfor himself. On the 12th of November 1926 open revolts broke out on west Java in Banten,Batavia andBandung. Open revolts broke out in west Sumatra inPadang in the beginning of 1927. The revolts were suppressed with great difficulty, and the Indonesian society was in turmoil. Around 13000 rebels were arrested, of which 4500 were convicted to house arrest and 1300 were convicted and banished to internment camps inUpper Digul on Dutch New Guinea. None of them were allowed to leave the country.

The communist organisation crumbled after the arrest of the P.K.I. leaders. All communist organisations were prohibited in 1927. The remainder went underground. It was only in 1945 that the P.K.I. was founded again.

Pomp and pompadour.

The decent married women of the V.O.C. employees dressed themselves in splendid clothing, jewellery and had beautiful household furniture and household items and carriages. The household items had to be, if possible, of silver. The women dressed themselves in silk and satin clothing, and in spite of the heat even velvet. All of this was beset with expensive lace. They wore golden hair bands and arm bands and rings beset with diamonds glistered on their fingers.

The men were also unable to resist the desire of richness. Men in high positions wore black velvet costumes beset with lace and adorned with golden buttons. An expensive sword with a golden handle was worn around their hips or they carried a Rotan stick adorned with a golden knob in their hands.

The consequences of the abundance of richness were that everyone had to show more pomp than the next person. The V.O.C. management took stern measures in order to curtail this excess. Strict regulations were issued on what type of jewellery, pearls and golden adornment one was allowed to wear. This depended upon the position of the husband. The rules also stated, depending again upon the position of the husband, how many slaves were allowed to walk behind the family, what type of carriage of carrying chair was allowed, and the greeting procedure of the carriage driver.

Tawan karang justice onBali.

The V.O.C. showed little interest forBali. There were no profitable products for trading on the island and it was inaccessible for large ships because of the many coral reefs that surrounded the island. Ships stranded regularly on the dangerous coast of the island. The coastal inhabitants immediately plundered the stranded ships. The Tawan karang justice gave the coastal inhabitants the right to plunder stranded ships and the sovereigns turned a blind eye.

The government of the Dutch East Indies did not accept this and attempted to come to an agreement with all the sovereigns to, against compensation of incurred costs, protect the stranded ships, the crew and the load against the plundering of the coastal inhabitants. Some sovereigns agreed reluctantly. In their opinion, they had no say about the plundering coastal inhabitants.

Two ships were plundered on the north coast ofBaliin 1844. The government reminded the sovereigns of the northern sovereignties a year later of the signed agreement. The sovereigns answered that it was not in their jurisdiction and that they did not recognize the Dutch authority. Both sovereignties now prepared for a war.


The fortificationRotterdamonMakassarwas originally a Portuguese fortress and was called the five arms after the five bastions which strengthened the fortress. The fortress is the best preserved fortress of the V.O.C. period.

Governor general Cornelis Speelman (1681-1684) conquered the fortress and named after his birthplace,Rotterdam. For a long time Fort Rotterdam was the strongest fortress in the archipelago, including the castle of Batavia and the Castle of Victoria on the island of Ambon. This was not accidental. In the early days,Makassarwas the key to the Orient, and the inhabitants were known as the ´fighting men of the Orient, because they were brave and bold.

The buildings fro the 17th and 18th century which were built in the Old Dutch style were located around a large central square. They had typical top facades with sloping roofs, small windows and large wide doors. These were the church, the surgeon’s house, the buildings of the civil servants and the town hall. The town hall had a balcony from which the harsh judges of the judicial court were able to observe the carrying out of the sentence of the condemned persons. The condemned were lashed with a whip or they were struck twenty-five times with a Rotan stick and they were branded with red hot tongs which were also used for other forms of punishment. All the punishments were meant to be preventive or repressive. The obedient citizens had to observe of what was in store for them if they committed an offensive act. The death penalty was carried out outside the fort, watched by the assembled townspeople who gathered around the gallows.

The Dutch East Indies Railway Company (NIS).

The first railroad in the Dutch East Indies was opened in 1867 by theNIS. The railway ran from Djokjakarta toSurakartain central Java. The tracks were constructed with the European standard width of1.435 metres. This was named wide track, because during the construction of the railroad a proposal was accepted to limit the standard track width for theDutch East Indiesat1.067 metres. This would reduce construction costs when going through mountainous regions.

TheNIShad great financial difficulties during its first ten years of existence. A threatening bankruptcy was staved off twice by advance payments of the government and private investors. TheNISwas able to recover slowly and became a profitable company.

In the mean time, the wide track railroad Djokjakarta-Solo was extended to the port city ofSemarang. The railroad was completed in 1873. At the same time the railroad Buitenzorg toBataviawas completed with the standard track width. More new tracks were constructed or existing lines extended. TheNISrailway network consisted of a total length of nine hundred kilometres.

Cinnamon and the V.O.C.

The V.O.C. traded, besides their spices, also in cinnamon. But cinnamon grew only on theislandofCeylon(the presentSri Lanka). AndCeylonwas a Portuguese possession. Cinnamon also grew in different regions of the frontal side of The Dutch East Indies, but this was of inferior quality. The Portuguese called it ´canella de mata´, which means wild or forest cinnamon. The fine high quality pipe cinnamon grew exclusively onCeylon.

The coastal regions of the island, where the cinnamon grew, were conquered about the middle of 16th century from the emperor of Kandi. From that moment onwards, the Portuguese had and maintained their cinnamon trade monopoly. The V.O.C. had viewed the cinnamon trade onCeylon with eager eyes. It took nevertheless a long time before the V.O.C. used force (the motto of the V.O.C.) to get a hold of the cinnamon trade. The capitalColombo fell in1656 in the hands of the V.O.C. after having fought a heavy battle. The V.O.C. was able to maintain their monopoly of the cinnamon trade for 140 years. The British conqueredCeylon in 1795 and 1796.

The police force in theDutch East Indiesuntil the beginning of 1900.

Around the beginning of 1900 theDutch East Indieshad at their disposal the village (desa) police who not trained for police tasks, the governmental police, who consisted of police caretakers and the mantri police who were added to the interior government. There was no general feeling of security amongst the population due to the poorly organized police organization. The population depended on the village police, which in de facto meant the village chief. The village chiefs were not to be trusted and underdeveloped. Crime was most of the time not reported because one was afraid of repercussions. If a crime was reported by the higher authorities, this resulted in an unreliable and poor investigation so that it left the presiding judge with no other choice than to let the suspect go. The governmental police consisted of some police caretakers and some chief agents (mantri) who were attached locally to European and native governors.

There were 5000 policemen on the force on Java in 1907. They were underpaid and not trained for their tasks and served exclusively in the place they were stationed. Their superiors employed them mostly for household chores. It is an understatement to say that the police force in that time was poorly organized.

The governmental pawn shop service.

The governmental pawn shop service was founded in 1904, and had by law the monopoly for the issuing of loans up to one hundred guilders for collateral of household items. Pawnshop loans suited the Indonesian very well in the case of the urgent need of a small amount of money; it also suited the mental attitude of the Indonesian to invest a temporary surplus of money in gold coins, jewellery and other goods which could be used as collateral. Pawn shop loans were used for consumption and production. The financing of seasonal needs for example.

A loan was issued without a credibility investigation against part of the value of the collateral item and had, thanks to the possibility of re-loaning against the payment of a small interest sum, no fixed repayment schedule. Because of this, one did not end up in financial difficulties as by non-compliance of the repayment of the loan only the collateral item was lost.

Up until the beginning of the Second World War loans were issued by about 480 pawn shops. The loans were usually far lower than the legal maximum of one hundred guilders. Contrary to the original intention the governmental pawn shop service had become a commercial governmental institution. The profits ended up in the treasury.

The women ofBatavia.

Most colonists came from the lower layers of the Dutch society. It should be to no one’s surprise that conversation and entertainment existed only on a low level. High level cultural entertainment did not exist. The quotation of J.P. Coen, ´our nation must drink or die´ was the guideline. This found an audience by most of the colonists and the alcohol consumption of the boozers, who after their evening meal drank exotic forms of alcoholic beverages, was such that they could be called alcoholics. The colonists drank so much that many died in the prime of their lives. It was the same with love. Chastity was a property that was practically non-existent by women in the Dutch East Indiesin the 17th century. The European women who immigrated to the Dutch East Indies in the 17th and 18th century came also from the lower layers of society. Most of them had worked as a servant girl, a cleaning woman or had walked the streets with a fruit cart. Most of them came to theDutch East Indies to find their luck in a marriage, preferably with a company civil servant whose job was land bound. If they succeeded, they ´had it made´. If not there was only the scandalous, vulgar and uninhibited life, to end up in the end in gaol.

TheDutch East IndiesRadio Broadcasting Service (NIROM).

The government of the Dutch East Indiesissued a concession to the NIROM on the 31st of March 1933 to provide radio programs for the European as well as the native population. Radio broadcasting was almost non-existent before April 1934. The almost 5000 owners of wireless radios had poor reception because of atmospheric interference. Transmitters above the wavelengths of100 meter were mostly inaudible. Only short wave transmitters between 16 and60 meters could be used, and these were scarce or non-existent.

The NIROM began transmission of programs of the 1st of April 1934 with four transmitters that were located inBatavia,Bandung,Semarang andSurabaya. Seventeen other transmitters were positioned in the same year, increasing the number of transmitters to 17.

At the beginning of 1935 the whole of Java had good reception of the broadcasts. Eleven transmitters broadcasted programs of general interest and western orientated, and four transmitters broadcasted programs for the native population. By the end of 1939 there were 28 transmitters in the air. Some were clearly audible inEurope. The NIROM had around 100.000 listeners around 1940. The programs consisted of cultural and religious programs, stage plays, concerts and speeches by politicians. There was a great deal of interest for international football games. The most listened to program was the daily ´Anetapers´ news.

The V.O.C. and the sugar farmers.

A prosperous sugar cane industry had developed in the wide surroundings ofBataviaaround 1700. There were 116 registered sugar cane mills in the surrounding regions ofBatavia, according to the governor ofBatavia. In reality, the number of sugar cane mills was much higher. The V.O.C. strangulation contracts which demanded the sole right of the sugar cane purchase caused many of the mill owners not to register the existence of their mills.

If the V.O.C. obtained concrete evidence of the existence of an illegal sugar cane mill, the company proclaimed that those that had not registered their mills would be fined an amount which could be as high as five hundred guilders, and that the company reserved the right to destroy everything fixed or loose inside the mill. Since the company found that the sugar cane farmers were very prosperous, they were obliged to contribute a financial contribution for the renovation of V.O.C. houses. The V.O.C. had no ear for the opposition this created, and the contribution was inned at the exact time. In those days private owners had to pay and not to moan about it.

The HindukingdomofMajapahit.

The political and cultural history of Indonesiahas since the 13th century been described in the ´Book of Kings´, the ´ Paraton (1481)´.

Majapahit was founded in 1293 by price Wijaja. The might and respect of the nation increased considerably after the defeat of the Mongol army of Kublai Khan. Under King Hajam Wuruk (1331-1380), the nation developed itself into the most powerful kingdom in the history ofIndonesia. The powerful position of the kingdom is attributed to the role of the energetic administrator, the patih, Gadjah Mada. Majapahit controlled the area that comprised of what is nowMalaysiaandIndonesia. The power of the kingdom was exercised indirectly. The many tribes preserved their own political and social structure. Most of the representatives of the king were Hindu spiritual leaders. The king himself was seen as a divine incarnation. At the national level of government, the judicial jurisdiction, road construction and the preservation of peace were important. Through an intensive program of shipbuilding and agriculture became Majapahit one of the most important naval powers.

Indonesian historians consider this period as the Golden Age of Indonesia.

Life in the outer regional offices of the V.O.C.

Company employees did not work on Sunday, but the lower classes inBataviamost certainly had to work. If one did not know a ´high uncle´, it usually meant hard work in order to obtain promotion. Respect shown for superiors was more a sort of bootlicking and suck holing. To be favoured and remain favoured was the end of all wisdom.

If this was the case inBatavia, it was even more so in the outer regional offices. Here, the company was represented by the chairman of all directors, the Resident. The Resident had only one goal in his mind. It was to show off the well being and fame of the V.O.C. against other nations. Because of this, the Resident was in fact a little dictator towards his employees. If you questioned decisions from the Resident, you could leave immediately. The Resident was assisted by the bookkeeper, usually named the ´Second´. The employees had to walk a tightrope between the two if they had a conflict. Life at the outer regional offices was very boring. One had so much time to spare that one did not know how to fill this in. The only busy time was when a ship arrived or departed. The other working days one was occupied for a half an hour with writing documents for the company. The rest of the day was filled in with doing nothing, gossiping and eating, after which followed a long afternoon nap (siesta).Many men left, with or without their families, for the land of boundless opportunity after the change in Dutch political policies towards theDutch East Indies.

A change in the living conditions became apparent in the larger cities of theDutch East Indieswith the large influx of Dutch persons from The Netherlands. Suburbs with spacious park like areas were built, including schools and hospitals, near the cities with a high European population. The construction style and living surroundings were adapted to the local climatologic conditions. The houses consisted of one or two storeys. Almost all of the houses were provided with high, far protruding roofs, white plastered facades, deep lying windows, ventilation grills and often an open front and rear veranda. The additional houses were located behind the main house with a large rear garden on both sides.

A far stretching building was connected to the main house on one side of it, with the kitchen, a number of storage rooms for goods and supplies (gudang) with resting and sleeping quarters for the servants and a large open veranda. On the other side there was a pavilion of minimal two rooms for guests and a large garage. Most of the time, the large front garden was connected with the rear garden along the side of the main house. The houses were built far back from the streets which were protected by shadow providing trees.

The V.O.C. and deforestation.

130 sugar cane mills were in operation in the surroundings ofBataviain 1710. Thousands of persons were employed in this business branch.

A primitive method was used to squeeze the juice from the sugar cane by using water buffalos to keep the mill stones moving. Then the juice was steamed in large open pans. The steaming process needed large amounts of wood. The deforestation of the direct surroundings of the sugar cane mills was the consequence of this. In the 18th century more and more mud settled on the bottom of the canals ofBatavia. The mud came from areas stream upwards, where the deforestation had caused bottom erosion. Successive issued, for ecological reasons, against too much cutting down of trees, and orders for replanting. The export of lumber from the area surroundingBatavia was prohibited. The fine for non compliance was 1250 guilders.

Directives were issued repeatedly during the existence of the V.O.C. to cut down trees ´with good judgement´ so the sugar cane cultivation would not be endangered.

The execution of Pattimura.

The sultans ofTernateand Tidore aided the colonial army during the uprising on Saparua in 1817. The first attempt to suppress the uprising by using force failed. The much too small military force under command of major Beetjes was annihilated. A new expeditionary army was formed under command of Rear Admiral A.A. Buyskes. As usual, when composing the army, native auxiliary troops were used from the native sovereigns. In exchange for assistance from the colonial authorities they provided auxiliary forces, guides, ships and rowers. The campaigns of the colonial army could not have been carried out without the aid of the native sovereigns. The expeditionary force of Buyskes consisted of five warships, 300 European soldiers and 1500 auxiliary troops form the sultanate ofTernate. The battles against the rebels lasted for three weeks. The fighting was ruthless. No quarter was given from both sides and villages were burned down to the ground. Looting and arson were the most important rewards for the auxiliary troops from the sultanate ofTernate. Eventually, the leaders of the bloody uprising were executed. Matulessy, later better known as Pattimura was hanged. His last words were: ´Slamat tinggal, tuan-tuan´ (Have nice stay gentlemen).

A soldier’s life.

The Dutch authority was established all over the archipelago after the last military expedition onBaliin 1908. The longing for adventure for the eighteen year old boys who had signed on in Harderwijk disappeared rapidly because of the quiet and boring garrison life in the barracks. Much spare time was left after carrying out their assigned military tasks. As is usual with all young soldiers in the western hemisphere, this abundance of spare time was used to gather in the canteens outside the barracks. The riflemen drank a nip (paitje), or in the terminology of that time a ´fathead´ on congenial tables. The consumption of too much alcohol very often caused fighting amongst the soldiers. They were immediately arrested by the military provost.

The most notorious form of punishment was ´the class´, the second highest form of military punishment that lasted four months. A white 2 was stitched on their wedgy to indicate shame. The punished soldiers had heavy fatigue duties and were confined to prison for the first month. They were confined to barracks for the next two months and were allowed to move freely again in the fourth month.

If a soldier was arrested again for the same infringement of discipline, the previous conviction was revoked and another four months was added onto his contract, which he had to serve irrevocably.


Pepper was available in a much larger area than the clove and nutmeg trees. The pepper climbing shrub grows only in areas of more than500 metresabove sea level and between twenty degrees latitude north and twenty degrees latitude south. Steady rainfall, good humidity and good porous soil were available in this region.

The pepper stalks begin, after planting, to bear fruit after 2 to 6 years. The pant can, if trimmed regularly, bear fruits over a period of twenty years, and can be harvested twice a year. After picking, the berries are dried, and the result is black pepper. To produce white pepper, the ripened berries are washed after which they are soaked in water for a long period of time until the outer layer of the berries rot away.

A compelling pepper culture existed in the hilly areas of Bantam. This slowly transferred itself to south Sumatra(the Lampongs), and by the end of the 18th the cultivation of pepper on Java was all but finished. The Chinese produced white pepper on theisland ofBanka.

More than 55.000 tons of pepper was exported in 1940 with a market value of seven million guilders.


Sisal and cantala, two Agava plants, are very similar. Both were cultivated in theDutch East Indies. The plant consists of a short stem with fleshy leaves which grow on all sides of the stem with a sharp point at the end of the leaves. The nerves and fibres run parallel throughout the leaves which reach a length of one and a half metres. The fibres increase with age.

After the crops have grown for two years, the bottom leaves are cut off every six to twelve months. The fibre bundles were mechanically separated from the remainder of the leaves in well equipped factories.

The fibre of the Sisal was longer and stronger than the fibre of the cantala, whose fibres were thinner and more flexible. The larger companies planted mainly sisal because of the higher proceeds. The cantala was planted on less favourable soil because the plant could grow in this type of soil. The fibres of both plants were used for the production of ropes, cables, mats and as a replacement for hessian.

The percentage which was exported consisted of 17 % of the total world production.


Kapok can be seen as a culture of the native population. The high kapok trees grew in the farmyards of the villages and along the roads. Especially on the north coast of central and east Java. The fruits matured during the dry season, known as the east monsoon. Before the fruits burst open, they were harvested by using long bamboo sticks and transported to the factory.

The elongated fruits were opened manually and the fluffy contents were removed within the fruit, which is able to reach a length of about thirty centimetres, an abundance of pea like seeds were embedded in knobs of fruit fluff. The fluff consists of in the side of the fruit formed long and hollow fibres. The raw kapok consisting of the fluff with the seeds are dried in the sun and turned over and mixed frequently with forks so the seed pits are separated from the fluff. The pits are then removed by an unpitting mill in the factory.

The fibres are light, flexible and heat insulating. The properties of kapok make it suitable as a filling for mattresses and cushions. It was also used as a sound muffling material in for instance airplanes.

Fibres from the kapok products with the brand ´Javakapok´, the kapok pits, kapok pit oil and kapok pit pressed cookies were exported to The Netherlands,AustraliaandNorth America.

The use of nutmeg.

Nutmeg and mace are ingredients for a great number of products. Both ingredients are used in the western hemisphere in products such as cookies, pastry, sauces and meat to obtain the correct flavour.

Nutmeg is used in alcoholic beverages such as advocate and hot toddies. In Chaucer’s ´Canterbury Tales´, nutmeg is recommended to be added to beer.

Nutmeg oil extract is essential for the aroma in food, soft drinks, liquors and perfumes. It possibly also forms part of the secret recipe of Coca Cola. The unpleasant active component in spraying cans is hidden by the addition of nutmeg. Nutmeg is used in medicines such as Vicks Vaporub.

Nutmeg butter is processed in soap and shampoo. A smear of nutmeg butter is used as an anti allergy remedy and relieve rheumatic pain.

Mace is used to bring ketchup up to the correct flavour. Mace oil forms part of the complex chemistry of the perfume industry. Crushed nutmeg is recommended in the Asiatic native medicinal art as to be consumed by over indulgence of food, farting, acid indigestion and to administer to women after childbirth. It is also used as a remedy against blood diarrhoea, hip jaundice, malaria, leprosy and rheumatism in an early stadium.


Tin is mostly found in certain rocks. After heating the rocks in a refinery process, the tin is extracted as white shiny metal. Tin is very pliable and can by normal temperatures be press rolled to very thin sheets such as tinfoil or silver paper.

Tin became an important merchandise article in the 18th century because of these properties, because of the enormous export possibilities toChina. The V.O.C. ordered tea from the Chinese and paid with tin, which needed much tinfoil. The Chinese used tinfoil at their religious ceremonies as a symbolic replacement for the offers of silver gold.

Most of the tin came from the islands of Bangka, Billiton and Singkep, located on the east coast ofSumatra. The in 1924 founded joint venture mining company ofBillitonabsorbed the three separate companies. In fact, it was a new corporation consisting of the three previous companies and the government. Not only on land, but also at sea large dredging machines were used to win tin rock.


South American Indian tribes used the bark of the quinine tree as a medicine. The Spaniards introduced it inEurope, but it was unknown from which tree the bark came from. It was only in 1846 that the botanist Weddell discovered a quinine bark type that was considered the best that existed. In later years many researchers collected quinine plant material inSouth America.

The government’s quinine company selected from all the existing plants the Ledgeriana and the Succiruba sort. Both sorts were cultivated by large business ventures in the mountain region. The quinine tree had to be cut down in order to remove the bark. There was no other method. A number of trees were cut down every year. Plant reforestation took place at one meter twenty from each other.

The bark was sliced from the trunk and dried in the sun or in ovens. Seventy percent of the quinine bark was exported.

In 1936, theDutch East Indiescontrolled ninety percent of the world trade in quinine bark. The remainder of the bark was processed in the quinine factory inBandung.

Preparation and use of a Ladang.

Searching for a suitable terrain to lay out a Ladang was done very carefully. The parcel of trees is first investigated for the absence of harmful insects for the rice cultivation. Then offers to the gods are laid down at the foot of a large tree. The doekoen (wonder doctor) of the farmer speaks out his prayers or murmurs his blessings. The real work begins when the tree is cut down. Small wood remains and weeds are chopped off. Thereafter, the heavy trees are cut down at a height of three to four metres.

After a drying period of a month of longer, the felled trees and the remaining wood is set on fire. After the fire has extinguished itself, the half burned tree trunks and branches are again set on fire. Only the half burned heavy tree trunks remain lying on the ground. A fence is finally erected to protect the area from wild boars. No more preparations are made of the humus rich soil after the parcel of wood has been cut down. Now the planting of the rice seeds in the padi at short distances from each other (to prevent wild grow of weeds) can begin. About twenty or thirty centimetres from each other holes are made in the soil using a pointed stick. Rice seeds are deposited in every hole. The ladang rice needs almost no maintenance. The rice can be harvested after five or six months. The addition of abundant water is in the beginning very important to prevent the seed from breaking open.

Cassava (ketela pohong).

Cassava was unknown in theDutch East Indiesaround 1900. The turnip crop was cultivated in a fast growing speed during the First World War, when there was a scarcity of rice. The root of the cassava is now an important foodstuff in the diet of the Indonesian population. Cassava stalks are planted with the sprout facing upwards. This prevents the collection of prussic acid in the edible turnip roots during the growing period. The cassava is very easy to cultivate on all sorts of soil, except for clay. The growing period of the turnips vary. The early mature variety of the cassava turnips is harvested by the population after bout six to nine months and the late mature variety after ten to twelve months. The cassava turnip is piqued, cooked, steamed or fried in oil consumption. Different types of cassava turnip snacks are available in the warongs (little shops). A dry slice of flattened cake named Opak. With ´ragi´ yeasted pieces, cut and boiled Sundanese peujum which is called tape on Java and Javanese getuk sliced cake.

The turnips are peeled, cut in pieces and dried, to gaplek for livestock fodder or grinded to unfiltered gaplek flour for export purposes.

Tapioca flour is produced in factories where the cassava flour is filtered and purified to remove harmful substances, including the existing minimum of prussic acid from the turnip root.

Clove (Tjengkeh).

Initially, clove trees could only be found on the Moluccan islands. It was only during the last decennia that the French were able to transport the seeds and plants toMauritius. Form there they were dispersed toMadagascar,Zanzibarand theCaribbean. The clove tree has special demands for the soil and the climate. This limited the dispersal of the clove trees.

The cultivation and care of the clove trees calls for little energy and time, but they need long lasting attention. There is a long period between the planting of the tree and the tree becoming in bloom. A clove tree will bloom for the first time only after ten to twelve years, and can reached an age of between fifty and sixty years.

The trees blossom between October and January. The blossom clusters are then picked by climbing in the tree or by bringing down the branches with a long bamboo stick with a hook attached on the end. The picking of the blossoms requires intensive labour. There are only a few days available to pick the knobs after they begin to blossom or the aroma will decrease fast. Because of the vulnerability of the knobs, the picking of the blossom has to be done carefully.


The best location for a cinnamon tree to grow is in a mountainous region at a height of about1000 metres. The tree grows without problems and is used now and then for reforestation and planted along side roads. The populations of the mountainous regions plant the trees on farmyards or in small gardens. The tree can also grow in lower lying regions, but the bark will be thinner.

The trees are planted at a distance of about two metres from each other in the cinnamon gardens, so there is dense planting. The bark can be harvested seven or eight years after the trees are planted.

The layer of cork is scraped off the tree first. Then grooves are cut in rings from the top to the bottom of the trunk. The distance between the circular grooves is about ten centimetres, depending upon the thickness of the trunk.

The bark can be peeled off without any problems in between the grooves. The tree is then cut down at about five centimetres of the root neck. Bark is also peeled off from the larger branches, although the bark is thinner and contains fewer aromas. During the drying process and after removal of the outer layer the small strips of cinnamon roll themselves up into what is called pipe cinnamon. Cinnamon oil is distilled from the waste of the bark.

The Deli tobacco industry.

The small sultanate of Deli, located on the east coast ofSumatra, subjugated itself to the Dutch authorities. As a reward, the sultan obtained a direct business relationship withBatavia.

Some time later, J. Nienhuys, and entrepreneurial tobacco planter from Java reported to sultan Mahmud and obtained a concession with very favourable conditions. For a pikol (a measurement) of sixty kilos of exported tobacco, Nienhuys paid fifty cents. The proceeds of Java tobacco at the Dutch auction houses was one guilder per kilo.

The first fifty bales of Deli tobacco arrived on the Dutch market in 1864. The quality was splendid and especially the Deli cover leaf which was used by the cigar manufacturers was brilliant. At that time the Deli tobacco industry consisted of an area seventy kilometres long and sixty kilometres wide. Deli tobacco was auctioned off in 1865 at one guilder and forty nine cents per pound. This was the highest auction price in the 19th century. Deli tobacco was a sensation for the manufacturer and the user alike. The Deli Company was founded in theDutch East Indies in 1870. This was the first limited liability company of which the board of directors resided inAmsterdam instead of in theDutch East Indies. A dividend of 200% was paid out in the first year. In the third year this had increased to 1300%.

Java teak.

Teak is a wood species from the Tectona Grandis tree which grows inBurma,Thailand,Laos,Vietnam andIndonesia. The Tectona Grandis was later planted on other continents. The species is known for that it has better properties in itself than all other wood species. The colour of the wood is light to dark brown and is beautifully decorated. The grain is somewhat rough, not too hard and not too heavy. The wood is strong and almost shrinks free. It is exceptional durable and reasonably resistant against termites and chemicals.

Although easily to work with, it has the tendency to dull tools rapidly. Teak was used in the past in shipbuilding for the decks and in housing construction. Teak has become an expensive wood species due to the decrease in supply and is used only in selective applications, such as deck veneer. There is a difference betweenBurmateak,Siamteak and Java teak. The difference in quality between these three sorts is minimal. Teak is known inIndonesiaas kaju djati.

The name teak is very often used for other wood species to suggest the good properties of the wood. Names such as African teak, Rhodesian teak and Yang teak are incorrect. All teak is wood, but not all wood is teak!

Citronella oil (Sereh oil).

The sereh leave is used in the kitchen to provide many dishes with a pleasant aroma. The sereh leaves and similar grass sorts provide etherical oils which are applied as spices, medicine and as a rubbing remedy for muscular pains.

Sereh grass, citronella grass and lemon grass are closely related to each other. The leaves of these grass sorts provide delicious aromatic oil. The roots of a fourth related grass sort, vertiver grass or akar wangi (aromatic root) also provides oil.

The method of growing these grass sorts is identical. The leaves from the closely pressed pollen stick about one meter above the ground. The grass is cultivated by businesses and in the private gardens of the population.

Cultivation takes place by tearing off root bearing stems from old plants and to bury them in a hole in the ground. The closely knit growing lots form pollen from which the leaves slowly shoot above the ground. In the past small factories and in private homes etherical oil was extracted. Later on, large companies bought out these small enterprises and produced the sereh-, citronella- and lemon oil. The citronella oil was especially a much sought after export product.

The roots
of the akar wangi (aromatic) grass provided the well known akar wangi oil. This oil was very popular with the European ladies in theDutch East Indies. The roots were also placed in the linen wardrobe because of its pleasant aroma.


The cacao tree has a strange way of growing. A tree of around 2 to5 metresgrows from a seed planted in the ground. A deceptive garland forms at the top consisting mostly of five leaning main branches. Secondary branches sprout from the main branches. No further branches grow on the tree trunk, but vertical water lots who repeat the process. This creates different levels of main branches above each other.

The trees provide their first cacao fruits in the third or fourth year. The trees provide their maximum proceeds after seven to fifteen years. The cacao fruit has an oval form and is fifteen to twenty centimetres long. The contents of the seeds consisted of twenty five to fifty small seeds in five overlapping rows. The ripened seeds a chopped off with a machete cut open and deposited in covered heaps. It is now that the fermentation process begins by which the beans through yeasting and the forming of bacteria obtain their characteristic taste and aroma substance of cacao.

The beans are dried here after in the sun. The next process supplies cacao paste, cacao butter and cacao butter. These are necessary ingredients for the processing in the chocolate-, cosmetic-, and pharmaceutical industry. Java cacao was of excellent quality.

Rice cultivation rituals.

The farmer tills his land (sawah) by hand or a plough pulled by a set of oxen. The soil is inundated and tilled further until the desired consistency of mud has been reached. The seeds are laid out in nursery beds and when the plants are four to six weeks old, they are replanted in the inundated soil. The soil is laid dry when the harvest time has arrived. The rice is harvested most of the time according to the traditional method with a hand held knife, the ani-ani. Each helm top is cut individually, dried and drosted.

Offers are made to the gods, the spirits and the demons during the rice cultivation cycle in order to favour the farmer positively. The ancestral spirits receive special attention.

On Java andBali, the rice is embodied by the goddess Dewi Sri. If the rice blooms, then Dewi Sri is pregnant. Sour tasting fruits, sugar, bananas and eggs are laid out on an altar in the field. This is the food most pregnant woman desire.

Rice in the archipelago has just like humans, animals and other plants a soul. Many rituals are used to contain the soul in the grains. If for any reason the soul leaves the rice, then the rice will wither and die.


Coffee came originally from the region south of the Red Sea, mainly fromYemen. TheportofYemen, Mocca, developed itself into the largest port at that time. The coffee taste and aroma depended upon the height where the cultivation took place and the coffee product was either called Arabica or Robusta on the coffee markets of the world. Around 1660, the V.O.C. had a trading office in Mocca and was involved in a fierce competitive battle with the East Indies Companies ofEnglandandFrance.

The demand for coffee in Europekept growing. Dutch merchants managed to take some coffee plants from Yemenat the end of the 17th century. Successful experiments were carried out with the coffee plants in the Preanger, the mountainous region on west Java. The coffee industry started up a few years later. Many farmers received a high price for their coffee produce.

The farmers were, according to the usual V.O.C. concept, ordered to supply the coffee to the V.O.C. via their native chiefs.

Java coffee was well liked in The Netherlands and even outstripped the demand of Mocca coffee. The V.O.C. trading office in Mocca was closed around 1740 because of the growing production of Java coffee.

The development of the rubber industry.

Brazilwas the only country that exported rubber in the entire world until the Brit Wickham brought precisely selected seeds of the Brazilian rubber tree (Hevea brasiliensis) back theU.K.The British recognized that rubber could become a new profitable industry. They laid out Hevea plantations in Malacca andCeylon.

In the Dutch East Indies, the first rubber plantations were set up in 1903 onSumatraand in 1906 on Java.

The automotive industry developed itself in the beginning of 1900. This caused an increase in the demand for the manufacturing of rubber tires. After 1910, the rubber industry became of great importance to theDutch East Indies, not only for the rubber industry itself but also for the local population. The demand for rubber exceeded the production. New rubber plantations were established in theDutch East Indiesat fast pace.75.000 hectaresoil was planted with Hevea in 1910. The area of the plantations in 1940 was600.000 hectares. There were 600 rubber businesses on Java and 600 businesses in the outer regions, mainly onSumatra. The local population also laid out small plantations.

Many Indonesians from Borneo and northSumatrahad been employed as koelies (farm hand) on the rubber plantations in Malacca. They brought the seeds with them and laid out small rubber plantations. The Indonesians started to cultivate rubber trees after 1910, because of the rise of the price of rubber. The plantations were on the average one hectare in size.

The rubber plants were planted mostly on discarded ladangs (soil for dry rice cultivation). The trees did not have to be taken care of and were left alone for a few years. The tapping of the sap and the preparation of rubber happened in various primitive ways.

Usually slanting grooves were cut into the tree trunk. A tap beaker or can was hung at the end of a groove, which was emptied daily. The collected latex was usually kept in petroleum or gasoline cans which were cut in half. The latex was mixed with alune. By using flat bottomed sticks or by stamping the substance it was made into cakes which were laid out to dry in the sun. The cakes, which still contained a large amount of water, went via a buyer to a processing factory. There were about 800.000 small rubber plantations on Sumatra andBorneo. The production of these small plantations was good enough for 45% of the total export. With 38% of the total world production was rubber the most important export product of theDutch East Indies.

Arachide (peanut).

The Katjang Tanah or peanut is a plant whose fruit bearing beans grow underneath the soil. The beans are processed into the well known arachide oil. The peanut has a particular and remarkable manner of fruit forming. The flowers grow on one or two small stalks in the armpit of the bottom leaves. The plant grows after the fruit emerges and the stem reaches a new stalk appears with a length of about twenty centimetres with the new fruit on the end of the stalk. The new stem drills itself into the wielded soil. At a depth of about five centimetres, the fruit develops into the well known ´Katjang´ or peanut pea with two or three seeds inside of it, the peanuts.

The native population planted the Katjang Tanah (peanut) after the rice harvest mostly as a second crop on the ladang or the sawah. In order to cultivate the plant, the soil has to be wielded so the plant and the roots can penetrate easily. Much water is needed during the growing period of the plant, but dry soil is essential during the maturing process. It is definitely a crop for low lying areas. After harvesting, the remains of the plants are used as manure.

The nuts are processed to oil. This happens in the modern factories and in the small oil producing farms of the tani (farmer). Arachide oil is a tasteful salad oil that is used in the manufacturing of margarine and soap. The peanut itself is used as an ingredient for dishes or for filling for sandwiches.

Palm tree oil.

The palm tree oil industry had extensively developed on the east coast ofSumatraand Atjeh. A number of smaller businesses existed on south Sumatra, Celebes (Sulawesi) and Java.

The Cocos- and Sawit palm tree needs a tropical temperature for the production of good and suitable palm nuts as a raw material for the palm tree oil. Therefore, the palm tree businesses were never located at an altitude above500 metersabove sea level. Not too much rainfall and a short dry period were necessary. The Cocos- and Sawit palm trees did not demand much of the soil in which they grew. However, the processing of the palm tree oil fruit preferably needed to take place locally. The quality of the basis for processing the palm tree nuts to oil, a low fat acidity content, deteriorated very rapidly. Lengthy transportation of the palm tree oil was not feasible.

Therefore, under western management, the palm tree oil industry existed of a minimum area of fifteen hectares with the processing factory on location.

Because of the limited domestic consumption (Cocos or sawpit palm tree oil was used mainly for the frying and baking of food) almost all of the palm tree oil was exported. Around 1940 the export of palm tree oil was 50% of the total world export.

Opium (Tjandu).

A sap which rapidly coagulates seeps out of the poppy of the papaver plant by cutting grooves in the poppies. The sticky substance is dried and is called raw opium.

The dried raw opium is cut into pieces of about half a kilo and rolled into a ball or flattened into a pancake form and sold.

Before the opium ball or pancake can be consumed it has to be dissolved in water, purified from fibres and other contaminating substances, and then dried again into a paste. Opium is better known as a medicinal remedy or a pleasant narcotic under the name morphine.

Opium, however obtained a reputation as a popular pleasurable narcotic. Inhaling of opium brings the user into an intoxicated pleasurable or depressive state. The V.O.C. purchased opium mainly in Bengal inIndia. The opium was intended for the Javanese and Chinese who found it a pleasurable narcotic.

Around 1760Bengalwas conquered by the British and it became more difficult for the V.O.C. to purchase opium. Large scale smuggling of opium took place because of the high price for small amounts. At present, the production of opium takes place in south westernAsia.

Javanese cattle.

The Zebu or hump neck oxen were imported from Bengal inIndiato Java as tame cattle a long time ago. The Zebu belongs to the ruminating hollow horned cattle species. The animals distinguish themselves through the fat containing hump on their neck and their loosely pleated hide on their breast and throat. They exist in tropical and sub tropical regions because of their resistance to the high temperatures. They also exist in some areas ofIndia,Australiaand central andSouth America. In the past some of them lived in the wild, but presently they are all tame.

Javanese andSumatracattle are the result of the cross breeding of the Zebu with a tame descendant of the Sapi Banteng. The Sapi Banteng, who was related to the Zebu, lived in the wild on east Java in the nature reservation´ Alas Purwo´. The Sapi Banteng also lived in Borneo, Malaya andIndia. The Sapi Banteng is the ancestor of Madurese and Balinese cattle. The animal has a total height of one metre and fifty centimetres, is coloured reddish brown with some white spots. Both the cows and the bulls have horns. The Sapi (Japanese for beef) was mainly used as a draught animal. Two Sapies pull the plough of the farmer in the sawah. They are used in teams of two or four on the roads to pull covered wagons (grobaks) loaded with farm products such as cane sugar, turnip crops, etc.

The Ubi (a sweet turnip sort).

The Ubi is a creeping plant from the tropical part of theAmericas. The root carrying turnips are rich with starch and have a sweet after taste. The plant is better known inNorth Americaas ´the sweet potato´. The Ubi becomes important inIndonesiawhen the supply of rice is depleted. This usually happens during the last four months before planting time. During the same time the turnips ripen from the planted Ubi stalks.

The farmer cultivates the Ubi during the dry monsoon, which begins between July and August, on the dry sawah´s after the harvest of the rice. The loose rice plant remains are gathered, after the harvest, in wide rows of approximately fifty centimetres. The soil between the rows is loosened with a patjoel and distributed over the hay. This results in heightened plant soil levels. The stalks are stuck at least twenty centimetres deep in the loosened soil. The plant is mature after three to five months and the turnips are full grown. The leaves then start to fade to a reddish colour and die off. By bruising the stalks and the leaves some days before harvesting, the turnip receives an extra stimulus to grow. This is the distinguishing mark for the harvest time.

There are many Ubi variations. Round turnips with a white jacket (boled lampeneng), elongated turnips with a wine red jacket (boled lampekung) and some other varieties. One can keep the edible turnips only one to two weeks. After that the turnips start to sprout and rot.

The Soya bean.

The Katjang kedelai was imported fromManchuriaa long time ago to serve as an important food component for the population. The Soya industry really started to develop after 1920, so that the harvests could satisfy the needs of the population of the archipelago.

The cultivation of the Katjang kedelai (kedelai beans) takes mostly place as replacement crop on the sawah´s after the rice harvest and sometimes on fallow soil (tegalans). The soil has to remain wet during the sowing of the kedelai peas. The kedelai plant takes on the average three months to grow before the peas are ripe.

The kedekai plant is usually cultivated in combination with other crops, such as the Cassava, the Katjang Idjo (a green pea that is also used for the manufacturing of Tauge), corn or aubergines (terong). The plants are extracted by hand from the soil and tied up in bundles. After that they are dried in the sun and the beans are separated from the stalks by beating the stalks with a stick. Black kedelai are beans with a dark brown fleece and fruit flesh, while the white kedelai beans have an ivory colour and fruit flesh. The white beans are cooked and after certain additives pressed into elongated types of pan cakes. After the pan cakes are cooled, they are stored in a dark storage room and kept at a constant temperature. The final product is called Tempeh. Using other additives, the residue of the with water mixed grinded white kedelai beans is Tahoe/Taufu manufactured.

Initially ketjap was produced in the countryside villages (desas). Later the production of Soya sauce (ketjap) took place in factories. The Soya sauce production was generally in the hands of the Chinese. The product was a mixture of cooked and grinded white kedelai beans with a red milk (klapper) or arens sugar and salt added.

By using additives, Taotjo is made from the black kedelai pea. It is used a lot as an ingredient in food or as a flavour additive in the Indonesian and the Chinese kitchen.

The kedelai pea contains many vitamins, minerals, starch and proteins and is used by vegetarians are replacement for meat. The properties of the kedelai pea also contribute to the lowering of cholesterol level.

Medicinal herbs.

Many medicinal herbs are in existence inIndonesiawhich are used for many illnesses and complaints. It is normal that a tukang Jamu´s (a female herbalist) calls on houses to sell her self-made herbal concoction. There is a great demand for herbal medicines under the population. Some herbal medicines are used to combat existing illnesses, while others are used to prevent illnesses.

Some of these herbs are:

Temoek Lawak, a turnip that is boiled with additives such as tamarind (asem) and brown sugar. This medicine cleanses the blood.

Kumis Kutjing is boiled, strained and drank as thee. It cleanses the kidneys.

Dauun Minjana is mashed into fine particles after being washed. The juice cleanses the eyes and cures eye infections.

Kentjur turnips are first washed and mixed with salt, chewed and slowly swallowed. The juices cure throat disorders.

The same turnip when mixed fine grinded grains of rice and made into a porridge is used to smear over the painful areas of bruises. The pain disappears and the swelling retracts.

A mixture of young Djambu Klutuk leaves stops diahrrea when consumed.

Drinking a small glass of petroleum on an empty stomach relieves and cures throat problems, coughing and asthma attacks.

There are hundreds of other applicable herbal medicines who play a role in curing illnesses.

The exploitation of Minjak Tanah
(crude oil).

The native population of Java andSumatraextracted crude oil a long time ago. The Minjak Tanah became famous as a medicine against different illnesses and complaints.

The first modern oil well was discovered near Wonocolo on east Java. The Dortse Petroleum Company (DPM) extracted the crude oil in a “primitive manner´.

A tobacco inspector discovered onSumatrain the sultanate of Langkat, which borders on Atjeh, a second oil well. The sultan granted him a concession. The Minjak Tanah bubbled out of the ground in some places. The financial arrangements were completed in 1885 and in the same year production began at the second oil well in theDutch East Indies.

King William the third arranged for financial assistance for the founding of the ´Royal Dutch Company for the Exploitation of Petroleum wells in the Dutch East Indies´. The ´Royal´ first aim was northSumatra. A primitive refinery and the company head quarters were constructed in Pangkalan Brandan.

It was a risky business. There was little or no knowledge of the soil contents and there were daily attacks from gangs from Atjeh. The value of the shares of the ´Royal´ increased and the dividend was reasonable in spite of the set backs. Some seven years later a disaster occurred for the company. The wells of Langkat suddenly dried up, and there were no other oil wells nearby. A hasty search began for alternatives!

The salvation of Royal Oil.

It was a case of life or death for Royal Oil to discover new oil wells after the oil wells in Telaga Said in the sultanate of Langkat dried up. They were finally discovered in the small coastal states of north Atjeh and especially in the sultanate of Perlak. It just so happened that violence and terror were the order of the day in these small coastal states. The authority of the government of theDutch East Indieswas not recognized in this region and the situation was very chaotic. It was only after Colonel van Heutz had ended the uprisings and had occupied Perlak with a military force that ´Royal Oil´ was able to start drilling at the new oil wells. The company was saved from its perilous situation.

Colonel van Heutz resisted the plans of the oil company to transport the oil with pipelines from Perlak to Langkat vehemently. He wanted a refinery at Perlak in order to develop Atjeh. He was unable to fight the oil lobbies of Royal Oil inThe HagueandBatavia. The oil company won.

Royal Oil became a fierce competitor for the oil companies in theFar East. The appearance of Royal Oil on the European market caused a competitive struggle that lasted for years, especially with theU.S.A.

The struggle for crude oil in theDutch East Indies.

Royal Oil tried to obtain a monopoly for the winning of crude oil in theDutch East Indiesafter merging with the British oil company Shell in 1907. The name of the new company was Royal Shell. Royal Shell took over the Muara Enim atPalembangand later the Dortse petroleum company, who exploited the oil wells at Wonocolo on Java. Royal Shell had the monopoly of crude oil winning for a while, because the Dutch government refused to issue concessions to other oil companies. Competition came later from the American oil company ´Standard Oil of New Jersey´, owned by the Rockefeller family. Standard Oil gained a foothold in theDutch East Indiesby buying up old concessions. Standard Oil founded the ´Dutch Colonial Petroleum Company´ (NKPM).

They built a large refinery at Sungai Gerong on theKommeringRiver, a tributary of theMusiRiver, opposite the BPM refinery at Pladju, on the basis of one of these old concessions. This refinery became the largest refinery in theFar Eastin 1939. Meanwhile, the company name of NKPM had been changed to ´Standard Vacuum Petroleum Company´ (Stanvac). At the same time Caltex also became active in theDutch East Indies. In the beginning of 1940, the winning of oil was divided amongst the ´Big Three´, royals Shell, Stanvac and Caltex. Later on, decisions by world political leaders broke up the monopoly.

The Japanese demands for oil deliveries.

Schizo Kobayashi was the Japanese minister of trade. He came to theDutch East Indiesin September of 1940, on orders of his government, with a specific trade mission. He made it clear to the Dutch that since the capitulation of the Dutch government, it would be better for them if they remained friends with the mighty Japanese empire, and to show understanding for the Japanese need for the primary necessities of life. On top of his list of demands was the delivery of enormous quantities of oil.

Oil was the key by whichJapanwould become the ruler and ´protector´ of the whole ofEast Asia. The first issue on the Japanese agenda for the negotiations was the oil fields on Sumatra, Borneo, Java andNew   Guinea. Besides oil, the Japanese also had rubber, tin, nickel, manganese ore, quinine and the abolishment of fishery restrictions forJapan. The Japanese also demanded direct air connections withJapan.Bataviaheld the boat off during the long lingering negotiations and finally discarded the Japanese demands.

The Japanese delegation left, without achieving any results, on the 27th of June 1941 from theport of Tandjung Priok near Batavia back to Japan.

The importance of the shipment of spices for the V.O.C

Many wars were to be fought and much blood would flow over clove and nutmeg. The profits gained for the finer spices were unbelievably large with respect to the quantities shipped and the production region was very limited. The temptation to obtain the exclusive rights to these spices and to cut out other competitors was enormous.

The finer spices and cinnamon that was shipped by the V.O.C. to Europe amounted to 15% of the purchase value of all the goods shipped. The proceeds of these spices in the Dutch auction houses amounted in the 17th until halfway in the 18th century 26% of the total sales value of all the goods. The trading in pepper was actually the most important. Half of the shipped goods by the V.O.C. until the middle of the 17th century consisted of pepper. After 1670, this decreased to 30%. Pepper was also the primary trading product with Asia.

The Dutch as freight carriers.

The Dutch were originally the freight carriers ofEurope. They shipped goods which the Portuguese had brought from the Orient to other European ports. All this ended when Philip the Second of Spain united Spain and Portugal in 1580. He closed all the ports for Dutch ships.

Thereupon, the Dutch decided to find a shipping lane to the Orient themselves. The same shipping lane the Portuguese had discovered a hundred years earlier. Two Dutchmen had gained experience in service of the Portuguese. Jan Huijgen van Linschoten from Haarlem and Dirck Gerritse Pomp from Enkhuizen. They had obtained experience in service of the Portuguese and knew the sailing route to the Orient. The Dutch reached the Orient via the Cape of Good Hope.

Once they arrived, the met hostile native tribes, the Spaniards, the Portuguese and especially the British, who had always been jealous of the flourishing trading of the Dutch. The Dutch fleets were initially in fierce competition with each other. This ended in 1602 when the V.O.C. gained the monopoly for all trading by the Dutch in East Indies

The successful expedition of Jacob van Neck.

The interest of the Dutch for a shipping route toAsiawas great despite the first expedition commanded by Cornelius de Houtman which was a financial disaster. Eight different companies send fourteen fleets of ships to Asia between 1589 and 1601. Some of the fleets tried to find alternative routes to Asia. Some were successful and some not. Other fleets followed the sailing route of Cornelius de Houtman.

The expedition commanded by Admiral Jacob van Neck was a gigantic success. He reached Bantam in 1598. Bantam had developed itself around 1600 into becoming the international cross roads of the Asiatic trading system. It was also the most important supplier of pepper.

A part of the fleet under command of Wijbrand van Warwijck and Jacob van Heemskerk reached Ambon, Banda and Ternate. These were the sought after spice islands. It was only on these islands that the longed for clove, nutmeg and mace were cultivated which were desperately wanted in the kitchens of the European elite and were sold against very high prices.

The return of the fleet commanded by van Neck was, because of its wealthy cargo, celebrated exuberantly.

The co-operative agricultural credit bank.

The assistant resident De Wolff van Westerrode was, during a leave of absence around 1900, introduced to the Raffeisen co-operative agricultural credit bank system. Upon his return to the Dutch East Indies, it was proposed to set up a similar banking system on Java. After the proposal was accepted, the assistant resident Carpentier Alting was appointed as inspector of the Dutch East Indies agricultural credit bank. An office of controlling civil servants was created which later was renamed the Office for the Agricultural Credit Bank. The government depended upon the village elders to manage the agricultural credit system, as only they were held in great respect by the local population. The idea of developing a co-operative system as in The Netherlands was attempted into practice for years. Unfortunately, the local population was not interested. The network of subsidiary banks was unable to into the aimed for co-operative agricultural credit bank. The Communal Agricultural Credit bank was founded in 1934, which combined the central bank and the subsidiary offices.

The agricultural loan system existed mainly in loans of rice (padi) plants for the cultivation in the rice paddies. The farmers paid this back with a part of their harvest including an additional payment for wastage and costs incurred.

Harvest loans were issued for agricultural equipment, fertilizer, potting earth and staple food during times of a deficiency thereof.

The middle class.

Most of the shopkeepers in the Dutch East Indies were Chinese, Arabians and persons from India. One could buy just about anything in their shops such as clothing, household items, foodstuffs, medicine and much more items. Purchases in instalments without interest were always possible. The Chinese and Arabians issued loans against exorbitant interest rates which could be as high as fifty percent. As the small farmer was unable to obtain a loan from the banks, he was forced to obtain such a loan for a funeral, a wedding or an agricultural investment.

Repayments had to be made punctually. If the repayment of the loan was not made on the agreed date in the contract, the interest due was increased. Many persons ended up in a desperate situation and out of necessity committed punishable acts and ended up in prison. A new law in 1932 made it impossible to contract exorbitant interest rates, which ensured that the issuing of loans went according to the governmental regulations.

The Chinese street vendors were known as ´Klontong Chinese´. They sold textiles, thread and tape. The ´Bami Chinese´ (bami tok-tok) prepared on the directions of the buyer portions of bami on the spot. ´ Bombayers´ was the collective name for cloth vendors and tailors from India. The Japanese ran little shops with cheap watches, toys and photographic articles.

The inter-Asiatic trading network of the V.O.C.

The trading network of the V.O.C. inAsiaconsisted of many trading posts. They varied from small to large trading posts and forts and fortified cities that were connected with each other via a logistic system. The logistic system was centralized in Batavia. More than eighty trading ships, which remained permanently in Asia, sailed from Batavia to different destinations and returned with purchased products which were stored in Batavia awaiting transportation to The Netherlands.

V.O.C. trading ships sailed with spices to Formosa (Taiwan) and traded these for Chinese silk after which the ships sailed on the Japan to trade the silk for silver.

Spices were bought in the archipelago with the Japanese silver and exchanged in Arabia and Persia for flexible rubber, bark sap, silk threads and carpets. There was a great demand for these products in Asia and Europe. Some products such as rice, arak (wine), Soja beans, Rotan, sandal wood and edible birds nests from the see swallow ( These were considered as a healthy diet and were used as a medicine against tuberculoses) were exclusively traded in Asia. But the aim of trading activities was acquisition and transportation of products for The Netherlands.

Growing prosperity and extreme poverty.

The petroleum industry grew explosively as of 1900. The oil companies extracted the oil from the ground in the Dutch East Indies and transported it to The Netherlands. This meant that the local population could not benefit of the increasing prosperity. The management and the technical staff consisted of Europeans. The middle management consisted mainly of Eurasian Dutch and the remainder consisted of native Indonesians.

The salaries were according to their positions. By the distribution of housing the companies also distinguished between the Europeans, Eurasian Dutch and the native Indonesians. There were separate societies for European, Eurasian Dutch and Indonesian employees. The whole business community was organized in this manner. An educational program for Indonesians was vehemently resisted by the Europeans who considered the costs of the project ridiculously high.

Critical articles written by Eurasian Dutch and Indonesian journalists appeared in different newspapers where attention was brought to bear of the extreme contrast between the exuberant prosperity of the Europeans and the extreme social and economic poverty of the native population.

The Cultural system.

A new taxation system, named the Cultural system, was introduced on Java in 1830. The Javanese population was forced to cultivate one fifth of their farm land with crops that were demanded at a certain moment in The Netherlands. These were products such as coffee, tea, sugar cane, indigo, cacao and more. Javanese who were not farmers were forced to work one fifth of the year, about sixty-six days, for the colonial government. The taxation system consisted of a forced payment either in products or labour by the different native population groups. The first requirement to be able to keep the native population in tome was the cooperation of the local sovereigns in order to let the taxation system become a success. The native sovereigns were bound to the colonial government with money and promises.

European and native civil servants, who were ordered to locally supervise the fulfilment of the taxation system, later on misused the system to enrich themselves by demanding more than the agreed quota and sometimes the whole of the harvest from the poverty stricken farmers.

The corruption of the system by especially civil servants was the reason why Eduard Douwes Dekker (Multatuli) and the liberal Member of Parliament W.R. van Hoevell resisted the Cultural system. The cultural system was abolished in 1870.

Opposition against the Cultural system.

There were only adverse consequences experienced by the native population, and even more so for the farmers as a result of the Cultural system. The Javanese farmers were put under heavy pressure. The Javanese farmers did not have a free choice in the cultivation of crops, and had to plant crops that were unknown to them due to the orders of the colonial government. Due to the unfamiliarity with these crops the farmers wasted a lot more time and effort. At the same time they were obliged to perform servitude duties with almost no compensation.

The Dutch parliament obtained participation in the decision making over the management of the colonies due to the constitutional reforms in 1848. Before this the king made the decisions on a sole basis. The former preacher in the Dutch East Indies, baron W.R. van Hoevell, and his followers came up for the interests of the population of the Dutch East Indies.

The Dutch parliament passed a law in 1854 which curtailed the Governor General from laying arbitrary obligations on the population. The budget of the Dutch East Indies came under management of the Dutch parliament when the comptability law was passed in 1867.

Multatuli´s book ´Max Havelaar´ was instrumental in the change of governmental policy in theDutch East Indies. The end of the hated cultural system was in sight. The obligatory planting of sugar cane was abolished in 1870. The obligation to grow coffee was, with removal of all the misuse, maintained until 1915.

The taxation system.

The government was able to design a correct property taxation system due to an excellent organised surveyor’s office. The correct property taxation and the just distribution of the tax burden meant that the rights of the taxpayers were guaranteed

The for the property taxation necessary charts were provided by units of surveyors of the topographical office on a scale of 1: 5000.

On these charts the different rice paddies and the so called dry areas were registered. The exactly calculated sub divided areas were gathered according to the location of the villages (desas).

As the farmers also calculated the surface area of their land, the classification matri (an assistant land registration civil servant) had two different results at his disposal. If the results were different, the difference was traced and the definite taxation value was determined in consultation with the owner. Moreover, the rice paddies were taxed according to their expected proceeds.

In this manner they obtained the information on which the taxation for the land could be determined. The rice paddies were taxed on the basis of the expected rice production. The dry land was taxed according to the value of the land. The taxation was usually determined for a period of ten years. Sudden price differences of the price of rice and crop failure were taken into account. There would then be a partial or total exemption of the land tax.

The Lebak case.

Eduard Douwes Dekker was assigned as administrator of the Lebak department of the Bantam residence on the twenty second of January 1856. More than a month later, on the 24th of February 1856 he presented a complaint by the resident C.P. Brest van Kempen against the regent of Lebak, Raden Adipati Karta Nata Negara. This was a Javanese aristocrat of high nobility. Douwes Dekker accused the regent of misusing his authority and servitude and of shaking down the local population. These practices were tolerated by the authorities in order to keep the peace and especially for the large profits that came from the products from theDutch East Indies.

There were many conflicts between governmental civil servants and the heads of the local population. They were named perkaras (differences of interpretation) which played especially during the time of the Cultural system. Douwes Dekker was re-assigned because of his forceful action. His vanity hurt and slowed in his aspirations he resigned.

The Hindu and Buddhist period.

Buddhist monks arrived inIndonesiain the trail of the merchants fromIndia. They preached the doctrine of Buddha with the aim of converting the native population. Buddhism flourished especially in the nation of Sriwijaja on southSumatra. Schools and monasteries were established in the capitalPalembang. Their reputation went as far asIndiaandChina.

Hinduism arrived at the same time in the archipelago, but it was not there to convert the native population. Initially only small trading posts were established. Later larger complexes and cities were built modelled on those inIndia. Brahman priests were invited by Indonesian sovereigns. Thus played the Indonesian aristocracy an important role by the introduction of Indian religions and Indian culture inIndonesia.

Hinduism and Buddhism influence each other. This caused the development of a typical Indonesian synthesis with traditional spirits and ancestral worshipping. Much later the same happened with the arrival of the Islam and Christianity.

According to an old Javanese legend, Prince Adji Kaka fromIndiadonated in the year78 A.D. his religion, writing, social and state order as well as the time calculation. Kawa is derived from his Sanskrit religious passages. The prehistoric Javanese language.

The mission in practise as of 1850.

The once so enthusiastic Dutch Missionary Organization (NZG) frittered away into many different protestant sub religions. There were Baptists, Reformed, Lutheran and other protestant sub religions. All had their own missionaries. About this time the ban on missionaries had become more lenient, but with all the different missionary activities, the government had to divide the land between the different religions and each mission was given a region for their activities. In this way the competition between the servants of God was prevented.

The missionary work itself was a very slow and tedious work. The missionaries achieved almost nowhere feasible results. They were forced to work in desolate areas. Missionary work demanded much patience and perseverance. The results were minimal in most areas. An exception was the Minahassa on northCelebes. In this region it went smoothly and by using native assistants for the catechism and education the mission posts increased. On east Java the missionaries also had success. A training school for native assistants was founded.

The rise of Islam.

The successful spread of the Islam is increased through the dominance of Sufism. The highest priority of the Sufis was the mystical unification with God. Religious regulations were only an additive for the Sufis. This was against the doctrine of the orthodox Islam, and was disapproved of vehemently.

The orthodox Islamic religious leaders began to recognize a moderate form of mysticism around1000 A.D. Popular Sufism was now able to develop itself. This expressed itself through the rise of many mystical orders (tarikas).The tarikas have certain methods to induce a mystical ecstasy within them, such as reciting certain formulas through dancing and playing music.

Sufism has spread out over all the Islamic countries. Sufism took on its own form everywhere by adapting to prehistoric customs and religions.

Sufism was also important for the Islamic mission. Especially the Indonesian population came in contact with the Islam through Sufism. The mysticism of Sufism has left visible signs in the Indonesian Islam.

Baliunder the influence of Hinduism.

There was already a family relationship between the courts ofBaliand Java when one of the major kings of the Hindu nation Mataram, king Airlangga, ascended the throne. The mother of Airlangga was remarried with a Balinese prince. The Javanese court language, Kawi, also came into use at the Balinese court during the reign of Airlangga. The Javanese influence in the area of construction also became significant onBali.

After the death of Airlangga,Baliwas reigned for two centuries by the descendants of his mother.Baliwas more or less independent of the east Javanese court and the role of Mataram was taken over by the Singasari dynasty.Balibecame again under Javanese during the reign of this dynasty.

Baliregained its independence eight years later under the Pejeng dynasty, which grew into a powerful nation. The last king of the Pejeng dynasty, the legendary Dalem Bedulu, refused to give up the independence of the island to the rule of the powerful Majapahit nation, which ruled over a large part of the archipelago after Mataram.

Religious education during the V.O.C. period.

From the beginning the V.O.C. maintained a policy that was aimed at selective distribution of the mission activities in the archipelago. This meant in fact that the mission was unable to gain a foothold anywhere in the archipelago during the domination of the V.O.C.

An exception was made for the regions where the V.O.C. challenged the competition of the Portuguese. The Roman Catholic priests and missionaries were driven out and the Protestant missionaries were given allowed to establish themselves as they wished. This happened for instance on theMoluccanIslands.

Around 1605 the V.O.C. reached agreements with the Islamic tribal heads ofAmbonand the surrounding islands by which the V.O.C. obtained the sole rights for the purchase of Moluccan spices. This lasted for two centuries. At the same time the Portuguese church leadership was driven out. The more than 16.000 Moluccans had to accept the protestant God of the Dutch. The Moluccans demanded that the V.O.C. would provide religious education for this new religion. The V.O.C. was obliged to provide, different from the rest of the archipelago, protestant religious education to the Roman Catholic minority onAmbon.

The first catholic converts.

Buddhism, Hinduism, the Islam and Christianity came toIndonesiaon board the sailing vessels. The trading in spices also brought the cross to the archipelago. Christianity landed with the Portuguese in theMoluccanIslandswhere the priests who came along preached the Roman Catholic religion. The first person to be baptized in 1534 was the village elder of Mamoia onHalmahera. The village elder had asked the Portuguese for protection against attacks from neighbouring kampongs. This was the beginning of the Roman Catholic Church in the archipelago. Not much later, the first missionaries landed on the different islands of the Moluccans. They used a shortened catechism which was translated in Malayan. They founded many mission schools.

There were around 16.000 catholics on the Moluccans until the arrival of the Dutch in 1605. Other catholic regions originated in the archipelago with the Portuguese merchants. A large Dominican mission post was founded on theislandofSolor, east ofFlores. It consisted of a fortified monastery with 10.000 converts.

Serakat Islam (S.I.).

The Javanese batik merchants inSurakartawere dissatisfied over the manner in which the Chinese go between merchants treated them for the sale of western unbleached cotton. The Chinese merchants formed a solid block.

Under the leadership of the Javanese batik merchant Hadji Samunhudi, the Javanese batik merchants founded a business association named Sarekat Dagang Islam. The aim of the association was to stimulate the interests of the Javanese merchants. Unfortunately, conflicts within the association were mainly settled by fighting in the streets. The local Dutch authorities took action and banned the association.

The association was re-established in1912 inSurabayaunder the inspirational leadership of Tjokroaminoto with a mandate from Samunhudi and some other important Surakartans now named Sarekat Islam. The association spread out fast and massively over Java and outside Java within a few months. This was forIndonesiaan unbelievable unknown phenomenon. Model statutes were drawn up by the authorities for the local Serakat Islam organizations as well as the centrally organized Sarekat Islam.

Dutch elementary education in theDutch East Indies.

Around 1900 there were signs of new perspectives for the admittance of Indonesian pupils to Dutch elementary education. A dualistic system existed before 1900. European children and children who were considered to be equal obtained a western education. A separate educational system existed for Indonesian children. Western children followed a seven year course at the European Elementary School (ELS). Indonesian children followed a five year course at theNativeStandardSchoolwith Javanese as the main language. This was the end of their education.

The admittance policy for the separated educational systems was not always adhered to. Children from the Prijaji, the top layer of the aristocracy, were upon request of the parents admitted to the ELS schools. In Prijaji circles western education was preferred so the children could move on to primary educational schools. Around the beginning of the twentieth century about 1900 non European pupils attended the ELS schools.

The Balinese religion.

The advance of the Islamic religion caused the Hindu sovereigns of the Madjapahit Empire to flee with their court toBali. The arrival of these highly developed and spiritual persons together with the already existing culture and religion made it possible forBalito obtain a highly developed cultural and religious community. Buddhism and Hinduism had come closer together on Java. This intertwinement continued onBali. Even now, the Buddhist and Shivaitists priests appear together during many ceremonies.

Buddhism, Hinduism and Animistic elements provided that a complex religion existed onBaliwhich is theologically not definable. Important priests met in 1952 to make a complete definition of their religion. The name Agama Tyrta, the religion of the holy water, was chosen because water played an important role in their religious ritual.

Islamic education in theDutch East Indies.

Thousands of Islamic schools, the Pesantrens, existed on Java before the colonial authorities became aware of their educational obligation for native children. Sons of the Prijaji, the nobility which formed the administrative elite inIndonesia, received a dual education.

The son lived in the home of an important family where he had to obtain experience on a lower level than he was used at home. At the same time they were formed in associating with their peers and etiquette of the nobility He became most of the time a resident student in the Pesantren. He learned to read and write and was educated in the Islamic religion. He learned horse riding, the use of weapons and regularly practised artistic skills. After finishing his education he was considered to be capable of taking his place in the administrative apparatus.

The Prijaji continued this dual upbringing after 1900 by letting their sons follow a western education. The sons lived in the home of important European families where they became accustomed with the European customs and habits. At the same time they were educated at a European school. First at the elementary level and then at the primary level.

The rise of the Islam inIndonesia.

The mighty Hindu empire of Majapahit fell apart quickly after the death of King Hayam Wuruk. Internal quarrels between the different sovereignties and rebellions against the king accelerated this process. The Rajah set himself on fire in an attempt to retain his power. His successor fled, together with the aristocracy, the academics, the artists and the priests toBali. This was the beginning of Hinduism onBali.

The hereby created vacuum was filled by many small Islamic sovereignties. The Islam was able to move from the coastal areas inland and start the conversion to the Islam. The mighty Islamic empire of Mataram was founded during this process. The introduction of the Islam was a slow moving process. The Islam melted together with the traditional religions, Buddhism and Hinduism. At this time there was no break with the past. Sultan Agung (1613-1645) and his advisor Gunan Giri were very zealous in their attempt to introduce the Islamic religion in the whole of the archipelago Only during the 15th and 16th century became the Islam the state religion for all the different sovereignties. The Islamic religion was not the orthodox form like in theMiddle East, but Sufism which is a mystical Islamic variant.

The Islamic Muhamadiyah.

Changes took place around 1900 within the Islam in theDutch East Indies. The aim of the changes was to initiate reforms based on the original Islamic teachings. Pilgrimages toMeccahad become popular by merchants and businessmen. InMeccathey came in contact with reform movements who, while using western knowledge, wanted to return to the original aims of the Islam.

One of these pilgrims, Haji Achmed Dahlan, was a convinced supporter of these reforms. He founded the Islamic Muhamadiyah, an organization whose interest was, amongst others, the introduction of religious education in the governmental schools. Around 1938 the organization had about a quarter of a million members and 1770 schools. The organization limited itself not only on Java, but was also active on other islands of the archipelago. Especially on westSumatrawas the organization very active as the reforms had began here earlier. Many students came from westSumatrato Java with a western orientated elementary and primary education for higher education as a sequel.

The road network.

Governor General Daendels announced shortly after his arrival in 1808 that a road would be constructed from Buitenzorg, through the Puntjak pass toBandungand then along the north coast toSurabaya. He wanted to start construction as quickly as possible. He pointed out that quick transportation of army units was imperative in order to repel enemy attacks. An efficient road network would be beneficial for the development of agriculture and trade. The road was named ´De Grote Postweg´ (The Great Postal Road).

Further construction took place to expand the road network, but it was only after the development of agricultural businesses after 1850 that the road network was expanded. The improvement of the road network proved to be a stimulant for the founding of new businesses. It became necessary to widen the roads and replace the hardened chipped stone layer by asphalt with the arrival of the automobile around1900. Agood functioning government also demanded a good road system.

The improvement and expansion of the road network onSumatraled to the discovery of previously unknown parts of the island. Around 1940, 84000 vehicles were in circulation on Java and the outer regions of which 10000 were busses. The road traffic law was important for regulating the right of way between the different types of vehicles and the flow of traffic. There existed ox drawn carts, bicycles, horse drawn wagons etc. besides motorized traffic.

New impetus for the educational system.

The demand for education increased dramatically around 1900. Three educational systems were introduced in1907 inorder to set up an integrated educational system.

  • The Dutch Native School (H.I.S.), with Dutch as the main language and a seven year curriculum based on European standards and Malay or Javanese as a secondary subject. Previously this school was theNativeSchoolalso with a seven year curriculum. This school was meant for the children of the Javanese nobility, the Prijaji.
  • The Dutch Chinese School (H.C.S.) for children of Chinese descent.
  • Extended Elementary Education (M.U.L.O.). This was set up according to the Dutch model for sequential education. A sort of Junior High School.
  • The General Secondary School (A.M.S.), with a curriculum based on European standards as a sequential education for the M.U.L.O. This is a sort of High School.

The old schools, the E.L.S., the H.B.S., the M.M.S., the Gymnasium, Lyceum and theQueenWilhelminaSchool(aTechnicalHigh School) also remained unchanged. The H.I.S. and the M.U.L.O. were a big success and there was a large increase of Indonesian pupils. Later on, the study possibilities were extended to university studies with subjects that were compatible to those in The Netherlands. The study books were in the Dutch language.

It was unfortunate that due to the absence of an educational equality law, the diplomas and certificates obtained in theDutch East Indieswere useless in The Netherlands.

Christianity in the Indonesian archipelago.

The Panca Sila is applicable inIndonesia. This means that the five religions recognized by the government (the Islam, Roman Catholicism, Protestantism, Buddhism, Hinduism) are not allowed to recruit persons from the other religions. Atheism was not allowed. Protestants and catholic missionaries obtained good results in regions which did not resort under the Islamic religion. The missionaries realized that the Dutch religions had to make adjustments in order to be able to mix it with the native cultural values. Only then would the local population accept Christianity. The use of native assistants, priests, preachers and teachers was very important for the integration of Christianity.

After the Indonesian independence in 1949, Christianity increased at a fast pace due to the Panca Sila. Because the Panca Sila does not allow atheism, many animistic tribes, fearing retribution from the government inJakarta, accepted Christianity. The total Protestant religions had 13 million members, or 6% of the total population. The Umat Katolik had 6.6 million members, or about 3% of the total population. There are more than 20 million Christians inIndonesia.

The railway system.

Railroads were constructed at a fast pace all over the world after the improvement of the steam locomotive in 1847. It was only in theDutch East Indiesthat the politicians were not prepared to construct railroads. For more than thirty years they squabbled, talked, dreamed and discussed about the ´iron road´.

During this period, the transportation from the interior to the ports of agricultural products stagnated. The government coffee moulded in the warehouses (gudangs) of the central Javanese sovereignties. Ships waited for months at the quay ofSemarangfor a cargo.

There was a great shortage of draw animals for the wagons. Livestock production had never been a priority in theDutch East Indies. A proposal for the establishment of a governmental enterprise with 4000 water buffaloes and an extensive wagon park was, after calculating the costs and proceeds, not accepted. An imported herd of forty camels could not assimilate. The same happened to lamas and from The Netherlands imported donkeys. The slaughter of water buffaloes was banned in 1841, and a stimulation policy for the Javanese population to eat goat meat came to nothing due to a lack of co-operation.

Applications for concessions to construct a railway system came continuously. The applications were refused. Minister Fransen van der Putte and Governor general Baron Sloet van de Beele finally decided to grant a concession for the construction of the by now very necessary railroad in central Java. The concession was granted to the Dutch East Indies Railway Company.

The breakdown of the Sarakat Islam.

The Partai Komunis was founded inSemarangin 1920, coming forth from the communist orientated Indies Socialist Democratic Association. The P.K.I. was the death knell of the Sarakat Islam.

Semaun, who was a council member of the central Sarakat Islam since 1918, was the driving force of the communist propaganda within the Sarakat Islam. Giving way to the heavily exerted pressure communism was to form a part of Sarakat Islam and together with socialism and democracy would have its place within the Islamic system. After this heavy propaganda for communism was made from within the Sarakat Islam. Many members of the Sarakat Islam change over to the for them more progressive communist party. The red Sarakat Islam organization went on under the name ´Sarakat Rajat´, which means united people. The religious national unity was repaired with the loss of so many members. There was little interest in the Sarakat Islam, even after the communist uprisings were suppressed and the party was banned.

The Sarakat Islam and her daughter organizations decided in 1929, against the constitutional statutes, to re-organize itself in an association named the ´Partai Sarakat Islam Indonesia (P.S.I.I.) ´. The organization had then 153 daughter organizations and 30000 members. After the departure of Mr. Tjokroaminoto and Mr. H.A. Salim from the National council, the party did not form part anymore of the council. Sarakat is an abbreviation of masjakarat which means united.

The Sutardjo Petition.

An important event took place in1936 inthe National council. A proposal was submitted for a resolution to hold an empirical conference with the Dutch government and the Dutch parliament. Representatives of The Netherlands and theDutch East Indieswould take part in the conference. The conference was to develop a program for slow moving reforms for theDutch East Indiesover a period of ten years. The final aim was independence according to article one of the Constitution. Article one denotes the relationship with the four regions that were ruled over by theNetherlands.

This initiative was taken by the chairman of the moderate Nationalistic Union of governmental Civil servants, Sutardjo Kartohadikusumo. The proposal has entered the history books as ´The Sutardjo Petition´. The proposal was accepted with a majority of six votes with the aid of two European parties. The Dutch government rejected the proposal on the grounds of the wish of the present Dutch policy to continue its reform policy. The Dutch government did not wish a ´dominion status´ for theDutch East Indies.

Churches during the V.O.C. era.

The two remaining churches of the V.O.C. era are the Reformed church in the capital of Ambon and the Portuguese church inBatavia. The Reformed church is still standing. It is constructed from wood with a stone foundation and has two towers. A remembrance plaque beside the front door mentions the construction of the church by Governor Bernard van Pleuren (1775-1785) in 1780.

“ …The believers came from far and wide on Sunday. Ambonese men in dignified black suits and Ambonese women with the long black or white kabaja, with a bible in their hands or a white handkerchief stitched all around with lace…”.

The Outer church was constructed in 1695 for the Portuguese community ofBatavia. The inhabitants of the Mardyk districts behind the church were very grateful.

“…The initiation ceremony by his Grace Theodorus Zas took place in the presence of His Noble Representative, the Governor General Willem van Outhoorn and his ladyship. The church was filled with civil servants with high functions and their ladies dressed in their Sunday best. A sweet aroma floated through the church with the scents of melatti, tjempaka and kenanga which adorned the braids of the Batavianese ladies and mixed itself with the scent of akar wangi (a smelling root) from handkerchiefs and wavers…”

The rise of the Partai KomunisIndonesia(P.K.I.) in theDutch East Indies.

Henk J.F.M. Sneevliet, the pioneer of socialism in the Dutch East Indies, founded inSemarangin 1914 the Indies Socialist Democratic Association (I.S.V.D.) The Perserikatan Komunis di India originated in 1920 from the left wing of the association. This organization became later better known under the name Partai Komunis Indonesia (P.K.I.) The party made open propaganda with slogans over the communist principles. By their aggressive propaganda the party leadership was able to reach the many groups of the Sarakat Islam. These groups formed later, under the name Sarakat Rajat, the lower layer of the communist organization. The upper layer consisted of P.K.I. members. The P.K.I. made, as part of the Moscow Communist International, fierce propaganda against capitalism and especially against the Dutch authorities.

The Javanese Semaun and R. Darsono played a leading role in the political organization and the unions. Tan Malakka, an Indonesian who was educated in The Netherlands, was active in the youth movement. The P.K.I. manifested itself initially as a people’s movement, mostly within the unions. These formed later the heart of the revolutionary actions.

During the government of the late president Sukarno of Indonesia, the party was banned. Many leaders were exiled or died. Many supporters of the party were murdered.

The first regular steamship service.

The government noticed the advantages of steamships around 1850. Steamships were able to provide a regular service for goods, mail and passengers. They did not depend upon the monsoon and the trade winds, and were thus able to reach the many trading posts in the outer regions. A regular transportation network was important to shorten the communication lines fromBataviato outlying posts such as Menado. It was decided to grant governmental subsidies to a private consortium ran by a former naval officer W. Cores de Vries, supported by ship owner Willem Ruys and the ship builder Fop Smits. This would enable the consortium to set up a number of steamship transportation lines for freight, mail and passengers. This was the coastal trade shipping line (pakketvaart). The service of the consortium was not satisfactory because of too few ships, not enough cargo space and too high tariffs. A contract was signed in 1865 with a British company. New ships ensured that a good functioning network existed for parcel service by the Dutch Indies Steamship company (N.I.S.M.). The large ports and the outer trading posts now had a better


The State Railway.

The financial difficulties during the initial years of the Dutch Indies Railway Company scared off investors. Because of this, construction of railway lines came to a halt. The minister of the colonies presented a bill to the House of Commons in 1875 regarding an experimental railroad line fromSurabayato Pasuruan with a branch off railroad line toMalang. The bill was passed. The more than112 kilometrelong railroad line was finished in 1879 and became a great success. Shortly thereafter the government off theDutch East Indiesstarted to exploit the railroad line. More bills were presented for profitable railroad lines and for railways to be constructed in stirred up areas to speed up pacification and open up distant regions for traffic. The State Railway constructed more railroad lines by which businesses were not isolated any more. An agreement was made with the NISM that where narrow gauge crossed over into broad gauge, one third of the line would be broad gauge. The railway system spread out with the main attraction the connectionBataviatoSurabayawith a travelling time of one day.

To make the railway system efficient, railroad routes were shortened by constructing tunnels through mountains. Bridges and overpasses were also constructed over rivers and valleys to shorten the routes.

Java, at the time of the Japanese invasion.

The first Japanese troops landed on the oil richislandofTarakannear Borneo and on Celebes (Sulawesi) at Menado. The Japanese forces had the advantage of mobility and advanced rapidly. The landings took mainly place outside the defended areas and the range of the KNIL artillery. The Japanese attacked the defenders on their flanks and in the rear. The strategy of the KNIL consisted of the concept static defence lines. Because of this, the KNIL was unable to mount offensive actions. If an offensive action was mounted, the deficiency in communications, organization, logistics and training were painfully displayed.

The Japanese had completed their pincer movement around Java by the end of February 1942. South Sumatra, Borneo, Celebes, Bali andTimorwere by then captured by the Japanese. Java was completely isolated.

General Wavell realized the hopelessness of the situation and dissolved on the 25th of February 1942 on Java ABDACOM (American British Dutch Australian Command). It was impossible to reinforce the troops on Java.

Australian divisions, American aircraft and British armoured units could not be transferred fromAustraliaas the Japanese had captured theSunda Islands.

The surrender of the RoyalDutch East IndiesArmy (KNIL).

The Japanese had occupied all the islands surrounding Java. But there was an allied fleet sailing between the occupied islands and Java which could stop a Japanese invasion fleet. The chances of this happening were considered small due to the absence of adequate air support.

The Commanding Officer of the allied fleet, Rear Admiral Karel W.F.M. Doorman realized that he would have to fight the battle without air support and reconnaissance aircraft which would deprive him of information over the whereabouts of the Japanese fleet and its intentions. The allied ABDA fleet fought the Japanese fleet uncoordinated and with poor internal communications.

The battle of the JavaSeawas lost on the 27th of February 1942. The way was now clear for the Japanese to capture Java. During the night of the first of March, the Japanese 16th army consisting of two divisions landed in four places on Java. The KNIL didn’t have a chance. The airfield of Kalijati, defended by British troops, was lost on the first day of the Japanese landings. A counter attack by KNIL forces failed. As it was clear that the Japanese were now in a position to captureBandung, it was decided to surrender.

General Ter Poorten discussed the surrender conditions with Japanese Commanding Officer Imamura, who was only willing to accept unconditional surrender. The capitulation took place on the 9th of March 1942. The Dutch East Indies were occupied byJapan.

The sea battle of theJavaSea.

The allied fleet consisted on the 26th of February 1942 of fourteen ships. The Dutch heavy cruiser HMS De Ruyter, the Dutch light cruiser HMS Java, the British light cruiser HMS Exeter, the American light cruiser Houston and the Australian light cruiser HMS Houston. The remaining nine ships were destroyers. These were the two Dutch destroyers HMS Kortenaer and HMS Witte de With. Three British destroyers, HMS encounter, HMS Electra and HMS Jupiter. Also included were four antique destroyers from the United States which were build around 1918, These destroyers had proved their worth in previous hit and run attacks on Japanese troop transport convoys.

Around this time, a large Japanese invasion fleet was sailing for Java. It consisted of forty troop transport ships with accompanying materials, escorted by two heavy cruisers, two light cruisers and fourteen destroyers.

Japanese pilots discovered the allied fleet and passed this information on to the Japanese fleet. The Japanese command decided to moor the troop transport ships in a safe place and then advance towards the allied fleet. The encounter between the two fleets took place near the north coast of Javaon the 27th of February 1942. The British cruiser HMS Exeter was heavily damaged during the beginning of the sea battle. Shortly thereafter HMS Kortenaer was struck amidships by a torpedo and sank. A part of the remaining allied destroyers sailed at dusk forSurabaya to refuel and take on ammunition. Around midnight, the four remaining allied cruisers were on their own. The cruiser HMS Java received a direct hit from a Japanese torpedo in the rear of the ship. HMS Java went down with the bow up high. The crew was able to abandon ship. A Japanese torpedo stuck the flagship HMS De Ruyter in the rear machine room shortly thereafter. The crew abandoned ship as she was slipping sideways. Rear Admiral Karel Doorman decided to go down with his ship.

The occupation of Java and the other island of the archipelago.

After short bombardments and a number of skirmishes, Java was captured by the Japanese army in a few days time. All military and police personnel and Civil servants were interned in hastily commandeered internment camps for interrogation. Mainly schools, army barracks and sugar factory complexes were used. The men were separated from their wives and children. Personnel of vital companies such as hospitals, electrical power stations, the police, firemen, prison guards, the railways etc. were forced, under the threat that their families would be killed, to keep these facilities running. Military personnel and higher civil servants were interned immediately, followed later by the ordinary civilians. Many of them were transported toJapanand forced to work in the mines. Others were transported toThailand(Siam) to work on the infamousBurmarailroad. Many internees lost, for different reasons, their lives during the construction of the railroad. The transport ships were torpedoed by both Japanese and allied warships.

The Dutch and European civilians were, after interrogation and selection, either interned or send home. Already in the first occupation year, there arose a great shortage of food and medicine. The population tried, first by selling their belongings and later by stealing, to prevent their families of starving. After a year the food supply and medicine had almost disappeared from the markets and stores because the Japanese army claimed these for themselves. The result was an enormous famine under especially the not interned Dutch, Eurasian Dutch and European population. Many different illnesses arose and finally the signs of starvation, red spots and open sores appeared on the arms and legs due to a deficiency of proteins.

In the meantime, Japanese authorities tried to persuade the Dutch and Eurasian Dutch community to co-operate with them. Both refused without any exceptions. Because of this refusal many were interned in internment camps or prisons. Part of the Dutch and Eurasian Dutch were sent back to live outside the camps due to the fact that the Japanese had insufficient internment capacity. They were destined to come upon hard times. Searches in their houses were the order of the day, and the Japanese soldiers had no qualms about mistreatment of these persons and sometimes killed them.

These persons were forced to witness the Japanese public executions and punishments. Dutch, Eurasian Dutch and Europeans were on the whim of the Japanese hung on their arms and legs, kicked, beaten and sometimes murdered. From those who were caught stealing a hand was chopped off. This was all done in order to prevent uprisings against the Japanese authorities and to keep them in line. There existed a form of total anarchy and the Dutch, Eurasian Dutch and other Europeans were in fact outlawed.

The Japanese army was aided by Indonesian auxiliary units (hai-ho’s), also known as sukarila’s (volunteers). They received a military basic training and were used by the Japanese for all types of assignments. Their behaviour was later just as harsh and indiscriminate as that of the Japanese soldiers. They were also guilty of mistreatment and murder. During the Japanese occupation many persons died not only in the internment camps, but even more so amongst the persons that were not interned.


The Batavian Petroleum Company (B.P.M.) had made preparations to destroy the oil fields thoroughly long before the Japanese bombarded the oil richislandofTarakan. The unit which had to destruct the oil fields consisted of army engineers and militarised technical personnel of the B.P.M.

Tarakan was for the Japanese of immense value as the oil in a usable state only had to be pumped out of the ground. There were 700 oil wells. All of these were destroyed with dynamite at the moment a large Japanese invasion fleet steamed in the direction of Tarakan.

The Japanese were furious about the almost unrepairable damage done to the rich oil field. The Dutch Indies Broadcasting Company (NIROM) in Bataviabroadcasted the fall of Tarakan after heavy and bloody fighting on the 12th of January 1942. The news embittered the population of the more southerly located extensive oil city ofBalikpapan. They also decided to destroy the existing oil fields as quickly as possible.

Tarakan became news again near the end of the war, when Australian troops established a bridgehead and an air base.

The Japanese invasion ofBali.

Accurately following their line of attack in the eastern part of the archipelago, the Japanese had been able to capture the airfield of Kendari on eastCelebes. Japanese convoys sailed from this place with men and materials in a southerly direction. The destination of one of the convoys wasBali.Balihad not been included originally in the Japanese plan of attack, as they had the airfield at Kendari at their disposal. Despite the favourable location of the airfield and the usable take off and landing strips, the Japanese soon realized that flying hours were very limited due to the ever changing weather conditions above Kendari. This made it impossible to bombardSurabayaon a regular basis. ThusBalihad to be captured. The allied defences on Java depended upon the supply of fighter aircraft fromAustralia. The capture of the airfield of Denpassar onBaliwould cut off this supply route. The ABDA fleet under command of Rear Admiral Doorman was, due to the dispersal of the ships, unable to stop the Japanese convoy.Baliwas captured almost without firing a shot.

The radio broadcast of Queen Wilhelmina.

Realizing that the liberation of the Dutch East Indies would depend upon the support of the United States, Queen Wilhelmina made her famous radio broadcast from London on the 7th of December 1942:

“I am convinced, and the history and information from the occupied regions, confirm this that the Kingdom can, after the war, be rebuilt on a solid foundation of complete partnership, which will mean the completion of the development which have already began in the past.

I realize that no political entity and union will be able to stand up against the passage of time if it is not supported voluntarily by a large majority of the people.

(…) I propose that, without speaking in advance of the state conference, they will aim for a relationship in which The Netherlands,Indonesia,SurinamandCuracaoall will form a part of, while they will be autonomous in their internal affairs and leaning on their own strength but with the will to aid each other, will be kindred to.

The first Dutch cabinet after the war took over this ´guideline´ and made it their main policy for theDutch East Indies.

Why was Pladju not destroyed?

Pladju (BPM/Shell), which was considered the largest refinery in south east Asia, and Sungai Gerong (Standard Oil of New Jersey/NKPM) were located about ten kilometres fromPalembangon the other side of the Musi river.

The defence of southSumatra, an area of 50000 square kilometres was led by the Territorial Command South Sumatra. The command had 1250 soldiers at their disposal complemented with mobilised civilians for local guard duty. The Japanese wanted to capture both refineries undamaged at all costs. Japanese paratroopers were dropped in a surprise action above Pladju and theairportofPalembang. There was panic and confusion amongst the defenders. Fight back or flee, evacuate or stay, destroy the refinery or not. In the middle of the contradictory orders was the Territorial Commander. He chose to flee and let his troops fare for themselves. He had already crossed over to Java while his troops were still involved in heavy fighting with the Japanese.

Eventually, he was found guilty by a court martial. Pladju was captured almost undamaged by the Japanese while Sungai Gerong was largely destroyed.

After the Japanese capitulation.

TheNetherlandshad only been liberated for a few months and had already begun with the reconstruction of the country. It did not yet have an organized military apparatus at its disposal.

Thousands of young men enrolled as war volunteers (OVW-ers). Their motives were based on idealism and adventure. They wanted to contribute to the liberation of theDutch East Indies. There were unfortunately no ships available for the transportation of troops.

In the meantime, the liberation of Java and Sumatra had been transferred by the United Statesto the British on the 15th of August 1945. The British warship the Cumberland arrived at the quay of Batavia on the 15th of September 1945 with about 1000 British soldiers on board. This was exactly a month after the Japanese capitulation and the independence proclamation by Sukarno and Hatta.

The British military force quickly grew to about 80000 men. More than three quarter of the soldiers came from the Indian sub-continent. They were Nepalese Ghurkhas and Indian Sikhs. The latter came from a region where the indigenous population themselves wanted independence. Their sympathy lay more with the Indonesians than with the Dutch.

The same applied to the Japanese forces on Java, who had been ordered by the British High Command to maintain peace and order and especially to protect the Dutch and European population. The Japanese also had more sympathy for the Indonesians, who in general had been trained by them during the period 1942-1945 as auxiliary forces.

Merdeka (freedom).

Japanese camps were spread out over the whole of Java and other areas of theDutch East Indieswhere Dutch, Eurasian Dutch and family members of the KNIL soldiers were interned. Men, but especially women and children waited in suspense for their liberation and the moment they could return to their homes. In those days the British army command could unfortunately do nothing more than supply food and medicine. There were not enough trucks and other means of transportation available to transport the liberated persons and supply them with sufficient food.

The camps were guarded (how ironically) by Japanese soldiers. They were ordered to protect the persons in the camps against the nationalistic Indonesians who were filled with revengeful feelings against the Dutch. Here and there were incidents where the Dutch were molested or even murdered. Shots were fired on a regular basis on the by the British installed so called protection camps through which people were wounded. The security situation was in some cases so bad that the British authorities decided to transfer Dutch citizens and other Europeans toSingaporeandThailand. Some of them even repatriated to The Netherlands.

The Governor General’s palace inBataviahad been put back in order. Parades were held for the highest Dutch authority. It seemed that peace and order had been restored in the city. Nothing was further from the truth.Bataviawas filled with Pemudas, fanatical nationalistic Indonesian young men who had been trained as soldiers and partly armed by the Japanese.

Slogans such as ´Merdeka´, ´Freedom for Indonesia´, ´Independence and Justice´ and ´Hantjurkkanlah musuhkita itula Belanda dan Amerika´ (destroy our enemy the Dutch and the Americans) were painted on every building, all the trams, busses and cars.

The republic does not exist.

The British troops stationed inBataviawere under strict orders not to interfere in the internal conflicts. They had no intention of getting involved in the open hostilities of the Pemudas against the Dutch community and the surrounding area.

Pemuda units were formed locally after the declaration of independence. These were Indonesian youths who had been trained to become soldiers by the Japanese. They had learned to hate the Dutch. They received with the assistance of the Japanese soldiers weapons on a large scale. The number of incidents increased. The horrible attacks on Dutch persons led to the unorganised operating groups of Indonesian extremists Pemudas to be called ´rampokkers´ (bandits) and ´pelopors´ which is derived from the Dutch word voorloper (point man). After attacks on British troops by which they suffered fatal casualties, the British demanded that the Dutch government enter into negotiations with the so- called ´Republic Indonesia´. The Dutch government inThe Haguepertinently refused to negotiate with the ´Republic´, as it, according to the Dutch authorities, consisted only of Sukarno and Hatta and nothing more!

Violence against the Dutch.

The Dutch government refused to enter into negotiations with the ´Republic´ despite the urgent request of the British high command inBatavia. Governor General van Mook received instructions to avoid any contact with Sukarno and Hatta. The government inThe Haguehad decided to send a marine brigade and war volunteer units toIndonesia.

The situation worsened with the arrival the first KNIL battalions which consisted mainly of soldiers fromSurinamand KNIL soldiers who had been interned in Japanese camps inThailand. The KNIL soldiers received a hostile reception from the population.

Violence obtained the upper hand when KNIL soldiers discovered that after they had visited their inIndonesialiving relatives and acquaintances, those persons were murdered. The KNIL soldiers took brutal action against the possible perpetrators and imprisoned them. Two KNIL soldiers were involved in attacks on the Prime Minister of the so-called RepublikIndonesia, Shahrir. The tension between the Dutch and the educated and somewhat pro Dutch Indonesians also increased.

The slogans in the streets became more incriminating and the population was called upon not to supply food to the Dutch. The first mutilated bodies of persons suspected of sympathizing with the Dutch were discovered in the canals ofBatavia.

Pemudas (extremist Indonesian youths) gained the upper hand.

The violence against the Dutch increased explosively with the arrival of the first KNIL battalions (Andjing Nica and Gajah Merah) inBataviaat the end of 1945.The increase in violence was aimed at civilians who were suspected of sympathizing with the Dutch or out of revenge.

The dismal consequences were clearly visible in the canals and rivers ofBatavia, where quartered bodies of mainly Dutch and other Europeans floated.

Difficult times also broke on for the Eurasian Dutch. Initially they were reasonably well left alone, but very quickly they were considered to be the same as the totoks (Dutch persons born and raised in The Netherlands) and therefore supporters of the Dutch. In the regions that had not yet been liberated they were confined to their homes and later on locked up in camps and prisons and interned.

The situation in the former Japanese internment camps deteriorated day by the day. Dutch aid workers who brought food to the camps were regarded as advance parties for the Dutch army. Supplying the camps became very difficult. On some places on Java, the Pemudas but also the police and army units took persons in the camps hostages. The hostages were moved inland and interned into camps that would be difficult to localize. This caused tens of thousand of persons to fear for their lives. Sukarno and Hatta tried to calm them down, but they had no control over their police and army units and certainly not over the Pemudas. It was only in March 1947 that the remaining thousands of Eurasian Dutch were liberated from camps such as Klampok and Bodjong on south Java.

The British landing atSurabaya.

The aim of the British troops that landed atSurabayaandSemarangwas to evacuate the women and children whose lives were threatened in the camps by the Indonesians. Brigadier Mallaby commanded the British Indian brigade. From the beginning the British Indian brigade met heavy resistance from the much more numerous Pemuda units and the so-called regular Indonesian army. The British made a fatal decision by dispersing their units throughout the whole city. The dispersed units were under continual attack from well armed Pemudas who had obtained many Japanese weapons and material.

The British convoys with the women and children from the camps that were on their way to theportofSurabayawere ferociously attacked with rifle fire and hand grenades thrown from the windows and the roofs of the houses along the route. One convoy was completely destroyed. Only thirty of the two hundred women and children survived the slaughter. The British troops who escorted the convoy were finished off with Japanese samurai swords.

Brigadier Mallaby was murdered during his attempt to negotiate with the Indonesians. The British Indian brigade was completely destroyed.

War volunteers (OVW- ers).

An article in the Dutch constitution prohibits the government from conscripts being sent out outside the borders of theNetherlands. It was not feasible to put together a conscripted army for the liberation of theDutch East Indies.

The solution was the proclamation of the War volunteer’s resolution on the 1st of October 1944. Results could be achieved faster by recruiting war volunteers.

Immediately after the liberation of The Netherlands recruiting offices were opened all over the country. By using advertising posters and slogans aimed at the liberation of theDutch East Indiesthe youth of the country was called upon to enter military service. The enthusiasm was so great that the government deemed it necessary to restrict the recruitment in order to have enough labour forces available for the reconstruction of the country.

The motives for joining up were much diversified. It was mostly adventurism, to prove oneself after the lost years under the German occupation, to avoid an uncertain and unemployed future, to contribute to the liberation of theDutch East Indies, or just to escape from the poverty stricken country and see the world.

Very soon after the capitulation ofJapan, a number of War volunteers left for theDutch East Indiesto maintain peace and order.

The liberation of Ambarawa.

The former larger Japanese internment camps became targets for the Pemudas and the Indonesian army during the fighting between Dutch and Republican army units. Tens of thousands of Europeans and Eurasians waited in these camps to be liberated and to be able to return to their homes.

The British army tried to evacuate as many persons as possible from the camps to safer areas, but was unable to prevent the murder of thousands of persons. A dramatic example of this was the British army convoy which was transporting about one hundred and fifty women and children nearSurabayato a safe area near theportofSurabaya. This convoy was attacked and everyone was murdered.

Very precarious was the situation in one of the largest internment camps, located in central Java, at Ambarawa. Heavy fighting erupted at the camp between the Japanese camp guards and Indonesian forces. The so called general Sudirman had bivouacked his troops in this area. The Japanese camp guards refused to surrender the weapons arsenal to the Indonesians. Ambarawa was liberated after severe fighting by a combined action of British and Japanese forces.

Troops are sent to theDutch East Indies.

The Dutch government decided in November of 1945 to send a military force of 75000 men, including conscripts, to theDutch East Indies. The government felt itself strengthened by the events on Borneo, Celebes, the Moluccans and theSunda islands. KNIL units had without much difficulty relieved the British and Australian occupation forces. Former KNIL prisoners of war were quickly formed in battalions while awaiting the arrival of the War volunteers and the Marine brigade from The Netherlands. After their formation they were sent to the necessary places in the outer regions.

The Gadjah Merah battalions were formed inThailandat the end of 1945. Their emblem was a red elephant. The Prince Bernhard battalion was formed inSingaporeand the Andjing Nica battalion was founded atBandung.

Recruiting depots were installed on the Moluccans, northCelebesand later at Tjimahi on west Java. Just like before the Second World War, it was possible to sign up for a fixed period of time with the KNIL. Many ex KNIL soldiers of Indonesian descent made use of this possibility.


The Royal Decree of the twenty second of June 1944 provided the Dutch government with the opportunity to send conscripts to theDutch East Indiesby using the argument that the circumstances were exceptionally extraordinary. The Constitution and the Conscription law were later on adjusted accordingly. The first conscripts were called up in April1946. The first trains with conscripted soldiers of the 7December division left in September 1946 for boarding on ships bound for theDutch East Indies. The division was not sent to liberate theDutch East Indies, but to ensure peace and order. The departure of the soldiers did not go without difficulties.

Protest actions and strikes were held previous to the departure. The conscripts had little ambition to be sent to theDutch East Indies. Although the majority of the soldiers boarded the ships without causing any problems, a substantial part remained AWOL.

Radio broadcasts and threats of severe punishment caused that a number of conscripts reported, although some 2600 conscripts went into hiding. These ´Indies´ deserters were later court martialled and sentenced to prison terms of four to five years. The train transports to the boarding quays were accompanied by the Military Police (Marechchaussee Corps). Strict preventive measures were taken to prevent riots, and parting family members and public were kept at a safe distance.

The second British landing atSurabaya.

The first landing of a British Indian brigade atSurabayaended in a disaster. Outnumbered by a large force of fanatical Pemudas and Indonesian army units, the brigade was completely destroyed. The commanding officer, Brigadier Mallaby, was murdered during negotiations with the Indonesians.

The British decided to intervene again with a complete division after this set back. The British High Command sends an ultimatum to the republican leaders to surrender all their weapons. The British attacked on the 10th of November after no reaction came from the republican leaders. The exceptional heavy battle for the city lasted more than three weeks. There were many casualties under the civilian population and many fled the city. There were tens of thousands dead and wounded.

Embittered by their heavy casualties, the British gave no quarter to captured adversaries. The agreement that they would not interfere in internal conflicts was laid aside. The interned persons of the former Japanese camps were liberated and removed. The battle had been fought for them.

Every year, 10 November is remembered as the Day of the Heroes.

Dutch troops are not allowed to land.

The British officer commanding south east Asia, Lord Louis Mountbatten, refused to let Dutch troops land on theDutch East Indiesas long as the Dutch government refused to negotiate with the Indonesian leaders, Sukarno and Hatta.

The Dutch government still considered both men as collaborators with the Japanese and that only they had proclaimed theIndonesianRepublic. The Dutch government under the leadership of Prime Minister Schermerhorn had no notion of the forceful political movements and the strongly developed nationalistic feelings among the population of theDutch East Indies.

The first War volunteers to arrive at the quay ofBataviawere not allowed to go ashore. They were transferred to Malacca. They were quartered in tents that recently been abandoned by British troops. Although initially very disappointed, the soldiers were happy to receive jungle training and would therefore be better prepared to fight in the tropical jungles. They received instruction from experienced British Indian soldiers during their forced stay on Malacca. The conscript units that arrived later were thrown into battle without any tropical fighting experience.


Lieutenant Governor General Dr. H.J. van Mook realized that he, due to international political pressure, would have to negotiate with the republican leaders, including Sukarno, despite the Dutch cabinet’s point of view.

The government inThe Haguewas furious and wanted to remove him from his post. Afraid of negative reactions from theUnited StatesandGreat Britainthey refrained from doing so. Van Mook flew in December 1945 to The Netherlands to persuade the Dutch government to change their policies toward theDutch East Indies. He had the plans to break the deadlock in his attaché case. During informal consultations with the ´new premier of the republic, Sutan Sjahrir´, plans had been worked out aimed at decolonization. The consultations inThe Hagueresulted in the preparedness of the government to makeIndonesiaan autonomous region within the Realm under leadership of an Imperial cabinet.

A conference took place on the beginning of March 1946 on the country estate ´De Hoge Veluwe´ between Dutch and Republican delegations. The conference was a complete failure. The Dutch proposals were totally contrary to the nationalistic feelings of the Republic.

The Werfstraat prison inSurabaya.

Sutomo, using loudspeakers, declared war on any person who had a drop of Dutch blood flowing through his or her veins. On the 15th of October1945 a hysterical crowd led by ´Bong Tomo´ began a headhunt for any Dutch or Eurasian Dutch person. They were dragged from their homes or picked up on the streets. About 2400 persons were transported in open trucks to the Werfstraat prison. They were mistreated by the hysterical Indonesian crowd and pelopors up to the prison gate. It was even worse within the prison gate. Tens of persons together were physically struck in a horrible manner into the cells.

One of the prison guards warned the British that all the prisoners would be poisoned and the prison set on fire. Jack Boer, a Dutchman in British military service, devised a plan to liberate the prisoners. A Stuart tank shot a hole in the outer and inner wall of the prison, after which Jack Boer and ten Ghurkhas forced their way into the prison. A heavy fire fight ensued with the approximately one hundred prison guards who resisted fiercely. One Ghurkha was killed, but 2384 filthy, emancipated and wounded prisoners were freed. This incident is described in the book of Richard Klaessen, ´MacabreSurabaya’.

Many internment camps were captured and the interned persons liberated after 1945. This did not apply for the whole of theDutch East Indies. The Bersiap period followed after the capitulation ofJapan. Indonesian extremists who were fighting for their independence took command. Almost all of the Dutch, Eurasian Dutch and Europeans who lived in areas not yet liberated were interned by armed Indonesians in the former Japanese internment camps. The prison conditions were the same as when the camps were under Japanese control. There was a deficiency of food, medicines and beds. Many of the interned persons had to sleep on the cold floor without any protection against mosquitoes. Just like in during the Japanese occupation the internees led enormous hunger. Diseases such as malaria, dysentery, skin discoloration and signs of starvation became rampant.

Thousands of civilians also died in the Indonesian internment camps. Although the Second World War had ended in august of 1945, for thousands of civilians it only ended at the end of 1946 and even as late as March 1947.

East Timor.

The Portuguese government let its only colony in the archipelago to fend for themselves. The economic management was left in the hands of the Liurai, the native rulers of the Timorese sovereignties. After the fall of the Portuguese dictator Salazar on the 25th of April 1974, the new Portuguese government intended to make East Timor independent as quickly as possible. Due to this decision by the Portuguese government, three political movements were founded. The Democratic Union (UDT), the United Social Democratic Front (ASDT) and the Apodeti. The first two movements were for total independence. The Apodeti, a people’s democratic movement favoured complete integration with Indonesia. The UDT undertook a successful coup d´etat in the capital Dili, but in August 1975 the ADST, better known as the revolutionary front Fretilin took over power in east Timor. An Indonesian invasion force landed on East Timor on the 7th of December 1975. On the 16th of July 1976 East Timor was declared the 27thprovince ofIndonesia despite heavy resistance from Fretilin guerrillas. The independence ofEast Timor was arranged in a peaceful manner through the intervention of one of the most respected Indonesian consuls, Mesker Tomodock.

The sinking of the Junyo Maru.

“The Japanese rulers began to transfer more prisoners of war from Java to Sumatra in the fall of 1944 when the forces of General MacArthur were re-conquering the Philippines. A railway had to be constructed for the transportation of coal from west to east Sumatra and then on to Singapore. The voyage began on the 15th of September 1944. It was a day where all of us looked upon very reluctantly. On this day 2400 prisoners of war had to travel with the troop transport ship. Two rows of emancipated chosen men climbed on board an old rusty freighter, the Junyo Maru.

A row of European prisoners of war disappeared in the stern of the ship. 2200 persons disappeared in the holds and 200, including myself found a narrow space on the rear deck of the ship. A second row of about 4000 forced labourers disappeared in the holds in the stem of the ship. On the 18th of September we steamed with a speed of 15 to 18 knots along the west coast ofSumatra. We had been lying on the deck under the fierce tropical heat, while at night we were doused by cold tropical rains. Unbelievable misery existed above- and below deck. There was almost no food and drinking water. Moreover, there were no medicines for the sick persons on board. Many lost the courage to keep on living.

Hundreds of us had malaria and dysentery. Some of us became insane in the stinking holds. The living were standing or lying beside the dying and the dead. When I looked through the open hatch, I saw a dark stinking space where persons were standing through one another and lay dripping in their sweat and praying for fresh air. At the instance that I was looking down the hold I felt a tremendous shock going through the ship. A voice screamed through a loudspeaker, ´ stay calm, and the engines has broken down´. Then followed a second shock and an enormous blow somewhere deep below my feet.

Some seconds of complete silence. Chaos, followed by yelling and screaming. The next message was ´Torpedoes, abandon ship´. Panic broke out.

Men jumped over the railing. Others threw rafts in the water. I helped some of the poor devils from below deck to climb up the last steps of the ladder. A mass of bodies kicked, scratched and fought themselves up the only available ladder. Some of them reached the deck covered in blood. I removed my boots, puttees and upper clothing and jumped overboard into the salt water. I was fortunate to get away quickly from the sinking ship. I turned myself around while threading water. What a sight. O, my God, it was a terrible sight I saw. Our transport ship disappeared slowly, very slowly into the depth of the sea. The stern disappeared first, while the bow was sticking high into the air. Hundreds of bodies clamped themselves onto the steep side of the ship, while others just dropped off the side of the ship. Screams, yells, cries and shouts filled the air. A moment later the ship disappeared completely into the depths of the sea. Foam and water bubbles filled the surroundings of where the ship had gone down. A whirlpool formed at the place of death and destruction. I looked at the death and saw a friend. I decided to try and help him with all my remaining strength.

After having to live two and a half years in a camp, I was a living skeleton. In the eyes of the Japanese enemy, we prisoners were nothing more than a piece of living dirt and not worth to be saved.

Would the remaining two ships save me and the other shipwrecked prisoners? Swimming and floating in the ocean, dying of hunger and thirst determined if we would be saved or not. Sometimes it seemed that drowning our only quick way out of this misery was.

A prisoner nearby began to laugh, followed by high sounds, after which he disappeared forever into the depths of the sea. Others followed his example, after coming up to the surface various times.

I had the luck to be able to clamp onto a piece of wood to keep myself floating. Two other men clamped onto the piece of wood. The night we experienced passed slowly. Very slowly. After for me a feeling of endless time, the sun appeared on the horizon. We discerned land far away with a gigantic pool of water all around us. ´Ship, a ship´ I heared someone call out. ´Where, what is it doing? ´ But the ship didn’t move.

Floating and thrashing and hanging onto a piece of wood, I felt my heart rhythm increase. The temperature of the sea was tropical, and here we thrashed around without any form of protection. My tong was dry, I was screaming for water and my body was in pain. I saw many a fellow prisoner go down screaming and with a distorted face into the deep six. I myself had also reached the point of where I had to choose between life and death. Suddenly, a voice inside of me said´ choose your goal and go for it. Your belief in nature is the only thing that can save you! ´

As of that moment I took the initiative. I swam in the direction of the probable Japanese ship with all my remaining strength. I dragged the piece of wood with the other persons who clamped on it with me. My thoughts and my inner self forced me with my last remaining strength to swim…swim…swim. My body and muscles ached from the pain, but a voice inside me kept on commanding me to swim, swim, and keep on going hour after hour.

The ship became larger and larger by the hour. I asked myself and hoped that the ship wouldn’t sail away at any moment. A voice inside of me called out faster, swim faster and I crawled with all my strength through the water. As soon as I felt that I was safe I let go of the piece of wood on which I had floated and was able to come around and swam with my last remaining strength the last meters to the ship. I was able to clamp on a chain or a piece of rope at the last moment, just before the ship began to move. People, probably fellow prisoners of war, hoisted me finally on board.

Silently I prayed to god. Somebody gave me drinking water. I forced myself to stay on my feet. I knew that the Japs disliked weaklings and certainly those who were almost dead. After going through this hell of sea water, I had no intention of letting the Japs throw me overboard again.

A few days later we arrived inPadang, and I saw some men walking who had clamped with men on the piece of wood in trying to get to the ship. They too were after a few days hoisted aboard a ship and saved. I have never seen these men again for the rest of my life.

The day after I was put to work by the Japs on theSumatrarailroad. We were obliged to sometimes work 12 hours a day. Our only clothing was a ´tjawet´ (loin cloth); we walked bare feet and had to be satisfied with the bare minimum of food and water.

If you didn’t work hard enough in the opinion of the Japs we, the prisoners, were beaten and kicked. This situation lasted almost a year. Many fellow prisoners died in this hell.

Only a few persons seemed to have survived the ship’s disaster after we were liberated. The event is qua seriousness, feelings and mental experience unable to be described on paper. There remains for me only the thankfulness to the greatness of Mother Nature.

Excerpt from the story of Mr. W. Wanrooy/ out OWTS.

This story was related to the author by Mr. F. Aarts who was himself also on board a ship with prisoners that was torpedoed. He jumped overboard and survived.

The Barong dance ofBali.

The friendly looking dragon type animal Barong appears against a background scenery of a temple court. It is played by two actors, one in the head and the other in the tail of the animal. Barong represents the good and protects the village against the evil witch Rangda. At the same time Barong is a naughty creature that loves childish play and fun. He dances around in the temple court, clicks his teeth against the gamelan orchestra and enjoys the cries of happiness of a group of men armed with kerisses.

Then Rangha the witch appears with her long hanging tong, human intestines around her neck, and poisonous teeth in her mouth and claw nails on the tip of her fingers. Barong stops playing the clown and becomes the protector of the village.

The two creatures duel with their magical powers. Barong seems to lose the battle, but at that moment the men with the kerisses in their hands come to the aid of Barong.

Rangda makes a move with her hand and brings the Keris dancers into a trance forcing them to use the Keris against themselves. The Barong stops the men from using the Keris against themselves, The Keris dances are made delirious with froth on their mouths by the gamelan music. Rangda finally leaves, defeated by the good powers of Barong.

Burung kakatua

Burung kakatua

Hinggap di jendela

Nenek sudah tua

Giginya tinggal dua


Letdum letdum letdum oh la la

Letdum letdum letdum oh la la

Letdum letdum letdum oh la la

Adang botol kosong

Isi aer gula

Ada oma ompong

Gigainya tinggal dua


Topi saya bundar

Bundar topi saya

Kalau tidak bundar

Bukan topi saya


Burung saya besar

Besar Burung saya

Kalau tidak besar

Bukan Burung saya

Gamelan instruments.

A Gamelan instrument is never the same. The Gamelan is adjusted to the preferred tone sort and the scale differences. The following instruments can be part of a Gamelan ensemble.

  • The Rebab. This is an instrument with two copper strings and an almost heart shaped sound encasing which is played as a violin.
  • The Kendhang. This is a drum that is played with the hands on both sides. It is the leading instrument which also establishes the rhythm.
  • The Suling. This is a bamboo flute.
  • The Bonang. The Bonang consists of a double row of kettle drums in a horizontal frame and is played with two wooden sticks lie a xylophone.
  • The Saron. This instrument plays the core melody with two small wooden hammers and is similar to the xylophone with bronze bars.
  • The Slenthem. Just like the Sarong this instrument plays a core melody and has the bass function because of its low octaves.
  • The Gender. This is similar to the Slenthem, but has more bronze bars.
  • The Gambang. This also looks like a xylophone, but is the only instrument with hard wooden keys.
  • The Gong. The Gong is made of bronze, hangs in a wooden frame and is about90 centimetresin diameter.

The first newspapers in theDutch East Indies.

The first weekly newspaper ´De Batavische Courant´ appeared in 1816 succeeded by the ´Javasche Courant´ newspaper. The newspaper was filled mainly with official bulletins, advertisements and censured news. At that time the news was scrutinized by the government and heavily censured.

The weekly paper ´De Java bode´ was founded in 1852. The masterly articles of Busken Huet ensured that the newspaper’s sales increased. Zentgraaff was the editor-in-chief until 1940.

The newspaper ´De Locomotief´ also appeared in1852 inSemarang. This newspaper was aimed at the ethnical population and had additions in Javanese, Chinese and Arabic. This newspaper is the front runner of the later independent Indonesian newspapers.

The ´Oostpost´ was founded in1853 inSurabaya. This was succeeded in 1866 by the largest cultural and economic newspaper ´Het Soerabajasch Handelsblad´. In 1885 appeared ´Het Bataaviasch Nieuwsblad, first under Daum and later under Zaalberg. Zaalberg was a fervent advocate for the rights of the Eurasian population, and was involved the founding of Eurasian parties under which the Indo European Union.

An essay over Pramudya Ananta Tur.

Tur was as a child influenced by the nationalistic ideas of his father. His father had, after teaching at a Eurasian school, changed over to the Budi Utomo movement. This movement was founded in 1908 for the advancement of the social and cultural development of the Javanese population.

During his youth Tur had learned to hate the Dutch, but at a later age he realized that it was not the people but the system that was bad. Long before the proclamation of independence of the Republic Indonesian 1945, Tur showed implicitly that something had been brewing for a long time in theDutch East Indies. At the same time he showed that Indonesian nationalism was not imported fromJapan, but that its roots grew long before the First World War.

Den Boef writes about the writer that the combined works from Tur indicates that he was an individualist, devoted to democratic and humanistic values and had more appreciation for the spiritual and personal side of religion than for dogmatic religious organizations.

Especially the last remains even in the presentIndonesiaa difficult question.

The Wajang.

The Wajang and especially the Wajang game has according to Pramudya Ananta Tur, one of the greatest writers ofIndonesia, become obsolete.

The Javanese people have grown up with the Mahabharata, the Indian hero saga, and according to the writer is the cultural education on Java based on outdated images from a long lost past.

Most performances are based on vague stories, where the knight caste plays the most important role. The ordinary people are almost never involved in the stories of the Wajang performances.

The knights fight each other yearning for power and live for power. Bloodbaths are the result. Even under the brothers of the main character. The images of the characters are not persons or characters, but characters recognizable by their resemblance of the same facial appearance, the same clothing and stereotype behaviour.

The story is mainly also determined by tradition, with the characteristics of grotesque and unrealism. The inspiration which comes forth from this is translated to military power, while the New Order uses the images to symbolise the excellence of military power. The writer envisions the contrary, the defeat. It is therefore thatIndonesiahas never been free.

Important characters in the Wajang performances are amongst others Tjokro and Garèng.

The Tjongklak game of western Java.

The Tjongklak game or dakon is played on Tjongklak board. A flat long wooden plank, which has two rows of seven undeep round hollows(pots).On both ends of the board are two larger hollows (the main hollows). The game is played with small shells, small round beach stones or the pits of fruits, etc. It is a strategic game for two persons. Every player has a row of seven hollows and main hollow.

The game is played counter clockwise. The game starts by filling the two rows of seven hollows with seven shells. The main hollows remain empty. The idea is to fill the main hollow with as much shells as possible (bringing them home).

The first player takes all the shells out of one of his hollow and begins to ´walk´ by depositing a shell in each following hollow. The main hollow of the opponent is skipped. If the player finishes in his own main hollow, then the player can continue ´walking´ from any hollow. If the player finishes in an empty hollow of the opponent or in an empty hollow of his own, he looses his turn. In the last case all the shells are deposited in the opposite hollow as a bonus for his own main hollow. The game ends when one of the players is unable to make a move. The shells in the main hollows are counted and the player with the most shells wins the game.

The preparations of a rooster for a fight.

Every participant has his own particular manner of preparing his rooster for a fight, and every area inIndonesiauses their own methods. The owner/trainer will feed his rooster in a special way.

The rooster is clamped between the knees and small balls consisting of cooked rice mixed with raw meat and seeds are propped down his throat. The rooster has to swallow the small balls in one piece so his larynx is stretched and he can breathe more while fighting. After that a raw egg with rasped kemiri (a nut that is also an ingredient by cooking) is slid down his throat.

The paws and thighs are firmly massaged and the wings, breast and neck are rubbed in with wet fingers dipped in thee. This form of massage is called ´Uwet´. The rooster becomes very shiny and strong. Some owners strengthen the muscles of the rooster by making him swim upstream in a river. One of the best known breeds of fighting roosters is the ´Jago ajam Bankok´. This is a breed of roosters with a small head, high paws and normally a small comb and flanges.

A comb or throat flanges (gombel) that are too large are cut off with a sharp piece of bamboo skin (a primitive bamboo knife), otherwise the rooster could be hit too easily. Thereafter the rooster is placed in a bamboo cage beside the cage of a smaller rooster. This weaker rooster greets his neighbour with upstanding neck feathers out of fear. The intention is that the smaller rooster continuously makes escape movements in his fear psychosis, through which the larger rooster increases his guts.

The Indonesians love rooster fights. In some areas sharpened curved razor blades are tied to their spurs. The fighting arena is about four by four meters and around the arena stand or squat attentive on looking, mainly male, spectators. The roosters are compared with each other before the fight on their sight, their capability to fight each other and their equality. The chosen roosters are then brought into the arena by their owners. The owners/trainers take place in a squat position behind their roosters. At a short distance of each other to intimidate their roosters against each other. The roosters for their part try to tear themselves away from the hands of the owners/trainers to fight each other. For a while the roosters are set up against each other so they will become intimidated and ready to fight each other. The roosters run towards each other after they had been led loose after the starting signal, after which the fight begins while the spectators cheer loudly. The roosters try to nick each other and try with their spurs, with or without razorblades, to cut down each other. The fight continues until one of the roosters bloodied and wounded flees from the arena or dies on the spot.

It is obvious that during the fight intensive gambling takes place between the owners and the spectators. The stakes are, just like with any gambling game, very high. The Indonesian authorities have strongly forbidden the rooster fights. This doesn’t stop the gamblers and the spectators to hold the rooster fights on secret locations and to continue their clandestine activities. A good fighting rooster is, beside the gambling profits, when sold worth a lot of money.

Rooster fights are held all overAsia.

Krontjong music.

The fado was introduced inIndonesiaby the Portuguese. The fado is a form of music which originated inBraziland became well-known inPortugaland later was considered to be typical Portuguese.

The Eurasian population developed from this a form of music that later became popular as Krontjong music. The five snare beat instrument was replaced by the guitar. The name of the music is derived from the sound that the finger beat makes over the snares, kron…tjong.

The most well-known Krontjong song ´Nina Bobo´ contains the Portuguese origin. Nina is derived from ´Menina´ meaning girl and ´Bobo´ from the old Portuguese for sleeping. One of the best known Krontjong songs at the present is ´Terang Bulan´. The melody of this song became later the melody of the Malaysian national anthem.

Terang bulan                       - the moon shines

Terang bulan di kali           - the moon shines in the river

Buaja timbul             - the crocodile comes up

Disangkahla mati.   - you believe he is dead.

Djangan pertjaja      - never trust

Mulut lelaki               - the word of a man

Berani sumpah        - who swears he is brave

Tapi takut mati.        - but is afraid to die.

The Pasar Malam (evening market).

The Pasar Malam in theDutch East Indieswas not just an evening market. It was an organised evening market which was a combination of a festival, a trade fair, a fair and a folk’s party. This yearly event grew out in the cities of theDutch East Indiesto become the meeting place from east and west. Europeans, Indonesians and persons from the surrounding Asiatic countries came as visitors and/or participants.

The writer and publicist Jan Boon had this mixture of many cultures in his mind when he organized the first Pasar Malam inThe Haguemore than 47 years ago. He was able to finance the newly founded art group ´Tong-Tong´ from the proceeds. But Boon wanted especially to preserve the Eurasian culture which identified the hundreds of thousands repatriated Eurasians from the formerDutch East Indies. His goal was to carry this out via the Pasar Malam and his magazine ´Tong Tong´. After 45 years the name was changed to the Pasar Malam Besar. Every year around 125000 visitors come to the Pasar Malam Besar, and one can truly speak of a great Eurasian festival. Cabaret, dances, expositions and lectures form an important integral part of the whole of the activities.

Budi Utomo.

Especially in circles of the lower Javanese nobility (prijaji), there was a notable interest for direct causal interest. The Budi Utomo (the graceful aim) organization was founded in 1908 as a result if this. The initiator was Dr. Wahidin Sudirohusodo.

Wahidin tabled a proposal at the School for Education of Native Physicians. (STOVIA) inBataviato set up an educational fund to promote western style education. His proposal was backed by the royal house of Paku Alam inDjokjakarta. The aim was to re-instate the Javanese kingdom. Education and emancipation were also two of the main ideals. The aim to re-live the past caused a split in the organization. Tjipto Mngukussumo intended to turn the organization into a political party to stimulate education for the people based on western style education. He proposed this in order to break through the stagnating Javanese culture and the traditional hierarchy. The majority of the older prijaji led by Wahidin were against this proposal and Tjipto left the organization. There was no way that within the Budi Utomo a change to a political party would be allowed.

The Asmat tribe.

The Asmat tribe lives in the swamp area between theDigulRiverand Mimika in southernNew Guinea. The name ´Asmat´ means ´those who are carved out of wood´. One of the creation myths relates the story about an ancestor, Fumerjipitsj, who drowned at the entrance of a large river during one of his wanderings.

The mighty sea eagle War brought Fumerjipitsj back to life by pressing soldering pieces of wood against his body. After that Fumerjipitsj began carving male and female wooden figures out of trees. He placed the figures in the communal dwelling (jeu) of the Asmat tribe. He filled the whole dwelling with wooden figures. Then he carved a magnificent sounding drum out of wood and began to play on the drum. The figures began to move to the rhythm of the drum. If he played faster and louder on the drum, the figures came to life. The Asmat people regard these first living figures as their ancestors.

The Asmat wood carvings are considered to be the best traditional wood carvings in the world. All the wooden custom made objects are carved artistically. Sharp grinded pieces of stone or shells are used for the artistically carvings. The Asmat people (Asmat jepits) themselves do not place a high esthetical value on their wood carvings. The figures serve as a medium to contact the sprit world. In honour and remembrance of this spirit world, they carve a ´bisj-pole´. This pole can be compared with the totem pole of the North American Indians.

The Stambul Comedy Theatre Group.

The Stambul Comedy was a travelling theatre group. The performers of the theatre group consisted of Eurasians and Indonesians and were very popular under the ordinary Eurasians. The Europeans and ´sophisticated´ Eurasians avoided the theatre group because of the coarse contents of the performances. The spoken word and songs during the performance were a mixture of Malayan, Chinese, Dutch and Javanese. The performances were messy and very amateuristic. But nobody worried about this.

The purpose of the performance was, with the use of much screaming spoken satirical plays, to catch the attention and to provoke noisy comments from the audience. The audience was during the performance busy gossiping, smoking and eating. The audience screamed at the performers who without taking notice of this finished their performance. It meant a successful evening for the performers if it was a noisy mess in the hall.

During the thirties of the previous century a certain ´ Miss Ribut´ became the main performer. This lady’s performances justify her name. Her performances distinguished themselves by much spectacle, noisiness, much racket and excitement. She became famous throughout the whole of theDutch East Indies. Records were cut for many of her songs. She even performed on the Dutch East Indies Broadcasting Company (NIROM).


Literally (originally) Adat means custom. It is the total of all local values and customs in every way of life. The Adat specifies the association between persons, the agricultural cycle, the care for the sick, the ancestral worshipping, the right to marry, property rights and which clothing to wear. The harmony is guaranteed if one lives according to the rules of the Adat. The Adat dictates the association forms between people. It dictates the hunt, jurisdiction, agriculture, etc.

The ancestors guard over the continuance of the harmony and the observance of the Adat rules. They are the medium between humans and the gods, between the earthly world and the heavenly world.

The ancestors can punish an offender who has breached the Adat rules. If the ancestral spirits are dissatisfied with the non-compliance of the Adat rules, they can express their angriness in a variety of ways. The descendants can experience set backs or small inconveniences. The ancestral spirits can also cause illnesses, natural disasters, epidemics and even the death of the offender.

Rampok Matjan.

The Javanese believed that a human soul lived within a tiger and that the tiger had the capability to change into a human form. The ´king of the jungle´ was feared by the population and they were very afraid to hunt the animal.

The ritual killing of a tiger was, on orders of the sovereign, done by the complete community and not by a sole person. He ran the risk to be cursed by the soul of the tiger.

A number of cages in which tigers, leopards and panthers are locked up are placed in a row on a large field. A square of men formed in rows of three, armed with lances is formed at a safe distance. The first row of men hold their lances in a horizontal position. The second row hold their lances slanted and the third row vertical.

The cage of the animal is opened and by the use of fire or other means the animal is forced to vacate the cage. In his attempts to flee he encountered the horizontal lance bearers and fell back onto the ground. The animal attempted other escape routes, but was forced to retreat every time. Infuriated and wounded, the animal made a last attempt to break through the cordon and impaled itself on the vertical lances and fell mortally wounded on the ground. The lance bearers now approached the animal and finished it off with strokes of their lances. After this, the ritual was repeated by opening the second cage.

Rampok actually means to violently take away or obtain illegal ownership.


During the British colonial period, Eurasian children developed their own street language which consisted of English and the local native language. This is known as Pidgin English. The same occurred in theDutch East Indies. The children of Dutch fathers and native mothers also developed their own street language known as Petjoh.

The Petjoh language probably originated in the second half of the nineteenth century on Java. The children who grew up in families of which the father was Dutch and the mother Indonesian or Eurasian grew up with Malaysian or Javanese as their street language.

They learned Dutch words from their father and during their education at school, and adapted their daily street language accordingly.

Petjoh contained many words which during the colonial period emphasized the European blood that flowed through their veins. It was a verbal form of differentiating between a Eurasian and an Indonesian. Below follow some expressions that were used in the Petjoh language.

A definition of Eurasians by white persons.

Indo kesasar:
A lost Eurasian who felt more at home in white                                                 surroundings.

Indo tempeh:
A poor Eurasian who lived in the countryside.

Hidung pesek:
A person with a flat nose, the sign of a native. The                                                 more pointed the nose was, the more ´beautiful ´.

Sekolah djongkok:
A nickname for a native village school or squat school.

Londo Bangsat:
Dutch bastard.

Londo godong:
A Eurasian who tries to imitate the Dutch.

Housemaid or concubine of a white bachelor. If he

married her he lost his chance for promotion.

Musicians and musical associations in theDutch East Indies.

The newly arrived troops from The Netherlands marched into theCastleofBataviato the tunes of music during the V.O.C. period. Music was also played if the victors were greeted in the Council Room and by officially organized parties. The servants of the company and the civilians each had their own method of making music.

These were lovers of music who without having studied music, without musical notes, without instrument makers tried to give their life meaning by playing music as a hobby. The instruments were faulty or they suffered from the climate. They were not always repairable. Under the slaves were violinists, cellists and harp players. They were encouraged to form house orchestras. The Governor General had around1740 ahouse orchestra consisting of fifteen slaves.

It was only in 1848 that the music association ´Aurora´ was founded inBatavia. Musicians and lovers of music found each other in a common interest association. A second music association was also founded inBatavia, but they merged very quickly to become the musical association ´Toonkunst Aurora´ (Tone artAurora). The volunteer orchestra Toonkunst Aurora has provided musical entertainment for almost sixty years for the Dutch public ofBatavia.

Fighting kites.

Glass twine was used in theDutch East Indiesin order to be able to fight other kites in the sky (adu lalangan). The idea is to manoeuvre by a vigorous manual movement your kite after taking a dive or a sharp climb is in such a position so the kite of your opponent is encircled and that the twines of both kites cross each other. At that instant you slacken your twine and so cut the twine of your opponent with your twine. Your rival is then ´pedot´ which means cut loose and the defeated kite whirls to the ground like a falling leave in the wind. To win a kite fight depends upon the manoeuvrability of the kite, the tactics used by the kite owner and the sharpness of the glass twine. By slackening or hauling in very quickly after the glass twines have touched each other, friction occurs. The best glass twine will then cut the glass twine of the opponent’s kite.

The recipe of a glass twine:

  • Mash the glass fine in a mortar bowl (any glass for that matter),
  • Put a piece of wood glue (kak) in a tin of water on a low fire until it has turned into a syrup,
  • Stir the mashed glass through the syrup,
  • Take needle thread nr. 30 or 40 with a minimum length of500 metres,
  • Place the needle thread loosely rolled upon a stone,
  • Place the rolled up needle thread in the ´kak´,
  • Carefully take one end and tie it to a tree and then stretch the glass twine between two trees. Let it dry between the trees.

The glass twine is rolled around a reel (golongan) as soon as it is completely dry. The reel is made from an empty tin of which the top and the bottom are removed. A piece of wood is placed inside the empty space of the tin and serves as a handle. This type of reel prevents that the hand is in the way by slackening or hauling in the glass twine.

Bull fights.

The phenomena bull fighting is also known inIndonesia. They are held regularly near thevillageofTapenon east Java. The bulls belong to the Zebu breed. To prepare a bull for the bull fight they are placed into solitary confinement and trained for months. This causes the bulls to be loaded with energy and are able to attack any other bull as soon as they are released. The arena is approximately 40 by40 metresand is only surrounded by a wooden fence. The spectators stand or sit around the fence. The bull fight begins as soon as two bulls are released into the arena. Heavy betting takes place about the result. The fight ends if one bull runs away, is wounded or dies on the spot. It is apparent that the fight takes place between two bulls. In the hinterland ofCelebes(Toradja) similar fights are held on an open field between two oxen. It stands to reason that the owners and spectators gable heavily on the eventual winner.

On the Moluccans and Madura races between oxen are held every six months. Two oxen hare hitched in front of a primitive chariot without wheels. The chariot consists of two rough poles with a length of five metres running parallel to each other and attached to each other by cross beams and a yoke attached up front to which the oxen are hitched. The racer stands1,5 metresfrom the rear on a sort of rack. The race begins as soon as all participants, four or five, are in position beside each other on a sandy terrain especially reserved for the race. All hell breaks loose after the starting signal. The oxen drag the chariot to the finish which lies 100 to 200 further.

The racer spurs his oxen on to the finish with shouts and the crack of a whip. As stands to reason heavy gambling takes place over the eventual winner.

The following short stories concern discussions between two young men in Petjoh. This is the street language spoken by Eurasian Dutch children. In the British colonies they had a similar language called Pidgin English. It is not feasible to translate Petjoh into English as it would change the meaning of the contents of the short stories.

De Assistent-resident.


“Een assistent-resident, wat doet hij toch eigenlijk?”

“Hij is een binnenlandse bestuursambtenaar”.

“Ja maar, wat doet hij bij de BB?”

“Bijna altijd praten over een totok. Een pure Hollander die in Leiden of Utrecht in de rechtswetenschappen is afgestudeerd en dus Meester in de Rechten is”.

“Goh, een geleerde, ja”.

“Hij is hoofd van een van de afdelingen van een residentie. Soms zijn er wel vijf afdelingen en zijn er dan ook vijf AR´s werkzaam binnen zo´n residentie. Voor hem werken controleurs, opzieners en beambten. Zij innen de belastingen, houden toezicht op de landbouw, beheren gebouwen en waterstaatswerken, voeren politie taken uit, etc.”

“Nooit geweten dat ze zo veel werk hebben zeg”.

“Het moeilijkste voor de AR is dat hij moet samenwerken met de Regent van de streek. De Adipati of Pangeran (prins). Want die is de vorst van de bevolking en hij is van adel. Volgens instructies van hogerhand moet de AR de Regent beschouwen als zijn ´jongere broer´. En als de AR werkkrachten nodig heeft voor de bouw van bruggen, wegen en gebouwen zegt hij tegen de Regent dat hij mensen nodig heeft.”

“En als hij niet wil, die Regent?”

“Dan wordt de AR overgeplaatst. Hij heeft dan zijn ´jongere broer´ niet goed aangepakt”.


“Weet jij wat ze bedoelen met Herendienst?”

“Is dat niet iets met godsdienst. Je dient de Heer?”

“Nee man. Dat heeft er niks mee te maken. Het zit zo. Herendiensten waren verplichte hand en span diensten die de Indonesische bevolking moest leveren aan het gouvernement”.

“En hoe dan, die lui?”

“Zelfs begin 1900 werd op Java en Madoera nog mankracht gevorderd voor tamelijk zware diensten. De mannen werden ingezet bij de bouw van spoorbruggen en de aanleg van wegen en waterwerken. Dat betekende dus hakken van rotsblokken uit de bergwanden, werken in zandafgravingen en het vervoer van al dit materiaal naar de werkplek. En verder het onderhoud van de wegen en waterwerken, etc”.

“En wat kregen ze daarvoor?”

“Nul komma nul. Niks. Het gouvernement zag een herendienst als een belasting in natura. Er stond geschreven dat er bij primitieve volkeren belasting in natura (arbeid) dikwijls de voorkeur heeft boven belasting in geld”.

“Ja, die kerels waren gek”.

“Nou, die kerels gehoorzaamden hun vorst, de Adipati of Pangeran blindelings. Dat is hun adat. De vorst zorgde voor de mankracht en kreeg daarvoor een vergoeding”.

“Kassian, die lui. Door maar door te werken voor meneer de Tokok en meneer de Regent. En dan voor niks”.

De voorspelling.

“Wist jij dat er al eerder is voorspeld dat op een dag wij uit dit land geflikkerd worden?”

“Ja, dat had ik jou ook wel kunnen voorspellen toen de Jappen hier net nog waren”.

“Nee, al veel en veel eerder heeft de Javaanse koning Djojobojo die voorspelling gedaan. Hij was koning van het rijk van Kediri en regeerde van 1135 tot ongeveer 1157. Dus dat is zo ongeveer 800 jaar geleden”.

“En wat zei hij, die orang”.

“Toen al voorspelde hij letterlijk dat Java onafhankelijk zou worden nadat de blanken verslagen waren en een geel volk honderd dagen had geheerst”.

“Ach, kan toch niet. Er waren nog niet eens blanken aan de horizon te bekennen. Die vent wist toen nog niet eens hoe blanken eruit zagen”.

“Luister nou. Hij voorspelde dat er eerst blanken, dat zijn dus totoks op Java zouden zijn en die werden verslagen door Japanners, dat weet je. Daarna zou een geel volk, Japanners dus, een tijdje over Java gaan heersen. Pas daarna zou Java onafhankelijk zijn”.

“Ja, als je het zo zegt”.

“Djojobojo´s naam is bij de Javanen van vandaag nog steeds bekend. Zelfs Soekarno heeft in zijn speeches die naam verschillende malen aangehaald”.

“Djojobojo zeg je…nooit van gehoord”.

De tranen van Mona.

“Oogvocht, dat zijn toch eigenlijk alleen tranen?”

“Ja. Je zegt, haar ogen zijn vochtig van het huilen”.

“Oh, dan snap ik toch goed”.

“Wat snap je?”

“Nou, jij kent Paatje Si-Blaga toch? Met zijn mooie dochter Mona. Daar ben ik verliefd op. En ik wil eigenlijk met haar trouwen. En toen had ik zo gedacht, ja, ik vraag haar hand aan Paatje. Dus ben ik naar hem toegegaan en ik zei tegen hem, Paatje, ik heb 10.000 roepiah in mijn spaarpot, mag ik met uw lieve dochter Mona trouwen?”

“En toen?”

“Toen zei hij, voor 100.000 roepiah kan jij nog niet eens het oogvocht van Mona kopen. Weer na eventjes handelen ben ik nar Paatje toegegaan en ik zei toen dat ik 1 miljoen roepiah had. Koerang zei hij weer”.

“En toen?”.

“Toen ben ik naar Mona gegaan en ik heb gezegd, lieve Mona, ik kan niet met je trouwen. Jouw vader zegt, dat je van binnen helemaal vol zit met oogvocht”.

Aziatisch ontwaken.

“Tjoba, jij bent toch van de HBS?”.

“Ja, waarom?”

“Ik zag vanmorgen in een tijdschrift een plaatje van een tijger met zijn grote bek wijd open en daar stond bij ´Reveil!!Ontsnapt!!´ Verder niks over waar en wanneer die Reveiltijger is ontsnapt”.

“Laat zien! Ach, dat is een politieke plaat. Er is nergens een tijger ontsnapt. Dit is geen echte tijger. Kijk maar…in de strepen op zijn rug…daar staan de namen van landen gedrukt…Turkije, Japan, Brits Indië, de Filippijnen!, China en een paar keer Indonesia”.

“Lo, ik dacht dat deze tijger in die landen voorkomt”.

“Luister, daar gaat het juist om. In die landen is de geest van de tijger ontwaakt. Reveil betekent ontwaakt, ´bangoenlah´!...Japan is ontwaakt en heeft Rusland verslagen. Jong Turkije bracht zijn sultan ten val. China bracht het keizerrijk ten val en er kwam een republiek onder Sun Jat Sen. De Filippijnen krijgen zelfbestuur van de Amerikanen en in Brits Indië werd Mahatma Gandhi de nationalistische leider. Overal zijn Aziatische landen bezig overheersing en dictatuur van zich af te schudden. Met of zonder geweld. En dat is precies wat Soekarno ook wil. Los van Holland. Eigen bestuur”.

“Lah-illah, volgens mij moet jij in de Volksraad gaan zitten. Dan komen de indo´s eindelijk aan de macht”.


“Ben jij wel eens in Bukittingi geweest?”.

“Nee, waar ligt dat precies?”.

“In Sumatra, midden Sumatra. In dat berggebied woont het Minangkabau volk. Maar ga daar maar niet naar toe want dan val je onder het regiem van vrouwen. Je hebt als kerel geen moer te vertellen”.

“Saaie boel zeg. En hoe komt dat nou?”.

“Nou, dat stamt nog uit de tijd dat Atjeh een groot Mohammedaans rijk was. De sultan regeerde over bijna heel Sumatra en een deel van Maleisië”.

“OK, maar nu die Minangkabause vrouwen?”.

“Op een dag ging de vorst van Minangkabau met zijn familie naar de Sultan van Atjeh om daar hormat te betonen. Ze voeren met hun boot dicht langs de kust. Plotseling liep de boot op een klif en kon niet verder. Alle jongelui sprongen in het water om de boot los te trekken, maar de twee zonen van de vorst voelden zich te hoog voor dat werk. Dat maakte de vorst en zijn vrouw erg boos.

Zij onterfden hun twee zonen. Alle bezittingen gaven ze aan de neven en nichten, dus aan de kinderen van de zuster van de vorst. En zo komt het dat altijd de zuster van de overleden man alles erft”.

“Dus als ik Minangkabauer zou zijn, dan zou mijn zuster Fietje alles krijgen en mijn kinderen niets?”.

“Precies. Ze noemen dat matriarchaal erfrecht”.

Pantja Sila (nationalisme).

“Die Soekarno, wat wil hij toch?”.

“Nou, hij droomt dat hij president wordt van het land Ind00onesië. Hij wil alle eilanden, wateren en zeeën daartussen van Sumatra tot Papua tot een staat Indonesië maken. Een nationale staat voor alle mensen”.

“Ya-illah, hij wel, die vent”.

“Nationalisme wil hij erin beuken. Natie zit in dat woord en nationaal zit in dat woord. Alle inwoners van alle eilanden moeten een natie vormen. Niet het eiland of de streek waar zij wonen is belangrijk, nee, binnen de grenzen van de gehele archipel ligt voortaan hun woongebied. Iedereen moet Indonesiër worden”.

“Ja maar, een Dajak is toch geen Javaan en een Papua is toch geen Minangkabauer en…hun uiterlijk is anders, hun adat is anders…ze eten varkens of karbouwen of sapi of hond en dan nog vereren ze slangen of panters of tijgers”.

“Precies, neem nou die tijgers. Er zijn Sumatraanse tijgers, Javaanse tijgers, Balinese tijgers, en…”.

“Ja maar, dat zijn toch allemaal tijgers”.

“Precies. Dus wil Soekarno dat je alle tijgers niet hun eilanden naam geeft maar voortaan Indonesische tijgers noemt”.

“Allah, gelukkig maar dat de meeste tijgers een kort leven hebben, ja. Niet langer dan twintig jaar toch”.

Kampong economie.

“Weet je dat Soekarno met zijn Pantja Sila eigenlijk bedoelde dat de Indonesiërs hun identiteit alleen kunnen terugvinden als ze gaan leven zoals vroeger in de kampongs van voor de Nederlandse tijd?”.

“Dat is betul long ago. Maar waarvoor?”.

“ Nou, daar heerste nog het Javaanse principe ´gotong rojong´, dat ´betekent wederzijdse hulp voor elkaar´. Want in de kampong helpt de een de ander b.v. bij de bouw van zijn huis en dan helpt de ander de een bij het oogsten van de padi op zijn sawah. Begrijp je?”

“Met zonder betaling, deze?”

“Gotong rojong heeft niks met geld verdienen te maken. Dat is de adat in de kampong. Wat jij denkt dat is kapitalisme. Nee, gotong rojong is precies het tegenovergestelde, het is socialisme. Een voor allen en allen voor een”.

“Ja, maar wie betaalt die vent zijn huis dan?”

“Ajo nou, zijn huis is toch van bamboe en bamboe groeit toch in het wild, Zijn dak is van atapbladeren en hij gebruikt geen spijkers maar bamboe vezels. Kost niks”.

“Ja, maar waarom gaat hij dan die ander op zijn sawah helpen? Zeker om zijn oogst te helpen opeten? Lekker gratis zeg. En wie betaalt de pedah (vis) bij de rijst?”.

“Ach, weet je, dat is denk ik wat Soekarno bedoelt met kampong economie. Zoek het zelf maar uit”.

“Die oom van jou in de desa Tjikalong heeft ook een grote vruchtentuin, zeg”.

“Ja, ongeveer driekwart bouw, maar hoeveel vierkante meter dat eigenlijk is, weet ik niet”.

“Nou, een bouw is 7.096.50 vierkante meter, dus driekwart bouw is ongeveer5.322 vierkante meter, dat is ongeveer 53 are of iets meer dan een halve hectare”.

“Goh, je lijkt wel een landmeter zeg”.

“Ik zag allerlei soorten vruchtbomen staan. Als ik even terugdenk heeft hij vruchtbomen zoals nangka, rode djamboe bol, witte djamboe air, malindjo, doekoe, ramboetan, doerian, mangga, mangistan, een paar klapper- en palmoliebomen en bamboe.

En dan zag ik in zijn groetentuin ook nog ketela, oebi, boontjes, katjang pandjang, kool, tomaat en lemoen. Hij kan met zijn gezinnetje gemakkelijk van al die vruchten en groenten leven, maar dan heeft hij toch veel te veel. Geeft veel weg?”.

“Nou ja, zijn vrouw verkoopt de vruchten en groenten natuurlijk op de pasar. En soms ruilen ze vruchten voor andere zaken die ze nodig hebben, zoals huishoudartikelen, keukengerei, textiel of garen, dat soort dingen. Daarnaast geeft hij af en toe gewoon iets weg”.

“Hij is zeker veel in zijn tuin bezig?”.

“Eerst het werk op de sawah. En dan pas in de tuin. Dat is wat je noemt de echte kontri laif”.

De kracht van het getal.

“Geloof jij in de macht van het getal?”.

“Ja, als je veel geld hebt dan ben je machtig, toch?”

“Dat bedoel ik niet. Ik bedoel, geloof je dat een bepaald getal jou geluk brengt. Neem nou bijvoorbeeld zo´n Soekarno, hij wilde per se vijf principes in zijn Pantja Sila stoppen. Waarom? Omdat hij van symboliek houdt, zegt hij. Het moeten er vijf zijn omdat de Islam vijf riten kent. Omdat er aan elke hand vijf vingers zitten. Omdat wij allemaal vijf zintuigen bezitten. Omdat er in de Mahabharata vijf pendawas figureren. Dus daarom moest naar zijn mening het onafhankelijke vaderland Indonesië op vijf principes berusten”.

“Nou ja, als hij dat gelooft. De onafhankelijkheid van Indonesië is geproclameerd op 17 augustus 1945, ja?”.

“Ja, dat is hun bevrijdingsdag”.

“Nou, dan zou ik zeggen dat zijn Indonesia plan moet bestaan uit zeventien hoofdstukken, acht boeken, en negentien honderd en vijf en veertig bladzijden. Want 17.8.1945 is hun bevrijdingsdag en hun geluksdag”.

“Weet je wat het met jou is, jij maakt altijd een grapje van serieuze zaken”.

“Sorry! Maar wat denk je van het volgende. Neem nou die datum 17.8.1945, en tel de getallen bij elkaar op. Dat geeft 1970. Nou in dat jaar is immers Soekarno overleden”.


“Op een dag heb ik mijn oom geholpen in de vestibule van de Volksraad met hoeden, petten en wandelstokken op te bergen op de juiste plekken. En toen ik niks meer te doen had ben ik stilletjes binnen gaan kijken. Mocht wel van de bewakers”.

“Zo, nou dan heb je mee gezien dan ik. Ik ken dat Staatscollege allen van mijn lessen staatsinrichting op de HBS. Waar hadden ze het over?”.

“Weet ik veel. Je denkt toch niet dat ik onthou wat die lui daar zeggen. Van mijn djongkokplaats kon ik ook niet alles zien. Ze zitten in een soort lage kuil met trapjes naar beneden, precies als in een grote zwempoel of zoals jij zou zeggen zwembassin”.

“Ja, dat is bekend. In de lange openbare vergaderingen wordt er heel wat afgezwamd. Daardoor is de vergadering verbasterd tot ´´zwambassin.

“Oh, dat zij mijn oom ook al. Er was een totok aan het praten. Trouwens, er waren veel totoks in de zaal, in groottenue en met heel veel goud”.

“Ja, daarover las ik laatst een opmerking van een Indonesisch lid van de Raad die ook vond dat er teveel blanda´s in de zaal zaten. Dat stoorde hem. Het heette ´De Volksraad´ te zijn, dus een Raad voor alle volkeren van Indonesië, maar met 26 blanda leden en 30 Indonesische leden noemde hij de vergadering een ´Dewan rajap´ of vergadering van witte mieren”.

“Wil je nokken (vechten)?”.

“Wat is er met jou gebeurd? Ben je uitgegleden?”.

“Ach, die stomme Indo van hierachter heeft mij geleld. Maar ik hem ook en zijn fiets kapot”.

“Maar waarom dan?”.

“Nou ik zat op de stoep voor mijn huis en ik was aan het wachten op Fietje. Wij zouden samen naar tante Ottie gaan. En toen kwam die stomme Indo langs op een nieuwe fiets. Ik zag direct, nieuwe fiets. Ja, maar welke, dacht ik. Is dat een Gazelle of Rudge of een Fongers, boleh, die vent”.

“En toen?”.

“Toen kwam die vent naar mij toe. Waarvoor kijk jij mij aan, zegt hij.. ik kijk naar jou fiets, niet naar jou, zeg ik. Je kijkt wel naar mij, zegt hij. Ik kijk naar jou fiets, zeg ik. ik naar jou kijk ja, zie ik dat jouw kop precies lijkt op mijn baboe”.

“Ja, waarom zeg je dat nou. Dat is toch een belediging”.

“Ja, maar volgens mij wilde hij nokken, dus tegelijk maar toch?”.

“En toen?”.

“Ja, je weet, mijn pentja kwam d´r uit. Kassian die vent eigenlijk. Zijn achterwiel zonder spaken. Hij is daar zelf met zijn dikke donder opgevallen. Ik heb alleen terug geleld”.

“Ja, beroert die lui tegenwoordig. Als je maar even naar iemand kijkt wil hij al nokken”.

Wie snel geeft, geeft dubbel.

“Vervelende boel zeg. Ik heb die lui van de collecte geld gegeven en nou kan ik geen rokok meer kopen”.

“Logisch, je moet ook niet te snel je geld uitgeven. Je weet toch, in Indonesië zeggen ze niet voor niets ´wie snel geeft, geeft dubbel´ “.

“Emotie, jong. Die vent was een ouwe sobat van mij, uit mijn diensttijd nog”.

“Voor welk doel haalde die sobat van jou geld op?”.


Ik weet niet. Misschien voor de kerk. Meestal is het voor de kerk. Soedah, aan een sobat geef je toch”.

“Doe je dat vaak, geld geen aan iemand zonder te vragen voor welke instantie het geld wordt opgehaald? Je lijkt wel niet wijs. Trouwens, die sobat van jou vind ik ook maar een klojang dat hij niets zegt. Misschien vroeg hij geld voor een kuda kepang voorstelling op de hoek van de straat”.

“Allah, die lui werken altijd op jou innerlijk. Maar als mooie meisjes, als ze lief lachen, ik geef, tanggoeng”.

“En als het kerels zijn, wat doe je dan?”.

“Ik? Ik douw mijn wijsvinger diep in mijn neus en dan zeg ik ´wat jij vraagt moet ik eerst bij elkaar zien te oeros, schrapen, snap je?”.

“Gore vent ben jij zeg. Ai-nou, serieus nou”.

“Kijk de kwestie is namelijk deze, toe hef or toe hef not. Hetzelfde als bij tawar. Eerst tijd rekken en dan pas toegeven. Als je snel geeft, geef je dubbel, toch?”.


“Hoe vind je mijn ramboetans?”.

“Lekker sappig. Waar vandaan deze?”.

“Hier uit mijn achtertuin. Ik heb daar twee ramboetanbomen die erg veel vruchten dragen. De een is een tjangkok van de ander”.

“Goh, ik zou ook wel een ramboetan in mijn tuin willen. Heb jij misschien een tjangkok voor mij?”.

“Toevallig wel, maar je moet nog even wachten tot de wortels van mijn tjangkok ietsje groter zijn”.

“Hoe maak je toch een tjangkok?”.

“Makkelijk. Rondom het stammetje van een jonge sterke tak snij je een brede ring van de bast weg, meestal bij een oogje op de tak. Dan neem je een kluit aarde van onder de boom en bedek daarmee de blanke uitsnijding van de tak. Met een beetje natmaken van de aarde lukt het wel. Voor de stevigheid wikkel je een stukje karong om die grote, dikke prop aarde. En dan maar goed nat maken telkens en wachten tot er wortels opkomen”.

“Kan dat bij alle bomen?”.

“Niet bij alle, maar wel bij veel. Mijn oom van de proeftuin heeft tjangkokkans gemaakt van djeroek, mangga, doekoe, zuurzak, doerian, nangka, sawo, enz.”.

“Tjoba, van hieruit zie ik daar een mooie tak in jouw blimbingboom. Die kan ik mooi als tjangkok voor mijn katapult gebruiken?”.


“Laatst zag ik op de nok van mijn dak een bruine duif zitten met witte koentjoeng. Die leek op die van jou”.

“Kan niet, mijn duiven zijn geen dakschijters”.

“Maar het was wel een mooie Javaanse duif. Ik heb met kleppekken geprobeerd hem te vangen, maar hij vloog weg. Duidelijk een jonkie””.

“Heb je niet met djagoeng geprobeerd?”.

“Nee, te laat. Het was al tien uur en dan hebben alle duiven in de buurt al gegeten. Zijn krop was nog dik”.

“Hoeveel postduiven heb jij?”.

“Ik heb…even kijken…Panah en Pelor, Otje en Didi, Sigilah en Sletje…zes postduiven. Mijn andere duiven zijn geen postduiven”.

“Ik heb geen postduiven. Niet mooi. Zo mager. Ik heb van alles. En de mannetjes luisteren als ik met hun vrouwtjes kleppek, hun duikvlucht is precies als een kiekendief, met gesloten vleugels tot bijna aan de grond”.

“En waar zitten ze?”.

“Altijd bij hun hokken. Nooit op het dak. Soms, na een uurtje vliegen proberen ze uit te hijgen op het dak, maar dan katapul ik die dakschijters d´r af met kleine stukjes djagoengkolf. En als er toevallig een in de boom gaat zitten, dan schaam ik me rot voor de buren, want mijn duiven horen daar niet. Het zijn toch immers geen perkoetoets!”.

Zijn ini (dit) en haar anoe (dat).

“Vanmiddag zag ik veel orong-orong bij het terras. Je weet wel die heel kleine zandkreeftjes die op de rand van een zandkuiltje zitten te zonnen. Als je alleen al naar hun kijkt lopen ze snel naar de punt van hun trechtertje en duiken onder het zand. Echt maloe die beestjes”.

“Ja, leuk. Maar ik denk dan altijd aan zus Fietje. Op een dag heel vroeger zat ik onder het slaapkamer raam van zus Fietje met orong-orong te spelen. En toen hoorde ik door het raam boven mij gegiechel. Ik ging gluren, natuurlijk. Mijn zus lag op de divan en Dharmo van de buren sprong op haar. Zonder kleren!

En toen ging hij met zijn ini boven op haar anoe zitten. Eerst dacht ik, ze gaan stoeien. Maar si-Fietje, zij blijft maar stil liggen, nadenken geloof ik”.

“En toen?”

“Maloe ik. Net als die orong-orong ben ik snel onder het raam gedoken. En toen ben ik naar Soemo gegaan, de chauffeur van mijn oom. En ik heb hem verteld over Fietje en Dharmo”.

“En wat zei Soemo?”.

“ De volgende keer dat je zoiets ziet, moet je gaan tellen, een, toewe, drie, pier, pep, ses en dan verder”.

“En waarvoor?”.

“Soemo zei, als het kort duurt, houdt hij niet van Fietje, maar als lang, dan wordt hij familie van mij”.


“Straks ga ik naar de bioscoop. Ik heb gehoord dat er een goeie film draait met Jane Russell en Peter Lorre””.

“Adoe, Jane Russell. Ik word steeds afgeleid van het verhaal, ik zie alleen maar die twee goenoengans Merbaboe en Merapi. Geef mij maar Rita Hayworth”.

“Is dat jouw favoriet, Rita Hayworth?”.

“Een van de. Boven mijn bed hangt Paulette Goddard, dat is echt mijn favoriet”.

“Ik ben blij dat smaken verschillen. Ik hou meer van films met een serieuze inhoud, zoals ´Under Capricorn’ met Joseph Cotton en Ingrid Bergman”.

“En muziekfilms dan?”.

“Ja, natuurlijk. Alle films met señor Xavier Cugat bijvoorbeeld of met Fred Astaire en Ginger Rogers. En, hoe heet zij toch…Dorothy Lamour of is het Dorothy Malone”.

“Maar jouw echte vrouwelijke favoriet, welke?”.

“Ik heb een paar, ja. Gene Tierney, Jean Simmons, Susan Hayward en Lana Turner. Maar de top of de bil vind ik Eleanor Parker”.

“Ik kijk liever naar Virginia Mayo of Virginia Lake met haar mooie rechterlok voor haar ogen”.

“Wat ik ook goede films vind zijn westerns of oorlogsfilms met John Wayne of Humphrey Bogart of Jeff Chandler of Victor Mature”.

“La-illah, bantji die vent, net een meisje”.

Si Babon.

“Daar gaat hij, SiBabon”.

“Wie is dat dan?”.

“Hij heeft een mooie naam hoor, zoiets als Everhard Schepen van der Does tot Grevelingen, maar wij noemen hem SiBabon. Hij loopt namelijk altijd met een grote kip onder zijn arm”.


“Nou, om te vechten. Volgens mij is hij nu ook op weg naar de kampong om zijn kip te laten vechten met een vechthaan. Die vechtkip van hem is boekan main een kanjeuse, agressieve babon, die ook honden aanvalt. Vroeger trainde hij zijn kip op krielhaantjes met een veel te grote bek”.

“Ach, volgens mij is zijn kip een haan van de zeer verkeerde kant, met minderwaardigheidcomplex”.

“Ajo nou, een haan legt toch geen eieren? Deze wel hoor. Grote bruine eieren”.

“Heb jij dan wel eens sambal goreng van die eieren gegeten, volgens mij zijn dat kalkeieren, bantji eieren”.

“Schei toch uit. Die eieren zijn juist het geheim van SiBabon. Als zijn tegenstander bezig is zijn haan te oesep om hem klaar te maken voor het gevecht, dan breekt SiBabon een ei op de kop van zijn kip en smeert hem helemaal in, zijn kop, zijn veren, zijn poten, alles. Die haan valt aan, ketst op de kip, zijn poten glad, hij glijdt uit,…al..afgelopen..slagaderlijke bloeding”.

Sambalgorenghati (pittig lever gerecht).

“Gisteren lekker sambal goreng hati gegeten”.

“Oh, hartjes”.

“ Nee levertjes. Hati is toch lever, jantung is hart”.

“Maar als je verdriet hebt dan zeg je toch sakit hati, ik heb verdriet. En als je tegen iemand zegt ´voorzichtig´ dan zeg je toch ´hati hati´ .En hoe noem je dan sambal goreng van hartjes, sambal goreng jantung soms?”.

“Nee, dat is sambal goreng hati, geloof ik. Dus dat kan allebei, hartjes of levertjes. Volgens mij dragen ze niet hun hart maar hun lever op de tong”.

“Die lui beuken maar raak met hun taal”.

“Ja, maar ze kunnen ook leuke woorden verzinnen in hun taal, Neem nou het woord onderzeeboot, dat is bij hun kapak didalem laoet oftewel schip binnen de zee. Een schrijf machine is mesin toelis (schrijven) of mesin tik. En wat denk je van het woord studio, b.v. van een kunstenaar, dat is kamar kerdja seorang ahli seni oftewel werkkamer van een mens begaafd met kunst. Of straalvliegtuig, zo´n Gloster Meteor, is pesawat terbang pantjar-gas, dat is een apparaat dat vliegt en gas spuit. Goed ja?”.

“Je lijkt wel woordengek, zeg. Mensen die veel lezen weten veel, maar mensen die kijken weten soms nog iets meer. Wist je dat?”.

“Waar haal je dat nu vandaan?”.

“Staat in de boeken”.

Ikan (vis).

“Wat eet jij daar?”.

“Gewoon, ikan brenkes. Lekker pedis, deze. Ga maar halen bij die ouwe vrouw. Ze is goed in visgerechten”.

“Ik heb haar nog nooit eerder gezien hier op de pasar. Zit zij vaak op deze plaats?”.

“een keer per week zit ze daar met haar anglo´s. Die plaats is van haar dochter. Maar die verkoopt alleen groenten en fruit van haar eigen erfje”.

“En die ouwe zit daar op zaterdag te masak masak?”.

“Ja, ze is de kokkie van mijn tante. Daarom ken ik haar. In het weekend gaat mijn tante altijd naar haar zoon die een plantage in de bergen heeft en dan is kokkie vrij”.

“En hoe komt ze aan de vis voor haar gerechten?”.

“Uit haar vijver. Ze heeft in plaats van vruchtbomen een grote vijver in haar tuin. Ze kweekt twee soorten zoetwatervis, dat zijn goudvis en goerami”.

“Het lijkt me in onderhoud niet gemakkelijk”.

“Zij zegt van wel. Je moet alleen voor stromend water zorgen. Nou, at is bij haar gemakkelijk, haar desa ligt langs de rivier en ze hoeft alleen maar water af te tappen en weer terug te voeren in de rivier. Ze kweekt ook bibit (jong broedsel) voor andere desa vijvers”.

“Ze hoeft dus nooit vis op de pasar te kopen?”.

“Jawel, als mijn tante wel eens kakap (schelvis) of lidah (tong) wil eten dan gaat ze naar de pasar”.


“Als jij indruk wilt maken op jouw aanstaande schoonvader, moet je hem zeggen dat je bij de NEFIS hebt gezeten”.

“Ja, maar ik weer niet wat NEFIS betekent”.

“Netherlands East Forces Intelligence Service, dat was de Nederlandse inlichtingendienst in Australië tijdens de bezetting van de Jappen in Indië”.

“Een spionagedienst dus. Maar voor wie dan, het hele KNIL zat toch geïnterneerd in de Jappenkampen”.

“Eh, pas op. Dat zijn commando eenheden die de hele oorlog door ergens in de archipel werden gedropt om sabotage te plegen of om belangrijke inlichtingen te verzamelen voor het geallieerde opperbevel in de Pacific. Generaal MacArthur was de opperbevelhebber”.

“Maar wat waren dat voor mensen?”.

“Militairen, maar ook burgers. Toen de Jappen binnenvielen konden kleine eenheden van het KNIL, marine en luchtmacht nog ontvluchten naar Ceylon of Australië. Anderen hebben in het oerwoud guerrilla acties tegen de Jappen uitgevoerd, zoals in Nieuw Guinea, Borneo, Sumatra, Celebes, Timor en ook op Java, en die zijn later door geallieerde onderzeeboten naar Australië geëvacueerd. Uit die groepjes is in Australië de NEFIS gevormd”.

“Ajo, Tjoba, jij vertelt mij daar meer van. Dan kan ik schoonpa een tjabe rawit in zijn jeweetwel steken”.

Bouwmaker(flink doener).

“Vanmiddag reed ik langs mijn vroegere school en daar zag ik mijn oude gymleraar staan. Wij noemden hem toentertijd ´Tjakar ajam´ (kippenpoot)”.

“Waarom, omdat hij als een kip loopt?”.

“Nee, maar als je aan het begin van het schooljaar in de rij stond om kennis te maken met je klassenleraar, stond hij bij de deur om iedereen een hand te geven. Die handdruk was zo hard, dat je het eigenlijk wilde uitschreeuwen van de pijn. Je hand zag er uit als de kromme poot van een dooie soepkip. Iedereen had diep respect voor die vent en dat was ook zijn bedoeling”.

“Potige vent, zeg. Een Indo?”.

“´Tuurlijk, zijn lievelingsgymnastiek waren de ringen. En dan moest je eerst optrekken en dan tegelijk de Christusstand proberen. Geloof je. Met een arm strekken lukt het al niet, laat staan met twee. Als slappe dodols hingen we te bengelen aan dat ding”.

“Kassian jullie”.

“Ja, beroert wij. Je durft niks te zeggen tegen die kerel. Als je alleen maar naar zijn bast kijkt word je al bang, V-bouw. Zijn kronen als klapperdoppen, zijn triceps, oeaaahhh, kabels. Als je door hem maar een keer geleld word maak je ge-ga-ran-deerd de première mee van de eerste vliegende mens in de ruimte”.

“Bouwmaker zeg. Maar je kan in zijn ogen spugen en keihard weglopen. Die lui zijn kortademig, lo”.


“Mijn kokkie is zo latah als de pest. Ze hoeft maar even te schrikken of ze prevelt hardop telkens en telkens dezelfde, onbegrijpelijke woordenstroom: I-tje-moe-loet-mam-poes-sapi-mati-foe-joeng-tai”.

“Oh ja, nou dat is nog niets vergeleken met wat mijn Oma zegt als iets op de grond laat vallen: Ih-petot-makan-makan-garam-gon-do-ro-wo-barang-kali-kaja-poetih-kates en-nog toe.adoeh”.

“Nou dat is inderdaad een lange schrikreactie. En wat doet ze als dat is gebeurd?”

“Dan lacht ze verlegen en zegt: Ja jong, Oma kan daar niks aan doen. Dat deed mijn moeder ook al”.

Latah komt vooral voor bij Indonesische vrouwen. Maar ook vele Indische vrouwen zijn er mee behept. Als zij schrikken reageren zij door een reeks verwarde woorden uit te spreken.

In ernstiger gevallen kan na de schrikreactie een hypnose toestand optreden die tien tot twintig minuten kan duren. Zij zal als een robot elke handeling nabootsen die men haar voordoet. Zij zal ook elk aan haar gegeven bevel nauwkeurig opvolgen. Daarna komt zij weer langzaam tot zichzelf om dan volledig uitgeput te zijn voor een onbekende periode.

Super Kak (lijmcombinatie).

“Jouw vlieger is sinting(duizelig), hij blijft maar draaien. Trek hem maar naar binnen, dan passangen wij een grassprietje aan de rechterkant, want hij trekt naar links”.

“Lo, ik heb al een grassprietje gebruikt, maar misschien te klein, ja”.

“OK. Nu weer proberen. Nah, zie je wel, nu is hij goed, nu hangt hij stil. Heb jij je glastouw zelf gemaakt?”.

“Ja, gisteren met mijn broer. Hij gebruikt geen flessenglas, maar van een kristallen vaas. En dat is betoel scherp man. En zijn kak komt van een Chinees uit Madura, geheim recept, lo”.

“Volgens mij wil die blauwe met jou vechten. Ja, kijk maar, volgens mij daagt hij jou uit”.

“He-uh, die is van die Ambonese kampong. Hij is al een paar dagen in de lucht, dus hij moet goed zijn. Ik ga eerst naast hem staan, dan weet hij, dat ik ook wil. En dan lel ik hem met mijn broer zijn glastouw”.

“Pas op, zijn bestuurbaarheid is goed, hij duikt en stijgt snel en keert scherp naar links en naar rechts”.

“Ja, dat zie ik. Dat is geen klein jongetje, volgens mij een sterke kerel. Ajo berani mati, eerst naar boven, links duiken, naar boven, naar rechts, duiken naar boven en links onder hem, snel naar boven, en vieren…adoeh, pedot zijn touw..ik heb gewonnen, d´l zijn vlieger. Ik zeg jou, istimewa mijn broer zijn glastouw, super kak, tjap Bikin D´l”.


“Heeft nou afstamming met bloed te maken?”.

“Metaforisch gezien wel. Soms komt het ter sprake en dan is het best leuk om verhalen te horen over je eigen bloedgroep. Maar waarom vraag je mij dat?”.

“Nou, vanmorgen gaf ik een lel met mijn golok op de nek van een kip, omdat de kokkie mij dat vroeg. Voor ajam panggang vanavond. En toen zij mijn Oma dat ik precies mijn Opa was. Die sloeg ook zo gemakkelijk iemand zijn kop naar de filistijnen, zei ze. Lo, dacht ik, hij was toch ketellapper in Holland, je weet wel een toekang soldeer”.

“Oh, maar jouw Oma is toch een Atjehse? En jouw Opa zat in Atjeh bij het KNIL toch? Nou, en daar werd hij getraind van ketellapper tot klewangfighter. Net als mijn Opa, die was schoenmaker in Holland en kwam op achttien jarige leeftijd als soldaat in Atjeh terecht. Bijna alle Hollandse soldaten waren eenvoudige ambachtslieden, boerenzonen, straatventers, dagjesdieven, avonturiers en dergelijke”.

“Laatst zag ik dat Opa vanaf zijn krossi males op de waranda zijn golok naar een kat smeet op minstens tien meter van hem af. Doormidden. Zonder risico”.

“Nah, dat is wat jou Oma bedoelde. Even onbesuisd als jouw Opa die kat doodde, deed jij dat met die kip”.

“Eeeh, dan heb die reflex toch van hem, ja. Dus afstamming heeft iets met bloed te maken, ja toch?”.


“Wist jij dat de VOC octrooirecht had?”.

“Hoezo, hadden ze wat uitgevonden?”.

“Nee, maar het gaat over iets anders dan wat jij denkt. Bij de oprichting van de VOC in 1602 kregen zij van de Staten Generaal octrooi, dat wil zeggen dat zij het alleenrecht kregen op de handel en scheepvaart naar Azië. Alleen schepen van hun kongsi mochten met handelsartikelen heen en weer naar Azië varen”.

“Nou, dan ga ik ook octrooi aanvragen op mijn warung kliling (SRV wagen met allerlei eetwaren en andere Indische spulletjes). Volgens mij, zes karretjes genoeg voor mijn WKK, de Warung Kliling Kompenie”.

“Eh, staatsbelang, jong. Dat van jou is toch perkara ketjil. De VOC was voor Holland super belangrijk omdat voordien meerdere compagnieën in Holland met hun schepen apart van elkaar handel dreven met Azië. Daardoor was de concurrentie moordend en dat drukte de prijzen, terwijl de handelsreizen naar Azië toch al zeer kostbaar waren. Bovendien moest deze kostbare Nederlandse handel beschermd worden tegen de Portugese vijand. En dat was van nationaal belang, dat ook moest worden gefinancierd uit de winsten van de handelsproducten. En zo werden de koppen bij elkaar gestoken en de VOC opgericht”.

“Jij bent toch van Verkeer en Waterstaat, ajo, je helpt mij met een brief voor Johan van Oldenbarneveldt”.

E.F.E. Douwes Dekker.

“Jij hebt zeker wel eens gehoord van Douwes Dekker”.

“Dat is toch die schrijver van Max Havelaar”.

“Juist, dat was Eduard Douwes Dekker of zoals hij zichzelf noemde, Multatuli. Maar weet jij ook iets af van zijn neef Ernest Francois Eugene Douwes Dekker?”.

“Waarom dan, heeft die een nieuw boek geschreven?”.

“Nou, je kunt beter zeggen dat hij een nieuw boek heeft geopend. Hij was inderdaad een protestschrijver en zijn protesten richtten zich op de Nederlandse heerschappij in Indië. Als Indo voelde hij zich meer aangetrokken tot de Indonesiër. Hij was een sterke voorstander van de onafhankelijkheid en richtte in 1912 ´De Indische Partij´ op onder de leus Indië voor de Indiërs”.

“Zo, dat was goed zeg. Ik vind die totoks wel aardig, maar je moet een keer laten zien wat je waard bent”.

“Dat was hij ook van plan, want ondanks dat de partij ook toegankelijk was voor Indonesiërs en Chinezen, zouden Indo´s de zaak moeten trekken, vond hij”.

“En waarom ken ik die partij niet?”.

“Een jaar later was die al verboden en werd E.F.E. Douwes Dekker uit Indië weggejaagd. Einde verhaal”.

“En hij dan?”.

“Hij bleef zich inzetten voor de vrijheid van Indonesië en kreeg eind 1949 van Soekarno de eretitel ´Vader van het Indonesische Politieke Nationalisme´”.


“Ik heb dat altijd een stomme naam gevonden, landstormer. Misschien uit het Duits ja, Landsturm, Sturm und Drang of zoiets”.

“Nou, daar lijken de landstormers wel iets te oud voor, want de storm-en-drang periode ligt binnen de puberteitsjaren en Landstormer ben je pas op je 32ste jaar na je dienstplichtige jaren. Ja, de naam geeft wel actie aan. In films zie je heel duidelijk dat bij de verovering van een vesting de aanvallende troepen niet naar hun doel wandelen, nee, ze gingen onder veel gekrijs en geschreeuw in stormloop voorwaarts om met hun stormladders de vestingmuren te beklimmen”.

“Kassian, en dan kregen zij kokende olie op hun kop. Gelukkig maar leven wij niet meer in die tijd. Nu hoeven ze hier in Indië alleen maar te bewaken toch?”.

“Nou als je bij de militie hebt gezeten dan ben je geoefend Landstormer en kan je in tijden van nood worden opgeroepen voor versterking van het leger. Maar in tijd van vrede ben je ingedeeld bij een van de zeven Landstorm districten hier op Java en wordt je tot je 45ste jaar een dag in het jaar opgeroepen voor een herhalingsoefening”.

“Weet je dat ik me kapot lach als Landstormers op oefening gaan. Dan wordt de colonne gevolgd door een sliert straatverkopers, toekang saté, toekang setroop, waroeng kliling, vrouwen met vruchten, enz. Leuk ja”.

De nacht expres Batavia - Soerabaja.

“Hoeveel kost de nachttrein naar Batavia toch?”.

“Zo gaat meneer met de nacht expres. En welke klasse gebruikt meneer, de 1ste, 2de, of 3de klasse?”

“Derde natuurlijk, ik hoef toch niet deftig te pitten”.

“Nou als je derde klas reist zit je niet in de slaapwagon. Dan betaal je op het overdag tarief een toeslag f 3, - voor een veldbed of je kunt voor f 1,50 een extra zitplaats naast je krijgen om ruimer te kunnen pitten”.

“En als ik in de slaapwagon wil zitten?”.

“Dan betaal je een toeslag van f 10, - voor de 1ste klas of f 6, - voor de 2de klas, enkele reis. Maar je hebt dan airco in de slaapwagons en er zijn couchettes en ook badkamers in de wagon. Ja, dat is pas luxe”.

“Ach, ik ga maar met de overdag trein. Zo duur, zeg”.

“Vroeger duurde de reis twee dagen met een overnachting in Bandoeng, Djokja of een andere plaats. Omdat langzamerhand het spoorwegnet zich heeft uitgebreid, werd daarna de Eendaagsche Expres ingesteld en die doet er nu zo´n 13½ uur over de reis”.

“Dat is verrekte snel, toch?”.

“De Nacht Expres, waar jij naar vroeg, is pas per 1 november 1936 geïntroduceerd. In de nacht rijdt die een beetje langzamer, maar je hebt dan ook erg veel comfort aan boord”.”Adoeh. Jij lijkt wel zo´n reclameboy van de spoorwegen. Ik ga maar overdag reizen. Al!”.

Nederlands Indië, hoe lang pas?

“Ik zag laatst een lijst van alle koloniale oorlogen van het KNIL. Adoeh, die lui hebben weinig rust gehad, zeg. Door maar door moesten ze vechten. Die blanda´s waren vroeger toch echt een vestlustig volkje”.

“Ja, ze moesten elk stukje van de archipel als het ware met bloed veroveren. Maar wat wil je, als je per se in een land wil zitten dat niet van jou is en de bevolking jou eruit wil gooien. Dan moet je vechten om je plaats. Maar handel was en is heilig voor Holland, alle handelingen in die zin zijn geoorloofd, handel is oorlog”.

“Dus de handelingen van de Staten Generaal waren eigenlijk oorlogsverklaringen aan alle volkeren hier?”.

“ kreeg de VOC omstreeks 1600 volledig mandaat van de Staten Generaal om ten behoeve van de handel oorlog te voeren. Vanaf 1799 kreeg eerst de koning zelf en later de Nederlandse regering het bewind over wat toen genoemd werd ´onze kolonie´. Maar die kolonie moest nog bevochten worden Zelfs Java was nog niet geheel onder Nederlands gezag”.

“En Nederlands Indië was toen niet meer dan een stuk Java en nog wat kleine stukjes overige eilanden toch?”.

“Rond 1800? Ja. Daarna werd eerst Java onderworpen, dan Sumatra, Borneo, Celebes en alle overige eilanden. Pas in 1910 was de hele archipel Nederlands gebied”.

“Jah-ilah, feitelijk is de Nederlandse Indische archipel pas 40 jaren oud, tot 1950, toen werd het Indonesia”.

Links verkeer.

“Waarom rijden we hier in Indië eigenlijk links?”.

“Misschien ja, door Raffles? Je weet wel Thomas Stamford. Dat is ook mijn tweede voornaam, Stamford”.

“Oh, en daarom weet je alles over Raffles”.

“Ja, en ik weet ook dat hij op zee geboren is, ergens in de buurt van Jamaica. En ze zeggen dat mensen die op zee geboren zijn totaal geen richtingsgevoel hebben. Ze kunnen zich nergens op herkennen, b.v. een kerk of een schoorsteen weet je wel”.

“Wat een flauwe kul zeg. En daardoor heeft hij links rijden verplicht gesteld?”.

“Als zeevarende natie weet een Engelsman toch niet hoe hij zich op land moet gedragen. Links of rechts, wat kan hem dat schelen, als maar geef geluid. Voor Thomas zijn tijd had je toch nog geen fietsen en auto´s, alleen maar grobaks en delemans en voetgangers. Maar toen er teveel sado´s en andere koetsjes kwamen kreeg je ook veel ongelukken want die koetsiers rijden gewoon in het midden van de weg. En van de andere kant ook. Dus botsing, paardje dood, die lui op de bok ook dood. Banjak susah lo! Nou en toen heeft Thomas Stamford gezegd van nu af aan hou je links van het midden van de weg, niet anders”.

“He-eh, ik ga maar pitten. Van jouw verhaal krijg ik echt compleet een delirium. See you, Stamford”.

VOC en rijst.

“Moet je horen, hier staat dat de Verenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie, de VOC dus, niets van rijst moest hebben, en daar dan ook niet in handelde. Snap jij dat nou?”.

“Nou ja, die Hollanders zaten toen nog tot aan hun strot in de klei, ze wasten zich nauwelijks, en uit hun poriën walmde de lucht van gortenpap, bruine bonen en zout vlees. Wat moesten ze dan met rijst?”.

“Ja, en de koloniaal moest ook geen rijst. Hier staat verder dat een jonge officier van Gezondheid in 1844 vanuit Indië naar zijn familie schreef dat het voor de Europeaan ´tot minder goede toon´ schijnt te behoren om rijst te eten”.

“Oh, komt de Indo weer als minder gegoede Europeaan op de proppen?”.

“Hier staat inderdaad dat rijst door de minder gegoede Europeaan werd gegeten als ontbijt, namelijk droge rijst met wat kruiden erop. En als nagerecht bij het middagmaal ´grobbejak´, een brijachtige substantie van rijst, suiker, tamarinde, arak en specerijen”.

“Gatver, geef mij maar rijst met petjil. Lekkeer toch die sajoerans, sambal gorengans, keringans en dergelijke”.

“Weet je, mijn ouwe heer, een echte totok en al veertig jaar in Indië, noemde alle gerechten ´ingewandenprut´. Hij at het wel, maar het liefst had hij een bord warme rijst met boter en suiker”.

Per trein van Batavia naar Bandoeng.

“Zo gek ja, ze zeggen dat als je met de trein van Batavia naar Bandoeng wil gaan dan moet je een van de vier vluggertjes pakken”.

“Verkeert jong, je bedoelt de ´Vlugge Vier´. De treinverbinding van Batavia noemt men zo omdat het een snelverbinding is die de afstand tussen de twee steden in ruim twee en een half uur aflegt. Op vier tijden van de dag vertrekken treinen zowel uit Batavia als ook uit Bandoeng. Ik geloof dat je om 06.45 uur uit Batavia naar Bandoeng kunt vertrekken en dan om 09.26 uit Tandjong Priok, dan om 13.32 en om 16.00 weer uit Batavia. Bijna precies op diezelfde vier tijdstippen vertrekken ook de treinen uit Bandoeng naar Batavia en Tandjong Priok”.

“Oh, dat is de KET, dat weet ik, Kwartet Espres Tjepat. Vroeger dacht ik altijd hoe kan dat, want halverwege ontmoeten ze elkaar en dan wat? Botsing. Maar nu weet ik dat die lui met wissels werken. Maar als je met de auto gaat, hoe lang?”.

“Toch zo´n drie tot vier uur. Vergeet niet dat je door de preanger rijdt, dat is behoorlijk bergachtig met veel bergpassen. Bandoeng ligt hemelsbreed zo´n180 kilometervan Batavia vandaan en op circa700 meterhoogte”.

“Dus met de trein, sneller. Maar dat komt door die locomotief, een bakbeest van een ding zeg”.

“Ja, volgens mij een Mallet 2-8-8-0, SS 1250 klasse”.

De Indische NSB.

“Wat ik maar wil zeggen is dat democratie in Indië niet gewenst was. Of dat anders kon? Neen!”.

“Wat krijgen we nou? Het ging toch goed vroeger?”.

“Het ging helemaal niet goed! Vanaf 1920 al niet. Neem nou de jaren dertig, de wereldcrisis, de economie lag plat, massaontslagen van zowel Indo´s als Hollanders die in Indië geboren waren, gaarkeukens vanwege tekort aan voedsel, overal stak het nationalisme in allerlei vormen de kop op, Indonesiërs in opstand, dood en verderf, de roep tot harder ingrijpen door de overheid…”.

“Sjonge, sjonge, wat maak jij er een drama van”.

“Ja, maar nu snap ik pas dat er zoveel Indo´s lid van de Indische NSB werden. Gemengd bloed speelde toen nog geen rol. De Nederlandse NSB leider Mussert kenmerkte de Indo´s als ´Groot Europeanen´. Wat gold dat was een strengere aanpak van orde en gezag. Indonesisch nationalisme, OK, maar dan wij ook, dat was het parool voor de Indo leden”.

“Ja, weet je nog die hakenkruizen bij de padvinderij en die enorme NSB vlaggen. Ik zie het nog voor me”.

“Nou ja, na de verkondiging van de NSB rasbeginselen vielen zeer velen af en in mei 1940 werd het lidmaatschap voor ambtenaren verboden. Weer later, even voor de oorlog met Japan, werden alle NSB-ers samen met alle Duitsers in Indië zonder meer geïnterneerd”.

Indo´s altijd in de vuurlinie.

“Voel jij je nu een Nederlander? Ik bedoel, jij met je Hollandse achternaam? Denk en gedraag jij je als een Nederlander?”.

“´Tuurlijk niet, ik ben een Indo, zo voel ik dat ook. Niet dat ik denk, oh ik hoor tot een apart ras, maar zoals mijn oom, de onderwijzer, eens zei: “Ik ben geboren uit tarwekoren en een kus van een tropische zus””.

“Leuk. Het geeft wel aan dat jij hybride bent, dus biologisch gezien afkomstig van twee rassen”.

“Is dat eng om een Indo te zijn?”.

“Nou, sinds de Indo´s in 1839 door de toenmalige minister van Koloniën als bastaarden werden aangemerkt, werd het bijna onmogelijk om hogerop te komen dan de lagere administratieve rangen bij het gouvernement, het leger of de politie. Over het algemeen behielden ze die lagere posities tot 1940.

Intussen zijn vele Indo´s er in geslaagd om als wetenschappers, ingenieurs, artsen, architecten, managers in de cultures, officieren bij het leger en politie diep door te dringen tot de hoogste regionen van de samenleving. discriminatie van de overheid bleef, zelfs openlijk versterkt door het gevoerde ontmoedigingsbeleid dat aangaf dat Europese mannen niet zo maar konden trouwen met Indische- of Indonesische dames”.

“Goh, waren die totoks zo bang voor ons Indo´s?”.

Tijd voor democratie?

“Gisteren zei ik tegen mijn vrouw en kinderen dat ik wilde verhuizen, dichter bij mijn werk. Masalah, ze wilden niet. Ik zei dat wij wel gingen, al! Zij noemden mij marxist omdat ere geen democratie in huis was”.

“Als jij jouw zin doorzet en hun argumenten niet wilt horen dan ben je sowieso geen democraat maar een potentaat”.

“Geen tijd voor democratie”.

“Geen tijd, hè, geen tijd om samen met je gezin te beraadslagen. Je zou een voorbeeld moeten nemen aan de vroegere besluitvormingsmethoden die in heel Azië en Afrika golden. De dorpsoudsten kwamen bij elkaar om uitgebreid over een onderwerp te praten. Eenieder kreeg de gelegenheid zijn mening te geven. De bijeenkomsten duurden voort tot er een consensus was bereikt. Toen betekende democratie nog dat iedereen gehoord diende te worden, en besluiten nam gezamenlijk als groep. Dat was pure democratie hier op Java. Dat was gotong-rojong-democratie”.

“Maar dat duurde lang, bijna tot sint juttemus”.

“Jawel, maar daarom heeft het blanke westen heel Azië en Afrika het model opgelegd van hun parlementaire democratie, de meerderheidsregel. En ja, dat verlangen ze bij jou thuis ook”.

“Ja lekker, als ik dat doe zijn drie mensen blij tegen ik super chagrijnig, Al! Ik ga niet meer weg, laat maar”.

Auto prietpraat.

“Vroeger herkende ik alle auto´s aan hun ornamenten op de motorkap. Bijvoorbeeld, een steigerend paard op de kap, dan zag ik aan de vorm van dat ornament dat het een Dodge 4-deurs sedan 1933 was met van die ´zelfmoor´ deuren”.

“Loh, waarom zelfmoorddeuren?”

“Omdat de deuren naar achteren open gaan. Op het moment dat jij uitstapt heb je geen zicht op het verkeer achter jou en kan je gepakt worden door een grobak of nog erger door zo´n bus gila en dan”.

“He-eh, ik begrijp, kepleset jij”.

“Precies. Maar het mooiste ornament vind ik die slanke staande vrouwenfiguur met haar lange haren wapperend naar achteren op de kap van de De Soto S6”.

“Jah-ilah, in jouw fantasie zie je natuurlijk Sofietje in haar blootje met haar haren in de passaatwind. Geef mij maar die hardloper van de Hudson 32 K convertible of de zwaan van de Packard standard 8 sedan”.

“Ja, die zijn ook mooi maar toch ja, als je met jouw stofbril achter het stuur zit en je ziet zo´n dansende De Soto godin voor je, dan wordt je toch compleet happy”.

“Nou, droom maar verder. Ik heb zin in roedjak mat saos Jawa. Ik hoor al getingel in de verte dus Tjarda, de chauffeur van mijn Hispano Suiza jl2 cabrio 5180 uit 1936 zal direct bij de halte staan. Adios”.

Indo´s, een kwetsbare groep.

“Telkens als ik bij oom Fred en tante Sofie op bezoek ben lok ik bij die twee oudjes verhalen uit over de nog steeds misselijk makende discriminatie van hoger opgeleide Indo´s ten opzichte van de kleine boengs. Oom heeft voor IEV gewerkt, vanaf1920”.

“´Tuurlijk, die je weet wel welke soort Indo´s denken dat ze Hollanders in techicolor zijn, blagak, lo”.

“Oom heeft daar een heel droevige verklaring voor. Omdat Indo´s door de jaren heen bij voorkeur op een kantoor werkten hadden ze de totoks nodig om hun dat werk te geven. Een Indo werkte niet op de sawah, niet als visser, niet als koelie, niet als toekang saté of op de pasar, nee hij wilde op kantoor werken. Daarom had hij de totok nodig en was hij tevreden met elke kantoor job. De hoger opgeleide Indo had net zo goed de totok nodig, want dat waren de heersers over alle goede banen bij gouvernement en bedrijfsleven. Wilde hij een betere status bereiken dan moest hij zich in zeer hoge mate Europees gedragen. Liet hij merken dat hij ook nog een eigen culturele achtergrond had, dan kon hij oprotten. Dus keerde hij zich gedwongen van de kleine boeng af”.

“Irritant zeg, dat wij als Indo´s zo moesten leven”.

“Ja, en van hoog tot laag bleven de Indo´s kwetsbaar omdat langzamerhand een groot aantal Indonesiërs met goede opleidingen naar hun baantjes solliciteerden”.

Kosmisch gesteente.

“Ik zag laatst een film met een grote meteoriet die de aarde dreigde te verpletteren”.

“Jah-ilah, kan toch niet zoiets. Dat is toch flauwekul, ze zeggen toch dat de dampen om de aarde niks doorlaten, katanja, alles gaat smelten”.

“Ih, je bedoelt de dampkring om de aarde. Maar pas op, er zijn wel degelijk veel meteorieten op Java gevallen. Bij rembang is een stuk van20 kgneergekomen, en bij Cheribon pas geleden nog drie stukken, een van48 kg, of bij Madioen een groot stuk van166 kg”.

“Hoe weten ze nou dat meteorieten zijn?”

“Nou, als je plotseling een ijzeren klomp in jou tuin aantreft die dagen achter elkaar roodgloeiend blijft, dan snap je toch wel dat zoiets niet normaal is. Zoiets komt toch van een andere wereld, of niet?”.

“Moet wel”.

Pamor noemden de Javanen zo´n ijzer meteoriet en ze hechten er bovennatuurlijke krachten aan. Het schijnt dat de mineralogische samenstelling van het ijzer goed bruikbaar is om er wapens van te smeden. En wat ik knap vind is dat krissenmakers met tamelijk primitieve middelen uit pamor krissen maakten voor hun vorst”.

“Oh dat heb ik gezien toen ik in de kraton van Djokja bij zo´n krissenmaker was. Hij zette de kris met de punt op de grond en dat ding bleef loodrecht staan zonder om te vallen. Betoel dat was goena goena”.

Eindejaar conversatie.

“Ik zag jou daarnet in de kerk zitten. Je had een en al aandacht voor de preek. Vond je ´m goed?”.

“Nee, elk jaar hetzelfde geluid, vrede in Christus zijn koninkrijk. Mana vrede, door maar oorlog. In alle koninkrijken op aarde zijn er niet zoveel burgeroorlogen geweest als dat van Christus”.

“Nou zeg. Gaan we wijsgerig doen? Dat humeur van jou heeft zeker te maken met de laatste dag van het jaar”.

“Heb ik gelijk of niet?”.

“Dat van oorlog en vrede? Ja. Maar dat is het risico van het leven. Mens zijn is een hard vak, niet iedereen kan zijn hartstochten bedwingen. Je zou kunnen zeggen dat sommige nationale en geestelijke leiders zo hartstochtelijk naar vrede verlangen dat ze er een oorlog voor over hebben”.

“Je moet niet spotten, lo”.

“Soedah. Wat doe jij vanavond met Oud en Nieuw?”.

“Oh, ik heb al kaarten voor de bios. En daarna fuiven bij Boebi en Doortje in hun nieuwe huis, tegelijk is dat hun selamatan. En jij?”.

“Traditiegetrouw eerst het tennistoernooi afronden, dan een openlucht concert bij de Jachtclub, eten in de Soos en aansluitend het oudejaarsgalabal”.

“Boleh jij, jouw black and white komt d´r uit. Ik doe mijn safaripak maar weer aan. Zalig uiteinde, ja”.

(vertellingen van Ventje en Nono die o.a. gepublceerd werden in de “Tong Tong” en de “Moesson”).

This is the end of the Petjoh conversations. I will now revert to English.

Rice, the food that never bores.

Batara Guru, one of the mightiest Gods fell in love with one of his daughters named Retna Dumilah (shining jewel) because of her exceptional beauty.

She finally consented to become his wife after having resisted his advances for a long period of time. Her conditions were that he would grant her three wishes.

Food that never bores, clothing that would never wear out and a gamelan that can play on its own.

Retna died while they were busy trying to satisfy the three conditions. After that her name became Tisna Wati. Forty days after her death different crops began to sprout on her grave, including the rice plant. This pant originated from the hairs on the head of Retna.

Not having been informed of the death of Retna, the messenger of Batara Guru met the beautiful Dewi Sri, the wife of the God Batara Vishnu, while on his quests for the solutions of the conditions set by Retna. He fell madly in love with her, but was changed into a wild boar by the gods as punishment. Dewi Sri died shortly thereafter. On her grave also different crops sprouted, including a rice plant.

The rice from Tisna Wati’s grave can only be cultivated on dry soil (dry rice).

The rice from Dewi Sri’s grave needs to be irrigated with water (sawah rice).

Religion or superstition.

Good and bad spirits live in every house. When viewing a new house it is important to get the feeling that the house is friendly towards you. If you are not beset by goose pimples, itching in your hair or shivers on your back then the house is okay and pre-destined for you to live in. The future inhabitant of the house has to perform certain acts in order to expel the bad spirits. On the first day he has to spit three times on the floor while speaking out occultist words. Salt has to be strewn at the front door and all the rooms. The main foodstuffs such as rice, oil, flour and sugar have to be placed first in the kitchen. Only then can the furniture and clothing be carried inside. A broom made of palm nerfs (sapu lidi) has to be placed behind each door and pieces of garlic have to be placed everywhere. A pig’s head is buried in the garden to ensure the house is free of bad spirits. An initiation feast (selamatan) was also mandatory. The good spirits are asked to bless the house before consuming a meal.

Every house has its own guardian named the djaga. A dish with flowers and delicacies is placed on the most walked on parts of the house in order to satisfy and honour the guardian.

The Keris (Kris).

The Kris is a dagger worn by the Javanese as a defensive weapon against eventual attackers. There are two types of Krisses. First, the Kris used by the women. This Kris can be identified by the wavy blade. The blade consists of three waves. It is carried in a scabbard which is usually beset with gold or silver. It is carried mostly on the back but sometimes around the waist. The length of the Kris is approximately30 centimetres.

The blade of the Kris used by the men is made of four to five waves and has a length of 40 to60 centimetres. The men prefer to carry the Kris on their back in belt fastened around the middle of the upper torso. Both the men and women can, if attacked, remove the Kris from the scabbard with a fast movement of their hand over their shoulder or from the waist.

Kris owners have special obligations. The oldest son inherits the weapon after the death of the owner. The Kris may be inherited by another family member under exceptional circumstances.

The Kris has to be bathed (mandi) every week on Friday (djumat kliwon) in water with flower chalice leaves from the red- and white rose and the flower of the green kenanga. Moreover, incense has to be burned at set times. Spiritual murmurs accompany these rituals. Never is one allowed to step over a Kris. (dilarang di langkah). The Kris has usually a fixed place in the house which is determined by a dukun (wonder doctor).

If the Kris is, if used correctly, the guardian of the house and its inhabitants. If the obligations are not lived up to the Kris can rebel and punish the owners with illnesses, calamities or even death.

The legend of Njai Loro Kidul.

Njai Loro Kidul is the Goddess of the Southern Ocean, and thus dwells in the southern part of Java. Her task is to watch over evil and calamities in the southerly seas of Java.

Many of the people who live there have, in honour of the Goddess, furnished a room, or if they do not have this a space in the house. In both stands a made up bed for her and a place where regularly sacrifices are made to honour her.

The story of the clever kantjil (a small dear).

This story is related in Petjoh. It has been translated as accurately as possible.

On one day si kantjil he want to cross the river. But river nja wide and deep. So si kantjil he starts thinking. Then he spots a crocodile. The kantjil goes to him and says good day crocodile. The kantjil says, you here alone? Yes, here well. The kantjil says, if we kantjil are so more numerous than you crocodiles. The crocodile says no, we are more than you and I can prove it. OK, if so, you lay one behind the other from here to other side of the river. Then I will count. If we much less, than you may eat me. The crocodile he is hungry. He sys OK and calls all the crocodiles in the neighbourhood. As soon as they are lying behind one another to the other side of the river, si kantjil say, now I start counting. He jumps, while counting one, two, three, etc. over the backs of the crocodiles. At the end si kantjil says, you are right, you are many more. Goodbye Mr. crocodile and si Kantjil disappears into the wood!

Later si kantjil is very thirsty and he goes to the river. On the bank si kantjil wants to drink swig of water. He did not see the crocodile and si kantjil is standing on top of him. Then the crocodile swings his snout and bites kantjil in his leg. Then the crocodile he says, nah now I’ve got you. Si kantjil he thinks quickly. Loh, mister crocodile you are mistaken. You are getting near sighted. Instead of my leg you bite in my walking cane. The crocodile he becomes mad and he growls and let go of the leg. And si kantjil he jump away merrily. The crocodile, …. he is very angry.

On another day, the crocodile he was tired. He climbed up the bank of the river to sun bathe. This crocodile he looks like a tree trunk. The kantjil was on his way to water. Then he see tree trunk. Si kantjil not trust that. He thinking and says, if you tree trunk turn around. If you crocodile stay as you are. Then the tree trunk he turns around. When si kantjil this saw, he turned around and he disappeared.

The crocodile he was mad and wanted revenge. Another time si kantjil was tired and wanted to sleep. The crocodile, he knew that si Kantjil hold siesta nearby and thinks up a plan. In the bushes close to the river he built a nest, just like that of a wild pig. Then hungry tiger he comes. Si kantjil sees tiger and thinks up a pretext. To save himself he greets tiger politely and than says: You look hungry. I know where there is a lovely meal lying nearby. Say where my friend the tiger he answers, because I would like some food right now. The kantjil showed the tiger the way. There near the pig nest. The crocodile he sees the tiger and gets the fright of his life. The crocodile he begins to defend himself. The crocodile and the tiger they fought very hard until the lumps of earth flew all around. Because both are tired after fighting they stop. Si kantjil he run, after seeing fight, away fast.

The myth of the Garuda.

It was in the beginning when Siwa and Parwati had just created the world and when the gods and the giants fought each other over the ownership of the holy elixir ´Amerta´. Garuda originated in this period.

The gods and the giant demons were discussing how they would be able to possess the elixir, when the god Vishnu spoke the following words: If you want the elixir you have to try to walk up the sea of milk above the Amerta. They decided to do this.

First they let the dragon Anantabhola uproot the mountain Mandara and placed the mountain in the middle of the sea of milk on the back of a giant turtle. The mountain became the centre of the milk churner. Then they asked the dragon Basuki to be the churn wire. Then they called the gods on one side and the demons on the other side. Every one of them had to pull on the one and the other side of the churn wire. Indra, the king of the gods seated himself on top of the mountain in order to stabilize it.

The gods and the demons began to pull with all their strength. The goddesses Sri and Laksmi, the horse Ucaisrawa and the cosmic jewel Kastubami sprouted out of the foaming water. They all fell towards the side of the gods.

When the elixir Amerta came out of the water, it fell towards the side of the giants. Vishnu devised a trick. He changed himself in a beautiful girl. The girl urged the demons on to let her carry the water. As soon as she had the Amerta of life in her hands, she ran away and changed herself back into the god Vishnu. Since that time the gods and the demons have perpetually been at war.

Garuda was only an egg during the churning of the sea of milk. The unborn son of the God prophet Kasiapa born from his wife Wanita.

Therefore he was also the unborn younger brother of Arjuna, the wagon racer from the sun, and the cosmic snakes, the nagas, which were from one of Kasiapa´ 29 wives. Garuda would kill the nagas later and become Vishnu’s means of transportation.

It all started with the disagreement between Kasipa´s vrouwen Kadru and Wanita over the colour of the tail of the horse Ucaisrawa who had sprouted from the churned milk together with the elixir. Kadru said that the horse had a black and white tail, while Wanita was certain that the tail was completely black.

When they had quarrelled enough they decided to make a bet. The one who was wrong would become the slave of the other. Kadru was wrong. The horse did not have a black tail, but her rival, who knew this, devised a trick. She let sprayed her children and the tail of the horse with a white poison. The tail turned black and Wanita became the slave o Kadru. Garuda was born at the same time that his mother was bound to slavery. The egg cracked open.

Garuda finally came to life. He sparkled as fire and his blinding light filled the heavens in all directions. The surprised gods thought that the day of judgement had arrived and that now the time had come to burn the three continents. But Agni, the god of fire, knew the truth and held a thunderous speech for the other gods with these words: ´ Oh you gods, do not be afraid. The time has not yet come for me to set the world on fire. The day of judgement is still far away. What light do you see? It is the light of Garuda, mighty between the birds. He is no other than the son of Kasiapa born out of Wanita. Her sparkle is equal to mine´. The reassured gods now honoured Garuda: ´Oh Garuda, You are the prophet, You are the priest, You are the god, You are the master of everything that flies, You are the King. Your sparkle is equal to the sunlight. Protect us, mightiest under all birds´. Calmed by the blessings Garuda turned of his sparkle and his light disappeared.

When Garuda finally found his enslaved mother, he was assigned with the guardianship over his half brothers and the snakes. But Garuda was naughty. Whenever he had the chance he killed one of the snakes and ate it. After a while he tired of his task and spoke to his half brothers with the words: ´Hey, you naga snakes, how can I buy back the freedom of my mother? ´

The snakes answered: ´Do you really want to buy back the freedom of your mother? Do you want to break her bondage? Listen. Have you ever heard of the water of immortality, the holy Amerta, which the gods received from the foaming sea of milk. Go there and get it for us!

Now he finally knew what he had to do, Garuda went to his mother to ask her for advice and her blessings.

She instructed him: ´go first to the island on the other coast of the sea. It is populated with felons and murderers. Kill them and devour them one by one. They will be your food for your quest for the Amerta. But watch out! Do not kill the Brahmins…isn’t your father, the god prophet a Brahmin? ´.

She had further encouragements for him. The god Bayu (energy) will take care of your wings. The goddess Candra (moon) will watch your back and the gods Agni (fire) and Agni (wind) will protect your head. All the gods will protect you.

Garuda departed and started a slaughter. He killed and ate the rogues, turtles and elephants. Finally he reached the top of the ´Somaka´, the source of the Amerta. in thelandofSanka. He was confronted by the warriors of the god Indra. The twelve Sandhya of the east, the sons of Dharma, The eight Basu of the south, the eleven Rudra of the west and the twelve Aditya of the north led by Indra, the king of the gods. He clawed and pricked towards them and finally triumphed. He hit the eyes of the scared gods and blood flowed. They were blinded and unable to see the world. After triumphing in battle he moved on.

He took the water out of the ocean and extinguished the fire at the entrance to the cave where the Amerta was kept. Then he fought two dragon guardians, killed them and devoured them. The Amerta was finally his.

Then he flew back. Vishnu saw him leave and asked him for a favour. The laws of that time commanded that a favour be granted.

Vishnu’s request was a simple one: Oh great Garuda, be my means of transportation and it has remained so forever.

Garuda is Vishnu’s means of transportation with the Amerta in his hands. Garuda brought the elixir to the snakes and his mother was freed out of bondage. Before he gave to them, he advised the to take a bath to cleanse themselves. This they did, and while they were away the god Indra stole back the Amerta of immortality.

Since the existence of theRepublicofIndonesia, Garuda symbolizes the existence of the republic, their freedom and their ever being victorious. Garuda is embodied on all their banners.

Indonesiais a treasure case of legends and myths. Too many to relate them all!.

The law of mathematics.

This story is related in Petjoh. The translation has been done as accurately as possible.

Si Tjarli he visit fortune teller. I have heard about Javanese Pasar days, such as hari Wage, kliwon, Pon, Paing, etc. There are also, so they say, good and bad days to, for example, gamble, go hunting or fishing. What for days and numbers are that really?

The fortune teller he understand the question and in the meantime searches for his buku pinter (freely translated, a reference book).

If one says hari baik, than it is not sure that the day is good for everybody. Sometimes good for the one, fatal for the other. If one speak of hari baik, it does not say that the whole is good for somebody. Some hours of the day are good, but others have bad luck. That is why one has to take into account the WETON, this the day of birth and the pasamaam (such as Wage, Djumat, Kliwon, Pon, Paign etc.).

For example, Day of birth Djumat-Wage (never say Friday Wage, because this combination tidak pantes).

Born Djumat-Wage, that is 6 plus 4 equals 10. This 10 is the WETON.

Then you look at the calendar. For instance you want to bet on Rebo-Paing, that is 7 plus 9 equals 16 this number you add to the previous result (Djumat-Wage which is 10), so total-nja 10 plus 16 equals 26. This number you Bagi (divide) by 5.

I think si Tjali understand nothing of this. But wait, as soon as I have gesulap (juggled) you understand better. I no understand why divide by five? Because there are only 5 Dewas (spirits).

We know there is Pantja Dudo. This is the congsi of the 5 Dewas. Their places are in the four corners of the earth and one in the sky. The four corners are Ngalor, Kidul, Wetan and Kulon. And I see nothing in the sky, where then?

Loh, really true. Look in my buku Pinter. In table A is after Dewa number 2 equals Djabrail Hido equals Langit (sky).

But if the Dewa2 inpractice he sit not very long in the sky. He can sit on everything that is high, such as trees, mountains, roofs etc.

Si Tjali think out loudly. Dewa 2 on my roof?

Tjilaka itu (that means misfortune).

The fortune teller he make clear. On that day you may not climb in a tee or a mountain. If you do this, chances are that you djatuh (fall) out of the tree or that you kesangdung (stumble) on the mountain and break your paws.

If this is clear we go back to our sum and that was 26 this number divided by 5 is 5 with remainder-nja 1. This 1 you look up in the Pantja Sudo table A. then you see standing behind 1: Ahmat-Putih-Lor equals Redjeki (luck).

So if you born on Djumat Wage you not think you are lucky all day. Lucky nja only on certain hours, njo (njo is derived from sinjo or young man). For these hours you have to look in table B. just now remainder-nje 1, so you have to look in column1. From here you go to table A column 4. So answer-nja:

between 6 and 7 o’clock equals redjeki (luck),

between 7 and 10 o’clock equals halangan (preventive),

between 10 and 1 o’clock equals hati-hati (be careful),

between 1 and 3 o’clock equals slamet (luck),

between 3 and 6 o’clock equals gelap (darkness).

If the remainder a 2 is then take column and the results of column two are:

between 3 and 6 o’clock equals redjeki (luck),

between 6 and 7 o’clock equals halangan (preventive),

between 7 and 10 o’clock equals hati-hati (careful),

between 10 and 1 o’clock equals slamet (luck),

between 1 and 3 o’clock equals gelap (darkness).

Now we tell about the right direction: WETAN 10 and you want to gamble on Kemis/Pon. Then you add up the numbers 10 plus 8 plus 7 equals 25. This number you bagi (divide) by 5 and the remainder is 0 as end result. Because the number 0 does not exist in system Pantja Sudo, you take number 5 instead. Loh, why do I have to take number 5 and not number 2 or 3?

How but you, you are goblok (dumb). How much is 2 times 5 or 3 times 5 it can never be 25. But 5 times 5 is 25. So now you take a 5 and look at table A. Behind the 5 is Ngidjirail-Hiram which equals KOELON which equals gelap (darkness). So you with your WETAN 10 must not gamble on Kemis Pon in the West but in the East. Sometimes you can’t go to the East because the island you live on is the furthest East. Going to the East means drowning in the sea. That is why you have to fool DEWA.(Si Tjali mouth suddenly falls open and his eyes become very big).

This DEWA (spirit) sits in the West, that means that he is sitting for every opening that is situated in the West and lies in wait (watching out). For instance for your front door mengadep KOELON (your front door faces East) and you go gambling that day, then the DEWA will spot you and will cheat you so you will have an accident or bad luck. But if you are smart and do not leave by the front door, but by the back door then this door is in the East and si DEWA is bingung (confused). So si DEWA sits in West and can only watch doors in the East. For doors jang mengadap WETAN is other DEWA.

Si Tjali pulls a long face. Tjali if you do not believe me, ask another fortune teller for advice. But watch out if other fortune teller’s advice is the same as mine I will turn your neck around three times for punishment.

Oh no fortune teller. You know everything good. One more question fortune teller and then all. Can those pasar days Kliwon, Pon, Wage etc. be of use inHollandor somewhere else likeAmerica?

According to the old teaching masters from Java, their hitungans (counting manners) are not to be taken overseas. So from Java not allowed to Sumatra, let alone toHolland. In such case the hitungans loose their power.

InHollandeverywhere signs, may not do this, may not do that. If no sign always may everything. If you want begin business is allowed, but need diploma. Aduh angel (difficult) say.

In short for luck or bad luck you must always go in the right direction or you will end up with bad luck. Tjali, I hope you have much success.

Monsoon and trade winds.

The basin of the Indian Ocean successively connected with the Red Sea, the Persian Golf, the Indonesian waters (part of the Indian Ocean) and the South-andEastChineseSeahad formed for ages a maritime trading network that consisted of the Middle East andAsia.

The Asiatic trade- and ship movements depended upon the half yearly monsoon winds. The north east monsoon allowed ships from Indian and Arabic ports to sail from March to May to Malacca. If they didn’t, they would have to wait until October for a favourable wind because of the traverse south west monsoon. The large Chinese junks sailed to the southern regions during the north east monsoon which made it possible for the Javanese, the Indian and the Chinese ships to reach the Javanese coastal places and even as far as the Moluccans. These ships were able to sail back form May up until September with the south east monsoon.

Bizarre hospitality.

My uncle fromSemarangowns a large wood processing factory and his most important client is a filthy rich Chinese. One day this Chinese invited him for a meal at his home. There was another totok (European) invited. He worked for the governmental forestry department on central Java.

Once they were seated they couldn’t believe their eyes when viewing the delicious dishes that had been served. In the middle of the table stood many dishes which included very expensive caviar, a couple of large show bottles with steamed and baked Chinese delicacies. Behind the chairs of both guests stood a servant with a large fly waver in their hands.

The meal was very sober. A mankok (dish) of fish soup as a starter, then some rice with a side dish. After the meal was finished, the European forester reached out his hand in the direction of the desirable show bottles. The servant ran immediately from behind his chair struck with his waver in the direction of the bottles, while yelling ´ kok akeh lalare! ´ which means ´there are so many flies around here!´. Frightened, the forester pulled away his hand quickly. Unfortunately he had not understood the meaning of the action of the servant and made a second attempt. This attempt was punished in the same manner by the servant with a sore streak across his grabbing fingers. It finally dawned by the forester and he understood the message.


A guard picket is always set up in the kampong during times of unrest and danger. The appointed kampong (village) inhabitants walk around the village during the night and while they walk, they strike on the tong-tong-klek which is made of bamboo. A bamboo stalk consists of a large number of knots or connections. The connections are partitioned. The tong-tong-klek consists of a piece of bamboo with a length of two knots (about 40 to50 centimetres). There are hollow spaces between the knots due to the partitions. On one end of the partial stalk there is an extension past the knot so to enable the user to hold the instrument in his hand. Two small grooves are cut length wise in the piece between the two knots. The user strikes the instrument with a small stick. Three different tones can be produced depending upon where the instrument is struck.

The guards strike a certain rhythm on the tong-tong-klek during their picket rounds. (the instrument is named after the sound it can produce). By a fire or inundation the rhythm becomes sharper and the sound louder. The person manning the guardhouse hears the warning and strikes the large tong-tong. This is a hollow tree trunk with a cleft over the length of the trunk. This produces a dull but endurable sound.

The tjitjak (a small lizard).

The tjitjak is a small type of lizard of about15 centimetresin length, which is capable of moving on walls and ceilings.

In earlier days the mobile technique of the tjitjak on walls and ceilings was attributed to the capability of secreting a sticky matter underneath the flat of their toes. Nothing is further from the truth!

Underneath the broad toe planes are gekkotiden with parallel leaf like skin folds which can be moved by the muscles. This allows them to fasten themselves to the rough areas on the walls and ceilings. The same moveable skin folds allow the tjitjak to fill up the smallest spaces between the toe planes as small sucking cups.

The tjitjak hunts for insects. He creeps up to his prey and snaps at it in a fast movement. Sometimes the tjitjak lets go of his prey immediately. Apparently he doesn’t like his booty. The reptile may have made a mistake with the body coverage of fine pointed hairs of the night butterfly or the horny armour of some beetles. The tjitjak can change its skin from light to dark to protect itself. Moreover, the tjitjak has large developed vocal chords whose sound is responsible for its name.

Domestic weaving.

Not only the walls of the houses in the kampong (country side houses), but also those of simple houses in urban areas are often made of weaved bamboo

(gedek). Interwoven overlapping leaves of palm species (atap) are used for roof cover.

Household articles such as baskets (krandjangs), sleeping rugs (tikars), containers to cleanse the rice, rice steaming baskets, wavers (kipas) for increasing the fire in the anglo (charcoal fire pot), boxes, strainers, lids (tutupans), hats (topis) and many other articles are woven.

The materials, such as bamboo, rotan, pandan, leaves of the cocos palm, nipa, the sago palm, the lontar palm, widuri fibre, mendong byes, alang alang grass and many other leaves and stalks are gathered depending upon the area where the village is situated. Weaving is a side business for the farmer. Both the farmer (tani) and his wife weave. She weaves the initial product and he weaves the finished product. The farmer needs about twelve working hours to produce a Pandan rug of about 160 by60 centimetres. The proceeds were very small.

There was a time that the weaving of hats was very important. When straw hats were the fashion inEurope, many hats were exported. The hats were produced under European management in weaving factories in Tangerang and Tasikmalaja on western Java. This product was also supplied to the police forces and the army. The hats were originally fabricated from split and cleansed custom cut bamboo hides. In a later stadium the leave of the pandan plant was used. The pandan plant leave was more easily to treat and was also more flexible.

Muskets and rear loading rifles.

The rifles used by the Dutch forces during the Atjeh war were long heavyBeaumontrifles with long bayonets. The rifles had an effective range of around eighty metres and the interval between loading and firing was twenty seconds.

In that time the armies consisted mainly of infantry and the fire power and intensity depended upon closed order fire formations. These formations were used in the Napoleonic era, and were effective in open terrain.

The Dutch army units were, unfortunately, almost always confronted by rough terrain and closely grown tropical vegetation. The opponents were well organized, fanatically motivated and were masters in guerrilla warfare.

The new rear loaders did not improve the advantage of the Dutch Indies army during the first Atjeh war in 1873 when the soldiers were confronted with unexpected attacks from the Atjeh population with their swords (klewangs).

Despite this, the rear loading rifle was in1850 abreakthrough in weapons technology. The rifled barrel and the cartridge, which housed the powder, bullet and detonator improved the precision and the range of the bullet and made the carrying of the rifle and ammunition pouches much easier.


The beautiful feathers of the paradise bird decorated the head covers of the sovereigns and other important persons long before the Parisian fashion world discovered the feathers in 1880. Thousands ofParadisebirds were killed for their feathers which were not equalled by any other bird family.

The furs of the birds were prepared by wild, unknown Papua and Moluccan tribes living in the jungle ofNew Guineaand the Banda islands. The feet and wings were cut off and the fur removed from the body up to the beak. The skull was removed.

The Dutch seafarer Jan Huygen van Linschoten wrote in 1598: ´No one has seen these birds alive, because they live in the sky, always aimed at the sun and only return to the earth at sun glow to die for they have no paws or wings´. The famous Swedish botanist Carolus Linaeus christened them in 1760 the largest sort ´Paradisea apoda´, theParadisebird without paws.

TheParadisebird belongs strangely enough to the same family as the ordinary crow. There are 42 different species of the Paradise bird, of which 36 live inNew Guinea. Only the males are attired with the enormous magnificent white-yellow and brown feathers. The hens are brown of colour and without feathers.

Boleh Tawar (bargaining).

´ Oh, look at that John, what a lovely little sculpture´.

John looks, likes it also, but looks (compulsory) not enthusiastic.

´ How much is this´.

The merchant sees tourists in front of him and sets the price at 30000 rupiah, twice the amount that he had previously in mind.

´30000´ says John, ´If I had that money I would retire toHawaii. I’ll give you 10000 for it´.

´Be now business like´, says the merchant, ´this Buddha sculpture comes from a just discovered holy monastery in theHimalayas. What do you think that my purchase price is 27500´.

´What Himalaya´, says John, ´you meanTaiwanand then second choice, 11250´.

The merchant walks towards the couple and pushes the sculpture in the hands of the woman.

´This is no ordinary rock, this is alabaster. Made by a master artist out of one great piece. Look, alone the jewels in the eyes cost a fortune. You can take it with you for 24500´.

´I see some discolouration here and there. It must be in your possession for quite some time´, says John, 13000 and you can consider this as an exceptional high offer´.

John pushes his wife away softly.

´20000´ says the merchant quickly.

John andMyrakeep on walking.

´How much then?´ screams the merchant.

´15000´ yells John looking backwards.

The merchant nods yes, and while the couple return, the merchant wraps another sculpture with a small crack in its back in lots of paper.

The tokke (named after the sound the lizard produces).

The tokke can become as long as32 centimetreswith a tail of15 centimetres. This is more than double the length of the tjitjak whose maximum length is13 centimetres. The tokke belongs to the Gekko species and they are the only reptiles who have a strong developed larynx. The vocal organs of the toke have developed is such a manner that the lizard produces a loud and articulated sound to which it is named after.

When the tokke ´calls´ people in the tropics count the number of calls and believe that this is a prediction. For instance, if the tokke calls seven times, this means luck or one may make wish.

The tokke eats insects and is therefore mainly sneaking around at night. This nightly sneaking manner of the tokke frightens many people. Just like all night animals, the tokke has large extruding ball like eyes whose pupil can narrow itself into a vertical split during the daytime. This makes him look spooky and can with its large head and in times of danger with wide opened jaws can take on the appearance of a scaring repelling reptile. A bite from the tokke does hurt and is unpleasant. The tokke and the tjitjak have in common that during a fight or danger they can let their tail be torn off or they drop it. They then take cover under the roofing of a house. It seems that the tail grows on again.

Kretek cigarettes (cigarettes mixed with clove and menjan).

The ´roll-your-owns´ was the secret of the Javanese. They mashed tobacco leaves and then by rolling this in a corn leaf, a pisang leaf or a palm leaf he made kretek cigarettes. The cigarette had a tapered form. The Javanese stuck the thin end in his mouth and lit the thick end. This is how the Javanese smokers rolled their cigarettes (rokok) in a dried corn leaf (klobot) or in a dried kawung leaf. A simple roll-your-own filled with mashed native tobacco.

Around1870 aman named Hadji Djamahari, who lived in the town ofKudusin central Java, thought that he had found a medicinal cure for his constant coughing. The legend tells that he added mashed clove to the tobacco and is since then considered to be the inventor of the rokok kretek. This was medicinal smoking. The creaking sound of the burning cigarette indicated that the medicine was working and the aroma was pleasant. The name of the cigarette comes from the sound a lit cigarette makes when taking a drag, kre…tek – kre…tek, etc. The town ofKudusbecame the centre of the kretek cigarette industry. Formerly, the roll-your-owns were made domestically. After the First World War they were produced in factories under Chinese management mainly for the Indonesian internal market. At present, the largest kretek cigarette factory is located in the former salt warehouse ´Gudang Garam´ on east Java.

According to the journalist P.A. Daum.

The journalist and writer P.A. Daum irritated himself in his newspaper articles about the Eurasians (Indos). He named them ´poor lesser Europeans´ and ´Europeans begging for a living´. He was fiercely against concubines and prostitution. He claimed that these immoral relationships had taken on such proportions that young European men were doomed to be ruined for the rest of their lives.

In his articles Daum wasn’t interested in the well being of the native or Eurasian women and girls. His thoughts went out to the young men who did not abide by the ´Victorian´ moral rules. Because of this they would end up as an alcoholic, lose their sense of superiority and would end up ruined somewhere in the country side with a native woman.

There was a saying in the European community at that time about the sense of superiority of the Europeans over the Eurasians.

´God created the white man and God created the coloured man, but the devil created the mulatto´.

Presently the Eurasian says: ´ we are inIndonesiaand we are in The Netherlands, because the Dutch were there and are here´.

Because of the discriminating report from the commission Werner to the Dutch government in 1950, the term Indo was deemed to be an inferior person.

Officially, the term INDO was introduced for the first time in 1916 by the journalist Th. R. Landauw. These persons were characterised as descendents of European males and Indonesian females, whose roots lie inIndonesiabut are legally Dutch citizens.

The salaries of civil servants in DutchNew Guinea.

The regulation of the salaries of the civil servants in Dutch New Guinea in 1957 (BLNNG 1957) consisted of 26 payment scales and was divided over 414 functions. Underneath follows a part of the functions with their scales and the maximum pay in guilders in 1957.



pay in guilders                              


(Head) writer, (Head) officer, policeman, teacher elementary village   school



Clerk,   laboratory technician, nurse I (NGD)



 Clerk, supervisor, Operator I (PTT), Assembler, assistant   designer, assistant accountant



(Head)   police officer, typist I Machinist I, Technical commies, Agriculture / Forrester




Assistant   Directors, Deputy editorialcommissioner, Midwife, Technical officer,   kindergarten teacher (Ia)



Chief   clerk, Police Inspector,
  Announcer (radio), Registrar, Head draftsman




Assistant   accountant, teacher (principal Act), Agriculture / animal husbandry official



Officer,   industrial teacher education, traffic, Airport Master Harbor Master,   Information Officer



Commissioner   of Police, Chief meteorologist, Movie Maker, Finance Administrator   I, Director mulo / technical school



 Secretary,   Engineer,
  Teacher MO,
  Controller 1 (BB), Superintendent



Administrator,   Government doctor, Principal pharmacist



Principal   Administrator, Inspector Public Health



Government Secretary,   Attorney-General



The income tax deducted of the salaries of employees in Dutch New Guinea were transferred unjustifiable to The Netherlands and used for other purposes. Every law has a consideration. The taxes gathered in Dutch New Guinea were not used for the purpose of this consideration. This was decided by a judge in The Netherlands in a case in which Mr. Ridder had summoned the Dutch Government. The judge also decided that Dutch nationals originating from the former Dutch New Guinea would be able to receive a back payment from the Dutch government for up to 10 years for the income taxes paid if they emigrated.

Sate ajam, sate kambing and…sate babi.

A building with a crafted ceiling and thick walls. A gilded baroque mirror hangs on the wall and a crystal chandelier dangles from the ceiling. I was there to ask about the delay of my visa application.

´I find personally´ said the Indonesian civil servant whom I had met via a friend, ´…allow me, my secretary will bring the file…taking into account previous experiences…until further investigation has finished…eh…do you like sate?´

´Yes, very much´ I answered.

´Really? Have you ever eaten at Pak Dusun´s place (Dusun means illiterate)? No, then we’ll drive over there now.

Every time a truck passed Pak Dusun a large cloud of dust blew over his fire and it started to crackle. Above us was a movable sun screen. The civil servant had removed one foot from its sandal and placed the knee of his leg in his elbow pit.

´Today only sate babi´, said Pak Dusun.

´Yesterday sate kambing, and maybe tomorrow sate ajam´.

I looked surprised, pig’s meat served by a Muslim? The civil servant ordered two helpings of sate babi and lemonade.

´Doesn’t matter´, he said ´Pak Dusun is pure Islam. But sometimes when the market offer of pig’s meat is cheaper, he is sometimes also…Chrislam´.

The fishing industry in the archipelago.

The population of the archipelago consumes mainly see food. The most important region for fish consumption and fish production is theislandofJava. Fish is also imported from other regions and foreign countries. Fishermen are active along the coastal areas and at the open sea. Especially in the relative quiet Java sea large scale fishing takes place with small prows of a few metres in length up to large prows of fifteen metres in length and longer.

Fishing can only take place during certain seasons. The sea is filled with thousands of small and large prows during the seasons when the fish are abundant. Quietness reigns during the periods when the fish population is scarce. The life cycle of the fishes is therefore of great influence on the fishing industry.

There are definite differences between the fishing industry ofIndonesiaand The Netherlands. Large schools of fish of one species, such as haring, swim in the European seas. There are considerably less schools of fish swimming in the Indonesian waters, except for instance for the tongkol (mackerel), kakap (a sea bass species) and a few other species. The sea bottom is also not suitable for the use of drag nets due to the existence of coral and rock formations.

There are exceptions: along the sandy shores it is possible for the fishermen to use dragnets pulled by themselves. This happens mainly during high tide. The fish and the shrimps are pushed towards the shore during the upcoming tide. Along the ebb tide waterline near the coast fixed traps (seros) are constructed. Many fish are cultivated in salt water ponds (empangs) along the coast and inland in ponds (tambaks) for fresh water fish.Indonesiaalso has a multitude of edible see shell species which, although in a primitive manner, are cultivated on the south side of Java. The sea fish that are caught are kept alive by depositing them in artificial ponds made of sea nets which keep floating through the use of floating corks or in shallow areas with the use of wooden poles.

According to me, more delicious in TheNetherlands.

The writer Hans Vervoort explains in his book ´Vanonder de koperen ploert´ how our Indonesian kitchen originated.

The ´rice table´ is actually an invention of the Dutch who urged their native cooks to vary the food and use a large number of side dishes. Another reason may be that home sickness forIndonesiaamong older Eurasian Dutch made them to concentrate on the preparation of food, which in the end is the easiest way to relive the past.

The culinary specialist kitchen derived from home sickness is ideal for the preparation of a variety of dishes instead of the boring routine type food served by Indonesian cooks.

During the colonial era, the Dutch have stomped off the culinary specialism in theDutch East Indies. Eurasian Dutch are a product of a relationship of a Dutchman and his housekeeper. Seeing that a man walks and loves via his stomach, it seems to reason that the Dutch bachelors hired the best female cooks.

After the independence ofIndonesia, most of the Eurasian Dutch repatriated to The Netherlands and with that a wealth of culinary experience and of recipes related from mother to daughter. The Indonesian cooks returned to the county side and cooked their food in the traditional manner.

The writer believes that because of the above mentioned facts the Indonesian culinary dishes are prepared better in The Netherlands than inIndonesia. This story shows that the writer hasn’t done his homework. Fortunately we may and can quarrel over the taste of food.

Always eating.

´ Now I understand why you Indos are always talking about food´, said our Dutch friend when she saw all the roadside food stalls. At the same instance she almost got run over by a monger who seemed to be in a hurry carrying two to the brim filled baskets fastened onto a cross bar which hung over his shoulders. One of the many food mongers who run in the city with a rhythmic step as if he is being followed by a swarm of bees.

The standard food supplied in the stalls is limited for the low budget of the ordinary person who is satisfied with simple dishes, Amongst these are nasi goreng, bami goreng, mie bakso, nasi bakmoy (rice with a meat sauce), sop buntut, sop kaki sapi (soup made from meat of the tail or the leg of an animal), soto ajam, rudjak petis, ketoprak and lotek (something like gado gado).

Makanan food stalls offer spicy dishes based on the Sumatran kitchen. The table is filled with different dishes in cups and saucers. One takes something from each cup and saucer and puts it on his plate. You only pay for the food that is consumed. Most persons cover the warm rice with a few pieces of meat, saturate it with sajur sauce and consume it very quickly. The client only pays for every piece of meat consumed.

A dish fromPalembang.

The Musi river flows slowly, calm and stately along the city ofPalembang. The river is at certain places three hundred metres wide. On the other side of the river and the city were the BPM and NKPM refineries. Bagus Kuning, Pladju and Sungei Gerong. The Musi was the most important water way, but also the tributaries, the brooks and creeks which crossed throughPalembangand the surrounding area were busy water ways.

The crocodiles that live in these water ways were called Cayman in the past. Large areas of the city were inundated during the monsoon season. Therefore, the natives built their houses on poles. The most important means of transportation was the prow (prahu). Merchants offered their merchandise from the prows. The lit boats offered a breath taking scene at night.

Beside the well known Krupuk Palembang (woven fish krupuk, shrimp chips), is the Pe-empeh tunuh or empe empe still a well known fish dish fromPalembang. The dish consists of balls of dough which is mixed with the local ikan belida (an elongated fresh water fish caught in theMusiRiverconsisting of soft, tender meat. A sort of gabus). Empe empe is served cooked or baked with a fine mie (so´un) and a spicy Tjukah (vinegar) sauce made of a composition of onion, lombok, garlic, palm sugar and lots of vinegar.

The food ofPalembangandPadang(Makanan Palembang andPadang) are well known and is a favourable dish inIndonesia.

The prepared food ofPadangis displayed in show cases. One can point to the dish one wants when ordering. The serving of the food consists of the ordered portions or units of fish or chicken etc. are deposited on the table of the person who ordered it. He or she only pays of what is consumed. Hygiene is very important when the meals are served. Every dish has its own spoon to deposit the food on your own plate. The food is eaten with spoons or by hand. Finger bowls filled with water are placed on the table to cleanse the hands. As a sign of hospitality free water is served before and during the meal.

Persons who were important in the development and the history of theDutch East Indies.

Pramudya Ananta Tur.

Pramudya Ananta Tur was born in Blora, a town on the border of central and east Java on the 6th of February 1925. It was the colonial era, but the revolutionary, nationalistic movement was reaching its peak. He followed a course in stenography inBatavia after completing his education, and was hired by the fervent nationalistic press agency Domei. This press agency was controlled by the Japanese occupation forces.

He was an active participant in the fight for freedom during the independence period. Later he became a war correspondent and an editor by a nationalistic magazine.

He was imprisoned after the first political military action and was released from prison after two and a half years. He wrote two novels while in his Dutch prison: ´fugitive´ and ´The Guerrilla family´. Most of the stories and books of his extensive literary writings were written by him while he was imprisoned.

During the period Sukarno he supported the Partai Kommunis Indonesia (PKI) and was a member of ´Lekra´, an institute for popular nationalistic reading matter, connected with the PKI. He used this position to turn against writers who had rejecting opinions about the national reconstruction. For this he was sentenced to 14 years forced labour (1965-1979). After his release from prison his freedom of movement was restricted.

Rear Admiral Karel W.F.M. Doorman.

Rear Admiral Karel Doorman was born on the twenty-third of April 1889 inUtrecht, The Netherlands. At the age of seventeen he was admitted to the Royal Naval Institute (KIM) at Den Helder, The Netherlands. He was commissioned as an officer by the Royal Dutch Navy on the 24th of August 1910. He served on different ships in The Netherlands and theFar East. In 1915 he was transferred to the Naval Air Service at Soesterberg, The Netherlands. Six years later he was a naval staff officer inThe Hague, The Netherlands and inBatavia. He also commanded destroyers and cruisers.

From 1938 up until 1940 he commanded the Naval Air Service in theDutch East Indies. After that he was promoted to Rear Admiral and given command of the fleet in theDutch East Indies.

Karel Doorman realized as no other how important air support was fir a fleet during a sea battle. During the battle with the Japanese fleet he hoped to receive the necessary information and support from the air. Unfortunately, there was no air support available for his allied fleet during the sea battle of theJavaSea. His flagship, De Ruyter, was hit by a Japanese long distance torpedo and the ship sank. Karel Doorman chose to go down with his ship. The allies had lost the sea battle of theJavaSea.

Raden Adjeng Kartini.

The life of the ruling nobility was bound by the strict and conservative rules of the adat. Boys went to school, while girls received instruction at home or by family in household tasks.

The girls were never free within the behavioural rules and taboos of the adat compared with the boys. This caused the girls to lag behind in their development.

Kartini was not allowed to continue her education after she graduated from primary school. She was forced to live at home awaiting her forced marriage. Kartini considered herself a prisoner of the system. Her strong desire to have the same rights and freedom as the boys incited her to make this knowledgeable in long letters and poems.

She contacted Mrs. Abendanon, the wife of the director of the department of education. Through an exchange of letters she expressed her thoughts about her life, thoughts, feelings and fears. Not only about herself, but about the Javanese women in general.

She died in childbirth in 1904. Her letters were bundled and published under the title ´Through Darkness to Light”. Her thoughts were taken over. The Dutch authorities established schools for girls according to her ideals.

K.A.R. Bosscha, thee planter on west Java.

Karel Albert Rudolf Bosscha was born in The Hague, The Netherlands on the 15th of May 1865. He was a descendent from an old and important Frisian family. His grandfather was a cabinet minister and a well known historian. His father was a professor emeritus in physics at the polytechnic university inDelft, The Netherlands.

Young Bosscha was a student of Kamerling Onnes, an academic of international reputation. Although Bosscha never finished his studies atDelft, and answered the call to go to the East, he never lost his deep interest for scientific research and engineering.

From 1896 until his death in 1928 his sole purpose in life was his thee plantation ´Malabar´. He founded two profitable thee factories on his extensive property. He also had many side activities beside his business. He was a member of the national council and at various times chairman of the planter’s association on west Java. He founded the first company for telephonic communication on west Java and the well known Lembang observatory to which he personally donated a large Zeis telescope. He promoted the TechnicalUniversityin Bandungand was an honorary citizen of the city. He died on the 25th of November1928 inBandung and is buried at his thee plantation Malabar.

Vice Admiral Conrad E. L. Helfrich.

Conrad Helfrich was born on the 11th of October1886 inSemarang He was the son of a Dutch physician and a Eurasian mother. At the age of seventeen he left for The Netherlands to study at the Royal Naval Institute inDen   Helder. After receiving his commission as a naval officer he took part in theBali expeditions in 1908 and served on various warships after that. In 1922 he studied at theNavalAcademy and became a lecturer later on at the same academy. He was promoted to chief-of-staff of theDutch East Indies navy in 1931. He was appointed to the officer commanding all the armed forces in theDutch East Indies. He was promoted to Vice Admiral in august of 1940.

He was prepared to defend the territory of theDutch East Indiesat any cost. According to this principle he ordered the allied fleet to stop the Japanese fleet steaming towards Java. The sea battle in theJavaSeaended in a disaster for the Dutch navy and their allies. The fleet was almost completely destroyed.

After the fall of the Dutch East Indies, Helfrich commanded the remaining Dutch ships and armed forces inColombo,Ceylon.

From 1945 until his retirement in 1949 he commanded the Dutch navy with the rank of Admiral. Helfrich died in 1962.

Willem Walraven (writer and journalist).

In 1915 Willem Walraven signed a three year contract with the Dutch Indies army. He served in the garrison administration at Tjimahi nearBandung. It was here that he met his future Sundanese wife Itih. Walraven married later on with his native wife. During their marriage he treated her like an equal partner.

Such a marriage was very exceptional within the colonial community of that time. As a new comer he had no knowledge of the conservative bias in the colonies. His marriage meant for him a continuous guerrilla war with the European community, in which he recognized the same narrow mindness as in his birthplace Dirksland in The Netherlands.

As a journalist by the ´Indische Courant´, but especially as a writer of many, many letters he described with a critical point of view the persons and happenings within his surroundings. It was the Eurasian Dutch conduct and thought patterns within theDutch East Indiessociety that suffered. His critical articles often made him come into social conflicts and difficulties.

It was only after his death in the Japanese internment camp Kesilir on east Java in 1943 that his writings were bundled in a book and published. The film ´Imprisoned on

Java´ describes his life long career.

Sir Stamford Raffles.

In Kebun Raya, thebotanical gardenofBogorstands a monument as a remembrance to Olivia Raffles, who had died in1814 inwhat was known then as Buitenzorg. She was the wife of Sir Stamford Raffles, the British Governor general who ruled over theDutch East Indiesduring the British interval.

After the return of theDutch East Indiesto The Netherlands in 1817, Sir Stamford Raffles was posted to Benkulen. A desolate area of Sumatra that from the beginning of the colonial era was considered to belong toGreat Britain.

From this vantage point he dreamt to gain control over the Strait of Malacca and the Sunda strait, the two narrow sea straits which connected south- and east Asia, forGreat Britain. He fostered this dream since he was employed as governmental secretary ten years earlier in Pinang, the British crown colony inMalaysia. He tried by all legal and illegal means to realize his dream, but without success. Except for one small success. He was able to obtain theislandofSingaporeforGreat Britain.

Raffles himself developed the system of freedom of trade in an area full of monopolies and severe taxes. Due to his exertions,Singaporehas become the largest business centre inAsia.

P. A. Daum, writer and journalist.

Paul Adrianus Daum was born inThe Hague, The Netherlands in 1850. Through ambitious personal education he was able to leave the poverty stricken surroundings in which he grew up. He became a competent journalist and became later editor of ´Het Vaderland´.

In 1879 he left for the Dutch East Indies and accepted the position of editor by the well known newspaper ´De Locomotief´ inSemarang. Thereafter he became editor-in-chief of the ´Bataaviasch Nieuwsblad´.

He wrote, spirited, keen articles expressing his opinions about the social conditions as they existed at that time in the society of theDutch East Indiesafter 1870.

He argumented more and better education in his newspaper articles and was a strong advocate of women’s emancipation and took a stand against the Christian religion and its followers. At the same time he was continuously irritated by the origin of the Eurasian Dutch (Indos). Because of the sinful keeping of concubines (njais) and prostitution.

His novels, which are written with a literary stylistic quality, are mainly about the marriages of the European ladies and gentlemen between each other, who on the veranda of their country houses drink champagne together, gossip, play bridge, hold sparkling parties and now and then have a extra marital relationship.

Sir James Brooke.

James Brooke was born in 1803 nearBenaresand hails from a British Indian civil servant family. He served for a short time as an officer in the British army and after that became an employee of the British East Indian Company. At the age of thirty two, shortly after the death of his father, he sailed with his own ship to theDutch East Indies. He offered his services in different places and became frequently involved in the internal quarrels of the native rulers.

He was trusted by the Dutch Governor General J.D. Eerens, who issued him with a letter of free passage and a letter of recommendation for the Dutch governmental posts. He did not achieve anything on southCelebes, but was able to remain permanently on Serawak by offering military services to the sultan of Brunai. He was raised to the Rajah of Serawak for these services. His nick name was ´The white Rajah of Serawak´.

In 1847 he was able, by again offering his services to the sultan of Brunai, to obtain theislandofLabuanas a coal station forGreat   Britain. He was appointed Governor ofLabuanand as the British Consul General of his own sovereignty of Serawak.

His experiences caught the imagination of the public. The whole ofEuropelay in romantic devotion at his feet.

Nico J. Gerharz, brass band drum major and conductor inBatavia.

The army had its own brass band since 1836. Sometimes they performed concerts for the public and sometimes they played dance music during official parties.

Second Lieutenant Nico Gerharz formed an orchestra from the military brass band to perform well known classical music. These were opus that was composed for an orchestra and where solo musicians performed. Gerharz became conductor of Concordia inBataviain 1904.

From 1905 onwards symphony concerts were performed under his management, with works from Berlioz, Charpentier, Tchaikovsky, Dvorak and many other composers. The performances of the orchestra brought about a change in the musical life in theDutch East Indies. The concerts were performed once a month and the concert hall was filled to the brim.

´Woh the person´ wrote Victor Ido, ´who at the start of a concert decided to have a last drink or to begin chatting with some one. The conductor looked at the person, in view of the whole concert hall, with his piercing eyes. It was even worse for those who came too late. They were forced to stand during the whole performance in order to prevent annoying shuffling of the legs of the chairs´.

Maria Dermout (writer).

Maria Dermout – Ingerman was born on the 15th of June 1888 at Pekalongan. She spends the first twelve years of her childhood at the sugar factory Redjosari in theDutch East Indies. After learning for four years at a school inHaarlem, The Netherlands, she married at the age of nineteen with Mr. I.J. Dermout. They had two children.

She considered herself not to be a writer. She also thought that she had not mastered the art of writing good enough and that it was not her intention to become a writer.

She wanted to relate what she saw, heard or felt and that is why she tried to express herself as simple and introvert as possible. ´I have had the great privilege that there were always great story tellers, male and female, in my lifetime, not to mention books´.

She was inspired by the country where she lived. Thereafter by the revelations from the legends and history and she was inspired again. To the sources which inspired her were the works of Dr. Francois Valentijn from1724, apreacher on the Moluccan islands, and Rumphius who defined the natural living conditions onAmbonin the smallest detail in his book ´D´Amboinische Rariteitenkamer´ which was published in 1705. After her death in 1961 two books were published followed by the publishing of her combined work in one book. This consisted of short stories which she wrote between 1910 and 1933.

Habib, the loved one.

Habib Abdurachman Zahir was a person who was very well respected in Atjeh. He was an Arabian of birth and a very well learned person. Because of his pilgrimage toMeccahe was a Hadji. He was also very learned in the scriptures and had an exceptional knowledge of western customs. The Uleemas of Atjeh, who were versed in the scriptures and were also preachers, followed him and the people adored him. Habib Abdurachman sought foreign aid for Atjeh and travelled toConstantinoplewith the proxies of the Sagi chiefs allowing him to negotiate in the name of Atjeh with the Guardian of the Caliphate.

His offer to the Raised Gate (the old name ofTurkey) consisted that the sultan of Atjeh, his empire and his subjects would subjugate themselves to the Caliph of the Islam. This would also include the proceeds of the pepper rights.Turkeyreused to accept the offer because of diplomatic pressure brought to bear uponTurkeyby The Netherlands,Russia,FranceandGermany. A little while later,Great Britain, through Disraeli, let it be known that they would also not interfere.

The way was now clear for The Netherlands to send a second armed expedition to conquer Atjeh.

Habib returned to Atjeh and led the resistance against the Dutch.

Johan Fabricius.

Johan Fabricius was born in a stately Indonesian house on the Bragaweg. It had house number 2. He was the son of playwright Jan Fabricius. The family lived in The Netherlands as of 1902. The family returned to theDutch East Indiesin 1910 for a period of four years. The family moved toParisin 1914, where Johan developed his talent for artistic drawings. In 1918 he took lessons at the Academy for Expressive Art inThe Hague. Painting, especially portraits were his passion. He enjoyed it more than writing. For him, to write meant to work.

But the urge to write became stronger after his first book ´Eiko van de Reigershof´ was published in 1922. His best known books are the classical ´ cabin boys of the Bontekoe´; ´Comedians passed by´, and ´The girl with the blue hat´. He wrote a little less than a hundred historical stories and children’s books. The main characters in his books were mostly based on persons he had met somewhere during his world travels. Whenever he returned to theDutch East Indies, he felt at home. He was acquainted with many people. Inspired by the Javanese poet Noto Suroto he wrote ´Shadow game´.´TheIslandof demons´ was inspired by Polok, the Balinese girlfriend of the painter Le Meilleur.

Lieutenant General Gerardus J. Berenschot.

Gerardus Berenschot was born on the 24th of July 1887at Solok onSumatra. He was the son of a Dutch KNIL officer and a Eurasian woman. He attended the Cadet school atAlkmaar, The Netherlands and thereafter the Royal Military Academy (KMA) atBreda, The Netherlands.

Upon his return to the Dutch East Indies he took part in the war against Atjeh and served with the corps Marechausee (a Paramilitary unit comparable to the Spanish Guardia Civil). He studied at the AdvancedWarAcademyand was from 1925 up until 1930 employed as an instructor at the same Academy. He returned to the Dutch East Indiesin 1934 where he was appointed Chief of the General Staff. During this period the Dutch government had began an austerity program for the armed forces. In 1939 he was appointed Commander-in-Chief of the army. His task was to modernize the KNIL, which mainly was used for police work, and get it in shape for the defence of the archipelago against a foreign power, meaning Japan. On the 31st of October he held consultations inBatavia with the British Commander-in-Chief for the Far East, Air Marshall Brooke-Popham, after which he would fly back toBandung. The plane crashed shortly after take off from Kemajoran airdrome. All the passengers and crew were killed.

Bep Vuyk (writer).

Bep Vuyk was born in1905 inRotterdam. She left for Java at the end of 1929 to teach cooking and foodstuffs. In 1932 she married F. van Willigen, a thee planter from central Java. Due to the financial crisis he was fired in the same year. They were now confronted with the choice of a modest existence in semi-poverty on Java or make the adventurous move to the Moluccans where her husband’s family owned a neglected kaju putih business onBuru. They chose for the latter.

Her first novel ´Thousand islands´ was published in1937. Inthis novel she describes her first reactions about acquainting herself withIndonesia, the land that was the source of her inspirations. In the book she describes the life of two persons on a thee plantation. One person came from The Netherlands; the other was born and raised inIndonesia. Both had to make a choice how to get on with their lives due to the crisis they were in. in the novels and short stories of Bep Vuyk are work and freedom inseparable. Her novel ´The last house in the world´ received the ´van der Hoogt´ award. Later she wrote ´Bara´s wood´ and were some of her short stories bounded.

During the Japanese occupation, Bep Vuyk and her two sons lived in a Japanese internment camp. After the independence ofIndonesiashe and her husband became Indonesian citizens. Due to the worsening political situation inIndonesiathey decided to leave for The Netherlands in 1958.

Paul Seeling (1876-1945).

The gifted composer Paul Seeling died on the 13th of June1945 in the Japanese camp ´Meester Cornelis´ on Java. His compositions are almost unknown in The Netherlands.

Paul Seeling was born in 1876 atBreda, The Netherlands. He received his diversified musical education mainly from well known teachers inGermany. He studied piano, cello, instrumentation and music theory. In 1898 he was appointed second conductor of the ´Stadt theater´ inEssen,Germany.

As of 1900 he led the court orchestra of the Susuhunan of Surakarta. He investigated and studied the music of the east during his eight years at Solo. He then moved toThailandto be the director and advisor of the Royal Orchestra inBangkok.

The compositions of Seeling are a combination of eastern and western music. Much of his works have been lost during the Second World War. His music has been played in Europe, theUnited StatesandJapan, but funny enough never in The Netherlands. One of his piano concerts was performed in theDutch East Indiesby the pianist Kathe Haase, the mother of the writer Hella Haase.

After 1930 he was completely involved with his publishing company and his music businesses inSurabaya,Bandung,BataviaandSemarang.

Cornelis Matelief de Jonge.

Cornelis M. de Jonge was in The Dutch East Indies from 1605 until 1608 as an admiral of the V.O.C. fleet and fought against the Portuguese and the Spaniards.

During this period he got involved with V.O.C. fleets, whose ship’s councils took individual decisions with regards to trade relations and the establishment of strong points and trading posts. He realized the necessity for a central governed organization based on a unilateral policy and definite aims.

De Jonge designed a plan for future V.O.C. policies in theDutch East Indies. His plan was as follows:

The V.O.C. had to concentrate first on theMoluccanIslandsin order to obtain a monopoly position.

An effective central organization under the leadership of a Governor General had to be set up according to the Portuguese example. This organization would have to operate from a permanent, central headquarters. The products bought in Asia could be shipped from here toEurope.

The V.O.C. should also, according to the Portuguese example, develop an economic system for the internal Asiatic trade (making profits via purchase and sales within Asia, and to use these profits to purchase goods destined forEurope).

Pa van der Steur.

Johannes van der Steur was born in Haarlem, The Netherlands on the 10th of July 1864. He left for theDutch East Indies in September of 1892. The Word of God was holy for him and as a missionary he offered help and assistance to the poor in the poverty stricken parts ofHaarlem at an early age.

His work as a missionary of the Midnight mission, which concerned itself with the conversion of the visitors of brothels who left their pay there instead of using it for their family brought Johannes van der Steur to Harderwijk. The colonial recruiting depot, where soldiers were trained for theDutch East Indieswas located in this town. After listening to he stories related to him by returning soldiers over the life in the East, he decided to move to The Dutch East Indies to set up military homes to make the life for the soldiers a little easier.

He finally reached Magelan in central Java with money donated from rich families fromThe Hague. He founded his first military home in this large garrison town. It took some time before the number of visiting soldiers increased.

Not long afterwards Johannes was confronted by four children from the country side who were in desperate need of assistance. They were Christien, Lucy, Marie and Giorgio Pappolo. Their Italian father had died and his native wife lived under terrible circumstances somewhere in the back country side. Pa van der Steur took the children into his newly founded military home in Magelang. It was the beginning of an almost endless string of children which he took into his house ´Oranje Nassau´ and whom he cared for with love and affection.

Most of the time it was ´father dead, mother poor´ or ´father gone, mother poor or ill or hade gone away with another soldier´ Most of them were children of European fathers and native mothers. Pa van der Steur fed them and taught them a trade. The number of children grew constantly. He received help from family and volunteers from The Netherlands. He married Anna Maria Zwager in 1907, and she was like a real ´mom´ for the children. Houses were founded also in Sukabumi and Tjimahi.

He received financial aid from the ´committee of Welfare´ in The Netherlands, the government and many, many private donation from the ´Union of old Steurtjes´ in Surabaya. Thousands of ´Steurtjes´ entered society, well brought up and educated thanks to the loving care of Pa van der Steur. He died in Magelang on the 16th of September 1945.

Maria van Zeggelen (writer).

Maria van Zeggelen (1870 – 1957) belonged to the group of ethnic writers. These writers were more interested in writing about the Indonesians, his living needs, living circumstances, his existence philosophy and his community life.

Her popular children’s book ´The golden Kris´ was published in 1908. It is a story about the recently conquered regions of south Celebes (Sulawesi). Being the wife of the KNIL officer H.A. Kooy she spends some years at a lonely military outpost in that region. Her book is filled with interesting facts about the Buginese society.

In her book ´The Dutch wife in the Indies´, which was published in 1910, she describes the boring and empty existence of Dutch wife within the European community on Java. The life of the main characters changes when the wife follows her husband to the uninhabitable mountainous region of southCelebeswhere only Indonesians live.

Her book ´The Colonial Boy´, published in 1920, is about a young governmental civil servant who operates in complete harmony with the native sovereign. The ethnical thought process is the red line in this book. One of the sovereign’s daughters becomes very sympathetic towards him.

The Atjeh Empire is described in the book ´Old Glory´. She describes the Atjeh empire if the 16th and 17th century when Atjeh played a leading role in south east Asia.

´Kartini´ is the romantic biography of the young daughter of the sovereign of Japara. She died at an early age, when she was fighting for Javanese women’s emancipation. She is remembered inIndonesiaevery year on ´Kartina day´.

Louis Couperus (writer).

Louis Couperus (1863 – 1923) spend a great part of his childhood in theDutch East Indies. The writer, who was born inThe Hague, wrote the novel ´ The Silent Force´ in 1900. This was a pinnacle in the literature of theDutch East Indies.

The native population became more involved in this novel. It was around the time that there was an ethnic revival in The Netherlands. More interest and care for the ´native´ was the slogan. The aim was an ´assimilation policy´ where white and coloured people would melt together with the final goal to make theDutch East Indiesindependent.

A group of writers harboured these ideas around the turn of the century and made them clearly visible. Couperus describes in ´The Silent Force´ the Javanese nobility extensively and with respect. Couperus extensively describes the mysticism of the East, ´the silent force, which was incomprehensible for a westerner but at the same time so intriguing. The obnoxious Resident van Oudijck finally succumbs when his family is confronted by the secretive force. Penniless and disillusioned, but especially filled with incomprehension he remains solely in the desa.

The book criticises the role of The Netherlands with respect to theDutch East Indies. But especially the governmental policy from The Netherlands, which had only one goal in mind and that was to bleed the country and the people dry.

´Yes and once the Eurasians will rise up threatening against the pressure and disdain of the white rulers´.

Raymond Westerling.

Raymond Westerling was born in1919 inIstanbul. His father was Dutch and his mother of Turkish – Greek descent. He reported as a volunteer for the Dutch army at the Dutch consulate inTurkey. He was accepted and received a commando training inCanadaandGreat Britain. He was parachuted by the British on Sumatra to organize and train a police force after the capitulation ofJapan.

He was transferred in December 1946 toMakassarand appointed commanding officer of the Special Forces Depot. The unit consisted of around 130 men. His assignment was to regain control and restore peace and order in this region which was under control of plunderers (rampokkers). The plunderers were large, independent operating groups, who hid in the country side and there terrorised and intimidated the population. They were criminal gangs who were only self interested using the excuse of being guerrilla fighters against the Dutch authorities, and committed horrible brutalities against their own people. Westerling and his men unleashed a reign of terror which caused 3000 fatalities. Westerling remained on southCelebesuntil March 1947 after which he was posted to Java.

Charles Edgar du Perron.

Du Perron belonged to the first Dutch writers who were born and raised in theDutch East Indies. His book ´The land of my origin´ was published in 1935. Du Perron described the personality of Arthur Ducroo who was beset with home sickness to his youthful times in theDutch East Indieswhich he had left when he was twenty – two years old.

This novel was the first and largest nostalgic colonial document in Dutch literature.

In this novel the younger years of Ducroo are described both in the Dutch East Indies andEurope.

The works of du Perron were initially published under his ghost writer name Duco Perkins. The complete works of Duco Perkins were published in 1926 under the title ´For want of earnestly´. He returned to the Dutch East Indies in 1936 because of the recession inEurope. He worked there for a few years as a freelance journalist. It was during this time that a group of writers who were attracted by the idea of Indonesian nationalism. Du Perron also contributed to ´Criticism and Restoration.´, a magazine which acknowledged the right if independence.

Du Perron returned to the Netherlandsin 1939 and went to live in Bergen. He died on the 14th of May 1940 just after the German invasion.


Georg Everhard Rhumpius is known for his standard literary works ´Ambonsche Historie´ and ´Herbarium Amboinense´, later translated into Dutch with the titles ´Het Amboinsch Kruidboek´ and the ´Amboinsche Rariteitenkamer´.

Georg Rhumpius was born in1628 inHanau,Germany. He left for theDutch East Indiesin1653 inthe service of the V.O.C. as a midshipman. He was stationed onAmbon.

A number of years later he became an employee of the V.O.C. as a merchant. He lived on Hitu, the northern peninsula of theislandofAmbon. In Hitu he used his diversified knowledge to make analytical descriptions of the physical and biological aspects of plants, animals and people in his surroundings. He recorded his findings in many documents.

He became blind at a later age. Because of his exceptional services the V.O.C. offered him a desk function with the same rank and pay. Although he was handicapped he continued, with the aid of his son Paul August, his studies. He died on the 15th of June 1702 on the island he loved so much,Ambon. The information he left behind is of immense value.

General H. S. Spoor.

Simon Hendrik Spoor was born in Amsterdamon the 12th of January 1902. In 1918 he enrolled in the Cadet school at Alkmaar. He then was admitted to the Royal Military College in Breda. He was posted to the KNIL in 1923 with the rank of second lieutenant of the infantry. Between 1929 and 1932 he followed a course at the Advanced Military Academy in The Hague, and then returned to the Dutch East Indies. He was promoted to captain in 1934 and appointed as an instructor at the Royal Military College at Breda. In 1941 he was appointed as lecturer at the Advanced Military School in Bandung. On the 8th of March 1942 he was attached to the headquarters of General MacArthur inAustralia. He was the head of the Dutch Military Intelligence Service (NEFIS)

After the capitulation of Japanhe returned to the Dutch East Indies. He was promoted to the rank of Major General in September of 1946 and appointed Commander of the KNIL and all land armed forces in the Dutch
East Indies. He was promoted to the rank of General on the 1st of May 1949. He died on the 25th of May 1949 and is buried with his soldiers at the military cemetery Menteng Pulu.

General Spoor died under suspicious circumstances concerning the treasure of Nakamura (he had ordered an investigation into the disappearance of the treasure) together with the editor J.H. Houbolt, the security officer, ensign R.C.I. Aernaut and Mr. W.J. Haye.

M. H. Szekely – Lulofs (writer).

Madelon H. Szekely – Lulofs (1899-1958) was born at Atjeh as the daughter of a governmental civil servant. She experienced personally the rough life on the rubber plantations when she married the Hungarian writer and plantation owner Szekely.

Her first novel ´Rubber´ was published in 1931. Through this novel she became well known. A film was made of the novel in1936. Inher novel she describes the tough, raw and particularly lonely existence on the rubber plantations at Deli during the twenties of the previous century. The Europeans earned a great deal of money from the rubber industry. But because of the loneliness and boredom, the main characters led a decadent lifestyle and spend their free time in the club where very often wild parties were held which sometimes ended in orgies. Whenever the rubber market crashed, it was followed by many bankruptcies and redundancy of the employees.

Her second novel, ´Koelie´ was published in1932. Incontrast to the life style of the Europeans this novel describes the harsh life of the contract koelies, Ruki, very explicitly and with him all the under contract working rubber tappers. Ruki was beaten on the infamous plantations and the little pay he received went mostly in the gambling pot, so he was forced to sign on for another two years.

Tjut Nja Din is a novel in which Madelon Lulofs fervently describes the continuing struggle against the Dutch of an Atjeh female sovereign after her husband Teuku Umar had been killed after years of persecution by the forces of van Heutz.


All the information that has been gathered in this book has been retrieved from Dutch and Indonesian archives and was complemented by information extracted form different internet sites.

The information has been verified during numerous visits to Indonesia, where all the large islands, the Moluccans and the Strait of Malacca have been visited. In these countries, discussions have taken place with many important public persons under which attorney generals, generals, chiefs of police and historians.

This printed book will not be used for any commercial goals.

Rob Dias