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Confronting built heritage: Shifting perspectives on colonial architecture in Indonesia

Pauline K.M. van Roosmalen

Résumés

Depuis les années 1990, les journaux indonésiens, notamment les éditions du dimanche, publient régulièrement des articles en faveur du patrimoine bâti colonial de l'Indonésie. Rédigés majoritairement par de jeunes journalistes, les articles louent l'esthétique et la signification historique des bâtiments et paysages urbains ou bien soulignent les menaces auxquelles ils seraient exposé. Pour la plupart des non-Indonésiens, et notamment pour les Européens et les Américains, cette attitude détendue et positive vis-à-vis de souvenirs concrets et souvent marquants du passé colonial de l'Indonésie est surprenante. Voir des Indonésiens en fausse tenue coloniale visitant ce patrimoine sur un vélo hollandais provoque la stupéfaction. À travers la description du changement dans l'appréciation du patrimoine colonial bâti de l'Indonésie et des acteurs à l'origine de cette évolution, cet article analyse la façon dont l'Indonésie et les Pays-Bas se sont progressivement appropriés le patrimoine bâti de leur passé colonial commun.

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Entrées d’index

Index de mots-clés :

patrimoine colonial, appropriation

Index by keyword :

colonial heritage, appropriation

Indice de palabras clave :

patrimonio colonial, apropiación

Schlagwortindex :

Kolonialerbe, Aneignung

Index géographique :

Pays-Bas, Indonésie

Index chronologique :

XXe siècle, XXIe siècle

Territoires anciens :

Indes orientales néerlandaises
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Texte intégral

1Colonial built heritage is a multifaceted and sensitive subject. The colonial context arouses political and ideological reactions, often characterised by a mixture of condemnation, disregard, embarrassment, and inactivity. The dual parenthood of the buildings, shared by colonized and colonizer, is a key issue. Although for a long time this was true for the colonial built heritage in Indonesia, over the last two decades, the situation has changed radically. Because colonial buildings are tactile, frequently striking, and sometimes dominant, they have proved to be an accessible and effective channel for visualising the colonial past and familiarising the public with it. As a result, the negative outlook on colonial architecture and town plans has gradually been replaced by a much more positive attitude. While awareness and appreciation won ground and political perspectives shifted, Indonesia and the Netherlands gradually appropriated the colonial built heritage in Indonesia.

Interacting with the past

  • 1 The Netherlands’ presence in the archipelago lasted nearly uninterrupted for 350 years. From 1602 u (...)

2From the end of the 20th-century onwards, Indonesian newspapers, notably the cultural supplements of Sunday editions aimed at the middle class, have regularly featured articles about the East Indian Company (VOC) in Indonesia and colonial built heritage.1 Often written by young authors, the articles either praise the aesthetics and historical relevance of buildings and townscapes or highlight the many threats they face. To most non-Indonesians, notably Europeans and Americans, the relaxed and positive attitude towards these tactile and often prominent reminders of Indonesia’s VOC and colonial past comes as a surprise. A response often develops into sheer astonishment when confronted with Indonesians exploring Indonesia’s old city centres on heritage walking tours or on old Dutch bikes, with or without mock colonial outfits (fig. 1).

Figure 1: Impressions of the Heritage Walking Tour and Festival, Jakarta (2008).

Figure 1: Impressions of the Heritage Walking Tour and Festival, Jakarta (2008).

Source: Yatun Sastramidjaja, Amsterdam.

  • 2 This is not to say that the Netherlands is devoid of traces of the VOC and colonial past. See for e (...)

3The interest of the Indonesian middle class for their country’s national history and architecture mirrors that of the Dutch middle class. Although period costumes, bikes and cars are absent in the Netherlands, the Dutch middle class also increasingly visit historic and architecturally interesting buildings and gardens. However, an important difference between the Netherlands and Indonesia is that whereas the colonial past often features in Indonesia, it generally plays a supporting role in the Netherlands. This is not because there are no buildings in the Netherlands that bear witness to that period or because the colonial period is considered insignificant in Dutch history. The reason is rather the reverse and much more prosaic: because the colonial period caused political debates as well as great financial and cultural prosperity in the Netherlands, many Dutch were and are uncomfortable rather than content about the Netherlands’ overseas political and cultural legacy. Because it is a stark reminder of a contentious period in Dutch history, the colonial past and its cultural legacy have often been ignored.2 When colonial built heritage makes headlines in the Netherlands, it is usually in newspaper articles focussing on its dilapidated condition or attempts to save it. What escapes most Dutch though, is that the buildings or areas described are part of a quantitatively and qualitatively substantial and significant body or work. The Dutch who are aware and involved usually have a personal or professional link with Indonesia. It was this group that, through careful lobbying, managed to soften the Dutch uneasiness about its colonial endeavour and enhance an interest in colonial built heritage in Indonesia.

  • 3 In this article, the term appropriation is used to indicate psychological and rational acceptance a (...)

4Architecture and town plans in themselves do not necessarily instil awareness and appreciation, or lead to appropriation by a country’s citizens or visitors.3 Appreciation and appropriation are even less common when the artefacts originate from a period of foreign domination, because they act as reminders of the period of foreign domination. Likewise, from a former coloniser’s perspective, they are no longer situated within existing national boundaries. For these reasons, it is remarkable that the awareness, appreciation and appropriation of colonial built heritage in Indonesia have gradually been increasing over the last decades. This is the case both in Indonesia, where the physical presence of the buildings is a constant reminder of the former Dutch presence, as well as in the Netherlands, where colonial built heritage is not so obviously a day to day reality.

  • 4 See, for example: Huib Akihary, Architectuur en stedebouw in Indonesië 1870-1970, Zutphen: Walburg (...)
  • 5 Abidin Kusno is an Indonesian architect and associate professor at the Institute of Asian Research (...)
  • 6 Pauline K.M. van Roosmalen, “Yours or Mine? Architectural Heritage in Indonesia”, Safeguarding and (...)

5To a large extent, this increasing appreciation and appropriation of Indonesia’s colonial built heritage over the last two decades has been stimulated by a growing canon of work, both scholarly and popular.4 But whilst many of these publications record and assess Indonesia’s colonial built heritage, to date very few address and discuss the growing levels of appropriation by Indonesians and the Dutch. Researchers who do address the appropriation of colonial built heritage, notably Abidin Kusno and Yatun Sastramidjaja, focus exclusively on the situation in Indonesia.5 By concentrating on the role of colonial built heritage in Indonesia’s post-colonial political framework and societal changes, however, Kusno and Sastramidjaja not only disregard architecture as an autonomous discipline; they also ignore Indonesia’s colonial built heritage’s dual parenthood; i.e., the position of the former colonial power.6 Because writers like Kusno and Sastramidjaja concentrate on the political and societal aspects of appropriation by Indonesians while excluding issues related to preservation and the appropriation by the former colonial power, significant aspects of the assessment and appropriation of colonial built heritage in Indonesia remain underexposed.

  • 7 For the purposes of simplicity, from now on the article will no longer differentiate between VOC an (...)

6This is a remarkable situation, as it is exactly the colonial origin and its consequential dual parenthood that makes the appropriation of colonial built heritage so complex, for the former colonies as well as for the former coloniser. Whilst built by indigenous construction workers, colonial architecture and town plans in Indonesia were predominantly designed by European architects and indigenous architects trained in Europe. It is this ambiguity that has made the appropriation of colonial artefacts a complex and contested subject matter touching on a wide variety of issues. By outlining the changing appreciation of Indonesia’s colonial built heritage—the factors that drove this development and their consequences for the architectural and planning artefacts—this article explores the complexity of this topic by describing the shifting set of values and their consequences. It contextualizes a phenomenon experienced throughout the post-colonial world: the post-colonial appropriation of colonial built heritage by the former colonized and the former colonizer, and the future of that heritage.7

Ignoring the colonial past (1950-1982)

Indonesia

7Indonesia’s present relaxed and even appreciative attitude towards its colonial built heritage contrasts sharply with the mindset that prevailed following Indonesia’s independence. Although Sukarno, the Republic’s first President, and Mohammad Hatta, the Republic’s first Prime Minister, proclaimed Indonesia’s independence on August 17, 1945, the Netherlands did not acknowledge Indonesian statehood until four years later. Under heavy pressure from the United Nations, the Netherlands finally signed the transfer of sovereignty over the archipelago (minus Dutch New Guinea) to the Republic of Indonesia on December 17, 1949. The colonial war that swept Indonesia prior to the transfer seriously affected diplomatic relationships between the two countries. For many years in the aftermath of the war, the relationship between the (former) coloniser and the (former) colonised was complicated, tense and sensitive.

  • 8 Sukarno was not the first to remove traces of Dutch presence in Indonesia. The Japanese who ruled I (...)

8In contrast to today’s rather appreciative attitude, indifference characterized the general approach to the colonial past during the founding years of the Indonesian Republic. Not least because of economic and practical reasons (limited financial, material and human resources), most buildings (residential, commercial, utilitarian) and town plans designed by and built for Europeans during the colonial era were left untouched, even though they were obvious and tactile reminders of that period. Except for several campaigns that resulted in the removal or outlawing of elements that harked back to the days when the Dutch ruled the archipelago, for example Dutch language and commemorative monuments, the colonial past was largely ignored.8 Rather than demolishing colonial but structurally sound buildings, Sukarno, who held an engineering degree from Bandung’s Polytechnic, ignored the colonial artefact and focussed instead on realising new building and planning schemes. Thanks to generous development funds granted to Indonesia, first from the USA and later from the USSR, Sukarno was able to instigate a variety of projects: buildings, infrastructure, and nationalist monuments celebrating, among others, the liberation of West Irian from Dutch colonial rule and the 1962 Asian Games, and Indonesia’s aerospace achievements.

  • 9 New Kebajoran was designed in 1948 by Mohamed Soesilo, employee at the Batavia-based Dutch East Ind (...)
  • 10 The column’s wide base accommodates a museum illustrating Indonesia’s history in dioramas.

9The majority of Sukarno’s other building projects were realised in Jakarta, the republic’s capital (known as Batavia under Dutch rule). An important project was the construction of Thamrin-Sudirman Street, a thoroughfare lined with iconic high rise buildings that connected northern downtown Jakarta with the southern satellite town New Kebajoran (Kebajoran Baru)9 (fig. 2). Another monumental project was the design and construction of the National Monument (Monumen Nasional, MONAS) (1955-75), a tall square column, visible from afar, topped with a gilded flame.10 It was situated in the centre of the impressive one-by-one-kilometre Freedom Square (Medan Merdeka)—the former Dutch parade ground named King’s Square (Koningsplein). The implicit message of the monument was hard to miss.

10Sukarno’s aspiration to introduce a Western, or rather American lifestyle, is seen in the construction of Sarinah, Indonesia’s first high-rise department store, and Hotel Indonesia (1961), Indonesia’s first five-star hotel designed by American architect Abel Sorensen. Both buildings were strategically situated alongside Thamrin-Sudirman Street. In terms of planning, two projects stand out: the scheme implemented for the 1962 Asian Games in southern Jakarta, and the partially executed town plan for Palangkaraya, the proposed new capital city in the centre of the Indonesian archipelago.

Figure 2: Thamrin Street, Jakarta (c.1970): the second building from the left is department store Sarinah.

Figure 2: Thamrin Street, Jakarta (c.1970): the second building from the left is department store Sarinah.

Source: Jakarta membangun/Jakarta in Progress, Jakarta, Pemerintah Daerah Chusus Ibukota Jakarta, 1972, p. 154.

Figure 3: Model Hotel Banteng, Jakarta (1961): Friedrich Silaban (left) and Sukarno (second from the left).

Figure 3: Model Hotel Banteng, Jakarta (1961): Friedrich Silaban (left) and Sukarno (second from the left).

Source: Archive F. Silaban, Jakarta.

11Sukarno initiated projects that applied the vocabulary of the International Style, reflecting his ambition to build a united, modern country, a player on the international political and economic scene, while simultaneously celebrating Indonesia’s rich ethnic, religious and cultural diversity and emphasizing its national identity. As long as the buildings and urban fabric from colonial times did not interfere with this ambition, they were generally left untouched and unaltered.

  • 11 Pauline K.M. van Roosmalen, Ontwerpen aan de stad. Stedenbouw in Nederlands-Indië en Indonesië, op. (...)
  • 12 Dorothee C. Segaar-Höweler, J.M. Groenewegen 1888-1980. Een Hagenaar als Indonesisch architect, Rot (...)

12To promote Indonesia’s national identity, most design commissions were given to Indonesian architects—or so the Indonesian government wanted the Indonesian public to believe. In reality, the situation in the new republic was slightly more intricate. For although after 1949, the Dutch no longer acted in leading positions and after 1957 were no longer allowed to run their own companies, they continued to work in the archipelago.11 J. M. (Han) Groenewegen was one such architect. The former owner of a successful architecture firm in pre-war Medan, Groenewegen opened a new firm in Jakarta in 1950, after the transfer of sovereignty. Following the political turmoil of 1957, he was left with little choice aside from becoming the partner of an Indonesian-run firm. This firm, headed by the Indonesian architect Friedrich Silaban, was granted some of the most prestigious immediate post-independence design projects in Jakarta: the head office for the Bank of Indonesia (Bank Indonesia, formerly Javasche Bank) (1957-1963); Istiqlal mosque (1955), at the time the largest mosque of Southeast Asia, facing the late 19th-century cathedral; and Hotel Banteng (now Hotel Borobudur) (1962), a luxury five-star hotel with an Olympic-sized swimming pool (fig. 3). These buildings were all hailed as projects designed by Silaban, the Republic of Indonesia’s first Indonesian architect, and as a result, to date Groenewegen’s contribution to them remains marginalised and unclear.12

  • 13 The kampong improvement projects initiated under Suharto echoed similar projects undertaken by the (...)

13The indifference towards colonial buildings and urban fabric—which ironically secured their continued existence—was maintained after 1965, when General Suharto overthrew Sukarno. As Suharto’s grip on the country tightened, methods of expressing and endorsing nationalism changed. Under Suharto, nationalism increasingly focused on the promotion of Indonesia’s national folk assets: regional costumes, songs, dance and architecture. The concept of Beautiful Indonesia Miniature Park (Taman Mini Indonesia Indah, TMII) is a perfect illustration of Suharto’s approach (fig. 4). Opened in 1972, the vast and carefully designed recreational park offered visitors the possibility to visit traditional houses, listen to songs, watch dances and enjoy local food from Indonesia’s 26 provinces on a single site in a single day. Of an entirely different nature but equally important in terms of nation building, were the Kampong Improvement Projects Suharto initiated: projects aimed at ameliorating the housing conditions for large numbers of low-income families.13

Figure 4: Plan of “Beautiful Indonesia” Miniature Park (Taman Mini “Indonesia Indah”, TMII), Jakarta (1972): the islands in the lake reflect the layout of Indonesia's main islands.

Figure 4: Plan of “Beautiful Indonesia” Miniature Park (Taman Mini “Indonesia Indah”, TMII), Jakarta (1972): the islands in the lake reflect the layout of Indonesia's main islands.

Source: http://nl.wikipedia.org/​wiki/​Taman_Mini_Indonesia_Indah.

  • 14 Yatun Sastramidjaja, “Playing with the past”, op. cit (note 5).

14Enhancing nationalism via vernacular rather than imported icons was not the only difference between Sukarno’s and Suharto’s approaches. Another distinguishing feature was that under Suharto, Indonesia’s colonial period was increasingly described in simplistic and dialectic terms of suffering and oppression.14 This approach combined with seemingly endless permits given to multinationals, national entrepreneurs and investors, to exploit Indonesia’s (natural) assets. In the 1980s and 1990s, it led to a fierce and apparently inexhaustible hunt for potential building sites, particularly in old town centres and neighbourhoods. It was this development that ultimately led to the demise and, later on, the revaluation of colonial architecture and planning.

The Netherlands

  • 15 Suriname gained independence in 1975. The Antilles (Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao, Saba, Sint-Eustatius, (...)

15Compared to Indonesia’s initial indifference towards the tactile remnants of its colonial past, the Netherlands’ official stand about its colonial endeavour was of a different nature. Left little alternative but to hand over sovereignty to Indonesia in order to secure Marshall help, the Netherlands after 1950 had ceased to be a substantial colonial power. Although Suriname and the Antilles continued to be part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the loss of most of the Asian archipelago divested the Netherlands of its richest and most lucrative overseas possession.15

16It is important to emphasize that although, on a diplomatic level, a polite, aloof relationship was maintained, the new political situation did not alter the tone of personal and professional relationships between Dutch and Indonesians. As many personal accounts confirm, these relationships continued to be friendly and warm. It was not until 1957, when the Netherlands refused to cede Dutch New Guinea (Irian Barat) to Indonesia, that relations took a turn for the worse. The ensuing diplomatic and entrepreneurial stalemate lasted until the Netherlands, once again yielding to pressure from the United Nations, handed over its last Asian stronghold to the Republic in 1963.

  • 16 As a result, the experiences of those interned in Japanese camps between 1942 and 1945, under threa (...)

17During the ten to fifteen years after the Second World War, the Netherlands had switched its focus to its own post-war reconstruction, and was more inclined to overlook the loss of a colonial possession. Furthermore, as politics worldwide increasingly condemned European colonial regimes in the wake of World War II, post-war colonial embarrassment did not leave a lot of time and space for personal concerns—including the arrival of thousands of former colonial residents—let alone more abstract issues such as colonial architecture and planning.16 As a result, the colonial period, its consequences and its heritage, tended to be disregarded until the early 1970s. Only then, when diplomatic relations with Indonesia began to normalise and trade between both countries gradually picked up again, did the Netherlands seem ready to address and deal with this aspect of its history.

Recovering the colonial past (1982-present)

Indonesia

  • 17 In the 1970s Ali Sadikin initiated the restoration of Taman Fatahillah, Jakarta’s downtown main squ (...)
  • 18 Allegedly the building boom along Thamrin-Sudirman Street in the early 1980s can be linked to the 2 (...)

18By the early 1980s, a lay public, academia and some policy-makers in both Indonesia and the Netherlands had (re)discovered more positive aspects of the colonial past, notably its built heritage. Instrumental in this development was Ali Sadikin, Jakarta’s governor (1966-1977) and one of Indonesia’s more charismatic politicians. Sadikin’s support for preservation ordinances and projects was new and quite bold.17 His approach took root by the early 1980s, when Suharto’s economic policies, including a new banking system that allowed Indonesians to purchase goods on credit, began to leave irreversible traces on the urban landscape. As the economy grew at an astonishing rate and bulldozers continued to roll, ready to disrupt existing urban and social fabrics in economically strategic locations, the emerging Indonesian middle class was increasingly alarmed about the emblems of Indonesia’s economic success: shiny, high-rise office buildings, clad in stainless steel and glass, and new or widened thoroughfares.18

19Confronted with the far-reaching consequences and irreversible character of these developments, they started to question the permanent disappearance of the physical traces of Indonesia’s history, including the traces of Indonesia’s colonial past that, until then, had generally been disregarded. The past was not as black-and-white as the Sukarno and particularly the Suharto governments wanted Indonesians to think. After all the colonial administration was the power that had moulded the archipelago into the single administrative entity that became Indonesia. Professionals and non-professionals gradually realised that ignoring or demolishing tactile remnants from the colonial period would not alter or erase that history. It would only make its historical analysis more complicated. Acknowledging the quality of the design and construction of many colonial buildings and neighbourhoods, the emerging middle class heritage supporters argued it made sense to preserve and utilise the colonial built heritage rather than neglecting, abandoning or merely demolishing it.

Figure 5: Social Club De Harmonie, Batavia (1809).

Figure 5: Social Club De Harmonie, Batavia (1809).

Source: Nederlands Instituut voor Militaire Historie/Collection ML-KNIL, The Hague.

Figure 6: Traffic junction Harmoni, Jakarta (2007).

Figure 6: Traffic junction Harmoni, Jakarta (2007).

Source: Ger Cense, Zandvoort.

20The first public outcry in defence of this heritage occurred in 1982 when the Jakarta administration planned to tear down De Harmonie, the former home of an exclusive social club built in the early 19th-century, to make way for a road widening scheme (fig. 5). Although the protests ultimately failed to prevent the structure’s demolition, the protests were remarkable for two reasons (fig. 6). The first was that they concerned a building that was the ultimate symbol of a colonial regime. The second was that they prompted the establishment of local, regional and national organisations aimed at the preservation of Indonesia’s colonial heritage buildings. In the aftermaths of the attempts to save De Harmonie, the Indonesian heritage genie was well and truly out of the bottle.

  • 19 Due to the scarcity and inconsistency of written and oral information, precise dates—and sometimes (...)

21From the 1982 protests onwards, various citizens’ groups were founded, undertaking projects aimed at creating an awareness and promoting the preservation of Indonesia’s heritage, including colonial architecture and planning. The first interest group was established in Bandung in 1986. Remarkably, it was an American citizen fascinated by the quality and quantity of Art Deco architecture in her newly adopted town who chartered the Bandung Society for Heritage Conservation (Paguyuban Pelestarian Budaya Bandung, PPBB). PPBB spawned many other local, but also national, heritage organisations. The first national organisation established in Indonesia was Indonesia Heritage (Pusaka Indonesia). It was short-lived, founded in Jakarta in 1987 and disbanding around 1991. Its successor, the National Heritage Society (Badan Pusaka Indonesia) ceased to exist somewhere in the late 1990s.19 Ultimately stretching its wings internationally, PPBB was also instrumental in the foundation in 1998 of an Indonesia chapter of ICOMOS, the International Council on Monuments and Sites.

  • 20 The neglect referred to is caused by general neglect, not neglect caused by anti-colonial sentiment (...)

22From the beginning, regular PPBB activities included heritage walks, public lectures, meetings, publications, school programmes, research, the presentation of heritage awards, and hands-on projects, for example the temporary pedestrianisation of a street to demonstrate the effect of such measures on Bandung’s traffic flows. The PPBB, lobbying local governments to draw attention to the aesthetic and historical relevance of neglected buildings and town plans, listed 999 colonial buildings in Bandung by 1993.20 In the wake of PPBB’s activities, several of its members were and remain today involved in local restoration projects, such as the residence of Dutch-Indian architect C.P. Wolff Schoemaker and the Lower Court (Landraadgebouw) (fig. 7).

Figure 7: Lower Court (Landraadgebouw), Bandung: during and after restoration (2005-2007).

Figure 7: Lower Court (Landraadgebouw), Bandung: during and after restoration (2005-2007).

Source: Bandung Society for Heritage, Bandung.

  • 21 The 1930 Dutch East Indian Act on Monuments (Monumentenordonnantie) was translated into Indonesian (...)
  • 22 Due to the lack of systematic documentation, the historiography of Indonesian heritage predominantl (...)

23Indonesia’s heritage organisations have been active in lobbying national and local administrators to implement national legal instruments to protect and preserve Indonesia’s built heritage. They were instrumental in translating and adapting the 1931 Dutch East Indian Act on Monuments (Monumentenordonnantie) in 1992, and in widening its sphere of influence in 2000.21 And although Indonesian heritage organisations focus on heritage in general, a proportionally large amount of attention was and is given to the built environment of the colonial era.22

24Among Indonesians, the attention given to and appreciation of colonial built heritage significantly increased—and altered—at the end of the 1990s. The economic crisis that hit many Asian economies in 1997 not only crippled Indonesia’s economy and its building industry, it also instigated an outbreak of widespread public disorder, arson, and killings which eventually lead to the ousting of Suharto in 1998 and a another fundamental political reform, the so-called Reformation (Reformasi). It was the Reformation period that gradually allowed for a revision of Indonesia’s outlook on its colonial past. As a result, the simplistic view of the Netherlands as the archipelago’s oppressor was reconsidered in depth. In turn the awareness, appreciation and appropriation of the colonial past in general and colonial built heritage in particular were significantly altered.

  • 23 Yatun Sastramidjaja, “Playing with the past”, op. cit. (note 5); Yatun Sastramidjaja, “Virtual Iden (...)

25An illustration of this new outlook is Friends of the Museum (Sahabat Museum, BATMUS), a heritage organisation founded in 2002.23 Established during the first years of the political reform, BATMUS’ primary objective was to create a physical and emotional rapport with and a debate about the colonial past. To achieve this goal, BATMUS organised recreational yet didactic walking tours guided by local volunteers or professional experts. The loose and seemingly spontaneous approach remains very successful in terms of numbers with some excursions attracting up to 500 registered participants.

  • 24 Correspondence Frances B. Affandy (June 2012).

26Two years prior and two years after BATMUS’ establishment, two national heritage organisations were established: the Indonesia Network for Heritage Conservation (Jaringan Pelestarian Pusaka Indonesia, JPPI), formed in 2000, and the Indonesian Heritage Trust (Badan Pelestarian Pusaka Indonesia, BPPI), founded in 2004. The main differences between the JPPI and the BPPI, which co-exist to this day, are their slightly different objectives and their legal status. Whereas JPPI is a more informal organization aimed at establishing a network of preservation activists, the objective of BPPI, which is a legal body, is to safeguard the sustainability of Indonesian heritage. Indeed, BPPI was the first agency to draft an all-Indonesia statement on heritage principles.24 In 2008, another national organisation was added to the Indonesian heritage landscape: the Indonesian Network for Heritage Cities (Jaringan Kota Pusaka Indonesia, JKPI). JKPI currently (late 2013) is composed of 49 members located across the archipelago. Its principal objective is to establish cooperation between cities with important natural and cultural heritage sites, and various stakeholders and citizens. While the BPPI and JKPI frequently collaborate, the main difference between them is statutory: JKPI is a network of local governments while BPPI is a non-governmental citizens’ group.

27Another national organisation that came into being after 1998 is the Documentation Centre for Indonesian Architecture (Pusat Dokumentasi Arsitektur, PDA). Established in 2002, PDA’s main objective is to document built heritage in Indonesia, including colonial architecture and planning. PDA’s projects include the inventory of the early 19th-century palace of a Governor General (now the Ministry of Finance) and the former head office of the Javasche Bank (now Bank Indonesia), the Dutch East Indian circulation bank in Jakarta, and all Portuguese, British, Dutch, Japanese and indigenous fortresses throughout the archipelago (fig. 8-9). By presenting historical data in exhibitions, publications, seminars and websites, PDA contributes in a more scholarly manner to raising awareness about Indonesia’s built heritage.

Figure 8: Palace of Governor General H.W. Daendels, Batavia (1808-1813).

Figure 8: Palace of Governor General H.W. Daendels, Batavia (1808-1813).

Source: J.F.L. de Balbian Verster, M.C. Kooy-van Zeggelen, Batavia. Oud en Nieuw, Amsterdam, J.M. Meulenhoff, 1921.

Figure 9: Head office Javasche Bank, Batavia (late 19th-century1936).

Figure 9: Head office Javasche Bank, Batavia (late 19th-century–1936).

Source: Economisch Weekblad voor Nederlandsch-Indië (1941).

28Some unexpected players that entered the heritage arena in the first decade of the 21st-century were public-private companies, notably the Bank of Indonesia (Bank Indonesia, BI) and the Indonesian Railway Company (PT Kereta Api Indonesia, PTKA). Both companies were the direct heirs of Dutch institutions, and therefore the owners of a significant number of colonial buildings and the archives associated with them. They acknowledged and addressed the issue of preservation when their property seriously started to deteriorate due to vacancy neglect and ongoing alterations and modifications that failed to take the historic nature of the buildings into account. To counter these developments and turn their property into an asset rather than a burden, both BI and PTKA created special departments to deal with this issue.

29BI’s first endeavour in the field of restoration concerned its former head office in downtown Jakarta. It set up and carried out a project to document, restore and transform the deserted building into a museum of BI’s history in collaboration with PDA. After the BI museum officially opened in 2009, other BI offices across the archipelago organised similar renovations. The BI office in Solo was extended (2009-12) and subsequently restored (2012-14). In Surabaya the BI office was restored in 2010-11 while a former agency building was restored and transformed into BI’s library. All museums and the library are open to the public. BI’s commitment to heritage and preservation is not confined to its own property. In 2009, at the opening of the Bank Indonesia Museum in Jakarta, BI confirmed its commitment to the field of preservation by launching the Bank Indonesia Heritage Award: an annual award granted to preservation projects that meet BI’s criteria in the field. This was a particularly rare initiative in a country where incentives for restoration—or, for that matter, good architecture—continue to be in short supply.

30In 2009, a few years after BI, PTKA took a similar approach when it established its Heritage and Conservation Department (Pusat Pelestarian Benda dan Bangunan). Since then, the department has revitalised an existing railway line from Padang to Sawahlunto, restored its former head office in Semarang, the Railway Museum in Ambarawa, and organised numerous meetings, workshops and studies about the revitalisation of various railways and railway station in Central Java.

31In addition to these organised heritage groups, another “group” that could be categorised as a heritage interest group are the Indonesians who visit shops, restaurants, galleries and hotels housed in former colonial buildings and neighbourhoods. The trend started around 2000, when the middle class started to get bored with air-conditioned shopping malls and looked for alternatives. Unlike the activities of the organised heritage interest groups though, the “support” of the retail customers often comes with some downsides. When the renovated colonial facilities have been successful in attracting growing numbers of customers, the leafy, airy residential neighbourhoods where these attractions are located are rapidly transformed into suburban sprawl, with all the usual characteristics of such decay: widened roads, vast tarmac parking lots and glaring billboards that mar the original character of the building and the surrounding neighbourhood (fig. 10).

Figure 10: Factory outlets, Bandung (2000s).

Figure 10: Factory outlets, Bandung (2000s).

Source: Bandung Society for Heritage, Amsterdam.

The Netherlands

  • 25 Erika Bogaers and Peter de Ruijter, Ir. Thomas Karsten en de stedebouw in Nederlands Indië 1915-194 (...)
  • 26 Cor Passchier, at the time vice-president of BNA and one of the initiators of the agreement, pointe (...)

32Less exposed to the built heritage of the colonial past than Indonesians, the Dutch have also shown a growing interest in colonial built heritage during the 1980s and 1990s. While Dutch and non-Dutch scholars, notably Erica Bogaers, Coen Temminck Groll and Helen Jessup, undertook research into the topic, (restoration) architects were instrumental in instigating a debate about colonial built heritage.25 One of the outcomes of the latter was an agreement between the Dutch Association for Architects (Bond van Nederlandse Architecten, BNA) and its Indonesian counterpart (Ikatan Arsitek Indonesia, IAI) signed in 1987. Although the word “colonial” and even its generally accepted alternatives of “mutual”, “common” or “shared” were to be avoided in the agreement—“No politics, please” was a familiar phrase in those days—the agreement enabled BNA and IAI to engage in collaborative projects with regard to colonial built heritage.26

  • 27 After the BNA-IAI seminar, the exhibition that accompanied the seminar was presented in Helmond (19 (...)
  • 28 Radinal Moochtar, “Sambutan”, in Change and Heritage in Indonesian Cities, Proceedings of the semin (...)

33The first project initiated in the framework of the BNA-IAI agreement was a seminar entitled “Change and Heritage in Indonesian Cities,” accompanied by an exhibition.27 The seminar, held in Jakarta in 1988, was pivotal in Dutch-Indonesian cultural relations during the 1980s and early 1990s. On the one hand, it was a forum where Indonesian and Dutch architects and scholars discussed the topic for the first time. Moreover, Radinal Moochtar, the Indonesian Minister of Public Works, delivered a groundbreaking speech. He pointed out that since, by tradition, Indonesia’s indigenous culture was an assimilation of many cultures, the architectural contribution from the colonial period deserved to be treated likewise. He also asserted that “conserving selected monuments from th[is] period […] should be regarded as a kind of historical completeness and cultural survival”, encouraging scholars and architects to study architecture from the Dutch period, and insisting that trained heritage and architectural specialists were essential.28 Although brief, Moochtar’s speech was remarkable for its candid and radically constructive tone. It definitely eased cultural relationships and opened up the road for future collaborative projects between Indonesia and the Netherlands.

  • 29 From 2009-13 the GCE Policy prioritised Brazil, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Russia, South Africa, Sri  (...)
  • 30 Ed Smid and Paul van Eersel, Rapport over Mid-term review GCE-beleid, The Hague: Auditdiensten van (...)

34Unfortunately, the carefully constructed positive political atmosphere of the late 1980s came to a sudden halt when in 1992, Jan Pronk, the Netherlands’ Minister for Development Cooperation, criticised the human rights situation in Indonesia. The Republic was not amused and immediately froze all diplomatic and cultural relations between the two countries. In the face of a long series of failed attempts to rekindle cultural relations—not least because of internal Dutch politics—it took a further 20 years after the BNA-IAI agreement for bilateral cultural relationships to go forward again. However, in 2005, the Netherlands officially conveyed their “regret” about the colonial war the Netherlands inflicted on the archipelago between 1947 and 1949. In doing so the Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ben Bot, finally paved the way for the implementation of a Common Cultural Heritage Policy (Gemeenschappelijk Cultureel Erfgoed Beleid, GCE). The GCE Policy, which stood out in comparison to the approaches of other former colonial powers, was implemented in 2009 to facilitate and support projects dealing with cultural heritage, colonial and non-colonial, in countries with historical links with the Netherlands through trade and/or colonial rule.29 Perhaps unremarkably due to their corporeal nature, more than fifty percent of the projects funded via the GCE Policy deal with architecture and adjacent issues (planning, civil engineering, applied arts, etc.) that are related to the Netherlands’ VOC and colonial past.30

  • 31 Since 1950, most memorials commemorating events in the Dutch East Indies have been dismantled or th (...)

35Notwithstanding these significant political developments, generally Dutch politicians and citizens, including many scholars and professionals, are still rather unfamiliar with issues surrounding colonial heritage in general and colonial built heritage in Indonesia in particular. This situation may be due to the fact that school curriculums in the Netherlands pay scant attention to their nation’s colonial past, unlike those in Indonesia. Indeed, with the exception of Dutch-Indonesian citizens, Indonesian food, names of neighbourhoods, streets, houses, a handful of (adjusted) memorials, the Dutch are almost never physically confronted with the tactile overseas remains of their country’s colonial past.31 Generally, the Dutch who have gained an awareness of this past have learned about it from personal or professional ties. These relationships have spawned Dutch interest groups to support Indonesian interest groups. Examples are the Foundation Old Jakarta (Stichting Oud Jakarta), established in 1991, the Association of Dutch Friends of the Sumatra Heritage Trust, formed in 2002 and the Foundation for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage Semarang (Stichting Behoud Cultureel Erfgoed Semarang), founded in 2011. These interest groups are characterised by the fact that they are usually established and active for the duration of a single project, or at the most two to three. Once the project or projects that motivated their establishment is completed, they become dormant or even fade away completely.

  • 32 In addition to this unanticipated response, the Queen’s state visit was also heavily criticised. In (...)

36A prime example of an early and pragmatic one-purpose interest group is the Foundation Gift Indonesia Committee (Stichting Comité Cadeau Indonesië). Established in 1993, the Foundation’s sole objective was to raise funds (4 million Dutch guilders, now approximately 1.8 million euros) for the restoration of a 17th-century Dutch country house in Jakarta (fig. 11). It is unclear whether the Foundation, which consisted of a highly exclusive group of Dutch entrepreneurs, also hoped to foster improved diplomatic relationships between the Netherlands and Indonesia. What is clear though, is that the impetus behind this restoration project was Indonesia’s imminent 50-year independence celebration in 1995. As a gesture from the former colonizer to the former colonized, the Netherlands head of state, Queen Beatrix, would present the restored building to its current owner, the Indonesian National Archive, as a gift to the people of Indonesia. Unfortunately for the Committee members, rather than being seen as a goodwill gesture, Indonesia and many Indonesians considered the gift inappropriate. By presenting Indonesia with a restored mansion of a high ranking employee of the VOC, the Dutch trading company that laid the foundation for the later colonisation of the archipelago, the gift was interpreted by many as a celebration of Dutch enterprise and colonial endeavour in Asia.32 Although guided by good intentions, the Dutch gift to Indonesia was perhaps illustrative of a certain lack of awareness on the part of the Dutch to the complexities of post-colonial relationships.

Figure 11: Building of the National Archive of the Republic of Indonesia (Arsip National Republik Indonesia, ANRI), Jakarta: after restoration (1995).

Figure 11: Building of the National Archive of the Republic of Indonesia (Arsip National Republik Indonesia, ANRI), Jakarta: after restoration (1995).

Source: http://gunawan3dy.blogspot.nl/​2013/​06/​museum-museum-di-jakarta.html (left); http://makeuppengantinbandung.blogspot.nl/​p/​photosh.html (right).

37It is hard to assess whether other Dutch support groups have failed to initiate similar projects for fear of causing similar diplomatic repercussions, or simply because they lacked the drive to start and carry out such projects. Nevertheless, it is clear that although Dutch support for Indonesian restoration and revitalisation projects has not waned, the Dutch have not initiated any restoration projects in Indonesia since 1995.

  • 33 The INS mission is very similar to that of earlier bilateral organisations: Forum Nederland-Indones (...)
  • 34 Communication with INS (June-July 2013). KIT's colonial collection is accessible online via: http:/ (...)

38The most recently founded Dutch interest group is the Indonesia Nederland Society (INS). Initiated by Indonesians and Dutch—the latter often with very close personal or professional ties to Indonesia—in 2012, INS seeks to “further and deepen the relationship between Indonesia and the Netherlands in the fields of Bilateral Relations, Economic Development, Culture and Education & Sciences.”33 The extent to which INS will pursue its mission in its entirety remains to be seen. So far it has not put up a fight for colonial cultural heritage, including the heritage in the Netherlands. When in June 2013 the Dutch government decided to close the library of the Royal Tropical Institute (Koninklijk Instituut voor de Tropen, KIT) in Amsterdam, INS remained notably silent. Considering culture and education are focal points of the INS, and in light of the fact that the KIT library housed the oldest and most complete collection of books, journals and maps about all aspects of the Netherlands VOC and colonial past, the silence of the INS was somewhat surprising, to say the least.34

Appropriation in practise: restoration and revitalisation projects

39Fortunately for those involved in the restoration of the National Archive building, the project later gained international professional acclaim. In 2001, UNESCO granted the building and its restoration architects the Asia-Pacific Heritage Award of Excellence for giving the mansion “a new livelihood as a local cultural centre with a strong educational mission.”35 UNESCO praised the project for the exemplary integrity of its materials and conservation methods, for safeguarding a vital landmark of Indonesia's living heritage, and for stimulating the rebirth of the historical area surrounding it.36 UNESCO also noted that these positive outcomes were achieved despite political uncertainty and that the well-received success of the building—by 2001, it was a fashionable venue for exclusive weddings and other celebrations—sparked a new awareness of the opportunities inherent in historic conservation, and demonstrated the role private citizens and public entities could play with regard to heritage preservation.37

40The ideological, methodological and pragmatic considerations involved in the preservation of and renovation on existing buildings and neighbourhoods are generally complex. They become even more so when the buildings and neighbourhoods date to colonial times, as the restoration of the National Archive building illustrates. The “dual parenthood” of the building results in a scarcity of information about the original design: geographic or linguistic restrictions may make the necessary references inaccessible or inexistent. In sum, present-day Indonesian architects, contractors, construction workers and craftsmen are often at a loss about the treatment of buildings that may well have been designed and constructed with techniques and materials imported from the Netherlands. Their alternatives tend to be limited to using the building itself as the main reference.

  • 38 It is important to note that this situation does not apply to all colonial buildings. Over the year (...)

41In addition to this basic problem, another issue is typical of the effort to restore and revitalise colonial built objects in Indonesia. The approach and methodology tend to celebrate the aesthetics of the object, at the expense of considering its social and environmental context, and its possibilities for future exploitation. If the new function is given any thought at all, a post-restoration colonial building in Indonesia is usually either a museum or an art gallery annex bar-restaurant. When this option turns out to be economically unviable, the preferred alternatives generally are a restaurant proper, a boutique hotel, or combination of both. Purely commercial functions, such as offices and shops, are rarely considered serious candidates at all. The result of this somewhat stifling approach is that many meticulously restored buildings in Indonesia suffer the same fate. The wish to maintain the colonial fabric conflicts with the need to provide modern infrastructure such as air-conditioning, and full renewal ultimately remains economically unviable. Often, colonial buildings remain boarded up and underutilised. The irony is clear: the approach and principles behind the building’s restoration are also the ones that ultimately diminish the building’s possibilities for future survival.38

42The restoration of the “Building of Thousand Doors” (Gedung Lawang Sewu) in Semarang is an illustration of this rather rigid approach (fig. 12). This building, the former head office of the Dutch-Indian Railway Company (Nederlands-Indische Spoorweg Maatschappij), was monumental. After it had been vacant for many years, its owner, PTKA, or more precisely PTKA’s Heritage and Conservation Department, decided to renovate it with the goal of revitalising it. However, although the building’s appearance improved, its post-renovation use was never adequately considered or analysed. Consequently, renovation started in the absence of plans for the most basic comforts that would be necessary for the accommodation of any future building inhabitants, be they hotel guests, shoppers or office workers. The end result is that, although two years after the restoration, the building is still in pristine condition, the much awaited revitalisation so far has not occurred. With the exception of tourists who come to marvel at the merits of colonial architecture, and occasional cultural events in the courtyard, the building has been empty since its renovation.

Figure 12: “Building of Thousand Doors” (“Gedung Lawang Sewu”), Semarang after restoration (2010-11). The building is classified Semarang’s number-one tourist attraction by Trip Advisor (November 2013).

Figure 12: “Building of Thousand Doors” (“Gedung Lawang Sewu”), Semarang after restoration (2010-11). The building is classified Semarang’s number-one tourist attraction by Trip Advisor (November 2013).

Source: http://tripwow.tripadvisor.com/​slideshow-photo/​front-of-lawang-sewu-semarang-indonesia.html?sid=17316502&fid=upload_12995855404-tpfil02aw-19311 (left); http://threeas.wordpress.com/​2012/​02/​08/​trip-to-semarang-episode-lawang-sewu/​ (right).

  • 39 RCE’s involvement in restoration projects in Indonesia or, for that matter, any of the countries th (...)

43To repair the shortcomings of this far from uncommon restoration approach, in recent years more collaborations have been set up between Indonesian and Dutch private, semi-private, non-governmental and governmental organisations, with the help of the GCE Mutual Cultural Heritage program. Within the framework of the GCE program (Gemeenschappelijk Cultureel Ergoed), the Dutch Cultural Heritage Agency (Rijksdienst voor het Cultureel Erfgoed, RCE) and the National Archive (Nationaal Archief) have begun to act as consulting partners for Indonesian institutes and organisations dealing with restoration and revitalisation projects.39 Influenced by the more holistic Dutch approach, Indonesians are gradually opening up to alternative methods of restoration and revitalisation, including the need to consider possible future commercial use of buildings and the insertion of completely new, modern elements. As a result, the Indonesians’ prudent, perhaps even conservative, approach to heritage, which frequently transformed culturally significant objects into sacrosanct monuments to be admired only from a distance, is finally changing. A more striking illustration of the professional appropriation of colonial built heritage in Indonesia is barely conceivable.

44Whether and to what extent colonial architecture and town plans are appropriated by non-professionals and non-interest groups is difficult to ascertain. In Indonesia as well as in the Netherlands, heritage buildings still chiefly concern a small minority of the society. The appreciative and thought-provoking articles in newspapers and magazines, the enthusiasm of Indonesian and Dutch heritage organisations and the remarkable numbers of participants on (walking) tours are clearly indicative of interest but are not necessarily representative.

Colonial architecture in architecture history

  • 40 Indonesian universities don’t offer bachelor or master degrees in architectural history.

45The above is only a broad overview of the organisations and projects striving for the preservation of colonial buildings and town plans in Indonesia. It outlines the variety of approaches and actions applied and initiated. Although people familiar with colonial built heritage for various reasons increasingly appear to embrace this heritage, it is unfortunate to note that in the Netherlands, a large proportion of architecture historians are still ignorant of it. Whereas Indonesian students and professionals in the field of architecture are very familiar with the names of the leading Indische architects such as Aalbers, Citroen, Karsten, Lemei, Maclaine Pont and Wolff Schoemaker, these names do not generally ring any bells for their peers and colleagues in the Netherlands.40 The contrast is striking. It is discouraging to admit that despite the Dutch GCE Policy, Dutch architectural history and heritage studies continue to focus on Dutch and international architecture and heritage issues within the current boundaries of the Netherlands, while ignoring similar issues in former Dutch colonies.

  • 41 Cor Wagenaar, Town planning in the Netherlands since 1800: responses to enlightenment ideas and geo (...)
  • 42 Communication Cor Wagenaar (June 2012).
  • 43 In October 2010, the Royal Netherlands Historical Society (Koninklijk Nederlands Historisch Genoots (...)

46The reluctance of architectural historians to include colonial architecture and planning in Dutch architectural history is exemplified by a recent publication covering town planning in the Netherlands from 1800 to the present.41 Although throughout the period under investigation the Dutch East Indies were part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, they are only mentioned six times and never in reference to architecture and/or planning. When asked about it, the author, a Dutch historian, attributed this exclusion to the immature character of studies and publications about planning in former Dutch colonies.42 The argument is somewhat self-defeating since architectural history will continue to lag behind other fields in the Humanities, notably Anthropology and History, if it does not take the initiative in post-colonial studies.43

Conclusion

47Due to the multifaceted nature of the socio-political context in which colonial architecture and town plans were realised, a confrontation with colonial architecture and planning frequently evokes various associations, ranging from anguish and embarrassment to appreciation and admiration. The handling of the colonial built heritage in Indonesia demonstrates the multifarious aspects that are intrinsically related to the inevitably ambiguous appropriation of this heritage.

48Considering the abundance of colonial architecture in Indonesia, it is not surprising that Indonesians, as a result of their regular exposure to these buildings, are more aware and appreciative of this particular aspect of the colonial past than the Dutch. Mutual recognition by Indonesia and the Netherlands of colonial built heritage as shared heritage, and the Netherlands’ implementation of a corresponding cultural policy to support this recognition have enabled significant and interesting bilateral cultural projects. It is therefore fitting to state that despite the dissonant history underlying it, Indonesia and the Netherlands have begun appropriating their colonial built heritage.

49Heritage organisations in Indonesia, each in their own way, contribute to the wider creation of awareness and appreciation of colonial architecture and town plans. According to Yatun Sastramidjaja, the politically more compliant, early heritage initiatives were emphatically aimed at creating awareness, documenting and preserving buildings. The “learning and leisure” (info-tainment) approach that emerged after the 1990s is aimed more at stimulating curiosity, debate and rapport with the colonial past. While the first-generation heritage organisations focussed on the preservation of artefacts, second-generation heritage organisations primarily instrumentalize these artefacts as a resource for learning about the colonial past. These two different approaches complement and reinforce rather than weaken one another, as the dual membership of some people within these organisations demonstrates.

50Heritage organisations in the Netherlands that are engaged in colonial built heritage in Indonesia are of a somewhat different nature. With a few exceptions, most non-governmental organisations are initiated by citizens with personal or professional connections with Indonesia. The objective of most NGOs is to support the preservation of a particular building or neighbourhood. As a result, their activities are primarily aimed at fund raising and transfer of knowledge. The involvement of Dutch governmental organisations in issues related to colonial built heritage, for example the National Archive and the Dutch Cultural Heritage Agency, are directly related to the Dutch GCE Policy.

51Although Indonesian and Dutch heritage organisations have not always been successful in diverting large scale, predominantly economically driven real estate and urban developments, they have been instrumental in raising awareness about the quality and the significance of colonial architecture in Indonesia. The variety of heritage organisations in Indonesia and the Netherlands and the documentation and restoration of different buildings in Indonesia corroborate that apart from the usual preservation issues (restoration method, design, aesthetics, construction, material), restoration of colonial buildings requires careful diplomacy, particularly when it comes to legal ownership and funding. As these issues are often very sensitive, restoring a colonial building is not only a challenge from a technical point of view. It is also very much a challenge from a cultural and political point of view.

52By unravelling and opening up the multiple layers of colonial history and architecture in Indonesia, politics and heritage pressure groups have been instrumental in enhancing the awareness, the appreciation and the appropriation of Indonesia’s colonial architecture and town planning. Moreover, by doing so, they have helped lay the foundations for their assessment and the interpretation that is necessary if colonial history and its built heritage are to gain their rightful place in architectural and planning history.

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Notes

1 The Netherlands’ presence in the archipelago lasted nearly uninterrupted for 350 years. From 1602 until 1800 the Dutch East India Company (Verenigde Oostindische Compagnie, VOC) settled and ruled parts of the archipelago. When the VOC was dissolved in 1800, the Batavian Republic (Bataafse Republiek) stepped in and ruled the subjugated territories until 1811. After the British interregnum (1811-1816), the Kingdom of the Netherlands ruled the archipelago for well over a century. It was during this phase, the colonial period, that the Netherlands gradually conquered the islands that today make up Indonesia. After the Japanese occupation (1942-1945) and despite the proclamation of the Indonesian Republic (1945), the Netherlands acknowledged Indonesian sovereignty only in December 1949. Although, strictly speaking, “colonial” thus only applies to the period after 1816, in this article all Dutch heritage in Indonesia is referred to as “colonial”.

2 This is not to say that the Netherlands is devoid of traces of the VOC and colonial past. See for example Andréa A. Kroon and Audrey Wagtberg Hansen, Sporen van smaragd. Indisch erfgoed in Den Haag, 1853-1945, The Hague: De Nieuwe Haagsche, 2013 (VOM-reeks, 2); Lizzy van Leeuwen, Ons Indisch erfgoed. Zestig jaar strijd om cultuur en identiteit, Amsterdam: Uitgeverij Bert Bakker, 2008 (Postkoloniale Geschiedenis in Nederland, 1); Hanneke Olyslager, “Indische invloeden op het werk van Michel de Klerk”, Jong Holland, no. 4, 1988, p. 21-31.

3 In this article, the term appropriation is used to indicate psychological and rational acceptance and ownership; the incorporation into one’s psyche and reason. It is not used to indicate political, legal and financial tenure and control.

4 See, for example: Huib Akihary, Architectuur en stedebouw in Indonesië 1870-1970, Zutphen: Walburg Pers, 1990; Soedarmadji Damais and Johannes Satyadi, Gedung Bank Indonesia. Jejak Arsitektur Dalam Menggapai Kemakmuran Negeri, [Jakarta]: Departemen Pendidikan dan Studi Kebanksentralan/Departemen Logistik dan Pengamanan Bank Indonesia, 2012; Moh. Danisworo, “The significance of preservation in town planning”, in Change and Heritage in Indonesian Cities, Proceedings of the seminar (Jakarta, 1988), Jakarta, IAI; BNA, 1988, p. 23-26; Jan van Dullemen, Tropical Modernity. Life and Work of C.P. Wolff Schoemaker, Amsterdam: SUN, 2010; Forts in Indonesia, Jakarta: Ministry of Education and Culture Republic of Indonesia, 2013; Scott Merrilees, Greetings from Jakarta. Postcards of a Capital 1900-1950, Jakarta: Equinox Publishing, 2012; Pauline D. Milone, Queen City of the East. The Metamorphosis of a Colonial Capital, Berkeley, Cal.: University of California, 1966; Cor Passchier, “Colonial Architecture in Indonesia. References and Developments”, in Peter J.M. Nas (ed.), The past in the present. Architecture in Indonesia, Rotterdam: NAi, 2006, p. 97-112; Pauline K.M. van Roosmalen, “For Kota and Kampong: The Emergence of Town Planning as a Discipline”, in Wim Ravesteijn and Jan Kop (eds), For Profit and Prosperity. The Contribution Made by Dutch Engineers to Public Works in Indonesia 1800-2000, Zaltbommel: Aprilis; Leiden: KITLV Press, 2008, p. 272-307, p. 540-543. URL: http://repository.tudelft.nl/view/ir/uuid%3Affa2bcf6-0f2a-4409-a014-b733365e99a0/. Accessed December 20, 2013; Dorothee C. Segaar-Höweler and Tjeerd Boersma, A.F. Aalbers 1897-1961. Ondogmatisch modernist in een koloniale samenleving, Rotterdam: Stichting Bonas, 2000 (Bibliografieën en oeuvrelijsten van Nederlandse architecten en stedebouwkundigen); Yulianto Sumalyo, Arsitektur kolonial Belanda di Indonesia, Yogyakarta: Gadjah Mada University Press, 1993; Martien de Vletter, “Tradition and Modernity in the Netherlands East Indies” in Peter J.M. Nas (ed.), op. cit., p. 113-122.

5 Abidin Kusno is an Indonesian architect and associate professor at the Institute of Asian Research of the University of British Columbia. Kusno examines the roles of cities in shaping the political cultures of decolonization, nation building, and development by exploring the historical and contemporary conditions of urban politics and city life in Indonesia. Yatun Sastramidjaja is a Dutch anthropologist. Sastramidjaja has conducted insightful studies about the way Indonesians interact with their colonial past and its built heritage. Abidin Kusno, Behind the Postcolonial: Architecture, Urban Space and Political Cultures in Indonesia, London; New York, Routledge, 2000 (Architext series); Abidin Kusno, The appearances of Memory: Mnemonic Practices of Architecture and Urban Form in Indonesia, Durham; London: Duke University Press, 2010 (Asie-Pacific); Yatun Sastramidjaja, “Playing with the past”, Inside Indonesia no. 101, July-September 2010, s.p. URL: http://www.insideindonesia.org/weekly-articles/playing-with-the-past. Accessed March 18, 2014. Yatun Sastramidjaja, “Virtual Identities and the Recapturing of Place: Heritage Play in Old Town Jakarta,” in Marlite Halbertsma, Alex van Stipriaan and Patricia van Ulzen (eds.), The Heritage Theatre: Dynamics of Cultural Heritage, Newcastleupon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2011, p. 189-213. URL: https://www.academia.edu/3825614/The_Heritage_Theater._Globalisation_and_Cultural_Heritage. Accessed December 20, 2013.

6 Pauline K.M. van Roosmalen, “Yours or Mine? Architectural Heritage in Indonesia”, Safeguarding and Revitalizing Local Heritage. Proceedings of mAAN 4th International Conference (Shanghai, 28-30 October 2004), Shanghai: mAAN, 2005. URL: http://www.knstwrk.nl/documents/mAAN_Shanghai_2005_Yours_or_Mine.pdf. Accessed December 20, 2013. Also see: Johan Lagae, “From ‘Patrimoine partagé’ to ‘whose heritage’? Critical reflections on colonial built heritage in the city of Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of the Congo”, Afrika Focus, no. 1, 2008, p. 11-30. URL: https://biblio.ugent.be/input/download?func=downloadFile&recordOId=763626&fileOId=763627. Accessed December 20, 2013.

7 For the purposes of simplicity, from now on the article will no longer differentiate between VOC and colonial architecture, even though it is technically incorrect not to make the distinction, because the VOC period cannot be termed a colonial period (see note 1).

8 Sukarno was not the first to remove traces of Dutch presence in Indonesia. The Japanese who ruled Indonesia from 1942 until 1945 also removed Dutch monuments and banned the Dutch language.

9 New Kebajoran was designed in 1948 by Mohamed Soesilo, employee at the Batavia-based Dutch East Indian Planning Bureau. Pauline K.M. van Roosmalen, Ontwerpen aan de stad. Stedenbouw in Nederlands-Indië en Indonesië (1905-1950), Delft: Technische Universiteit, 2008, p. 183-185, p. 195-197. URL: http://repository.tudelft.nl/view/ir/uuid%3A40d1eef6-56fb-49a2-b5ad-4afbbef8a121/. Accessed December 20, 2013; Pauline K.M. van Roosmalen, “Expanding grounds: The roots of spatial planning in Indonesia,” in Freek Colombijn and Martine Barwegen (eds.), Kota lama, kota baru. Sejarah kota-kota di Indonesia sebelum dan setelah kemerdekaan/The History of the Indonesian City before and after Independence, Yogyakarta: Ombak, 2005, p. 83-109. URL: http://www.knstwrk.nl/documents/Colombijn_Barwegen_2005_Expanding_grounds.pdf. Accessed December 20, 2013.

10 The column’s wide base accommodates a museum illustrating Indonesia’s history in dioramas.

11 Pauline K.M. van Roosmalen, Ontwerpen aan de stad. Stedenbouw in Nederlands-Indië en Indonesië, op. cit. (note 9), p. 115-116.

12 Dorothee C. Segaar-Höweler, J.M. Groenewegen 1888-1980. Een Hagenaar als Indonesisch architect, Rotterdam: Stichting Bonas, 1998 (Bibliografieën en oeuvrelijsten van Nederlandse architecten en stedebouwkundigen), p. 16, 82, 84.

13 The kampong improvement projects initiated under Suharto echoed similar projects undertaken by the Dutch East Indian government between 1910 and 1942. Whether Suharto was aware of these similarities is unknown. Pauline K.M. van Roosmalen, Ontwerpen aan de stad. Stedenbouw in Nederlands-Indië en Indonesië, op. cit. (note 9), p. 97-117; Pauline K.M. van Roosmalen, “For Kota and Kampong: The Emergence of Town Planning as a Discipline”, op. cit. (note 4).

14 Yatun Sastramidjaja, “Playing with the past”, op. cit (note 5).

15 Suriname gained independence in 1975. The Antilles (Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao, Saba, Sint-Eustatius, Sint-Maarten) were dissolved in 2010: Bonaire, Saba and Sint-Eustatius were made extraordinary Dutch municipalities, Aruba, Curacao and Sint-Maarten became autonomous countries.

16 As a result, the experiences of those interned in Japanese camps between 1942 and 1945, under threat of Indonesian violence during the brief period referred to a ‘Bersiap’ (‘Be ready [to fight]’) in 1945-46, or in the colonial war between 1947 and 1949 were ignored until the early 21st-century. In June 2012 the Netherlands Institute for War Documentation and the Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies announced the start of a large-scale study about the colonial war.

17 In the 1970s Ali Sadikin initiated the restoration of Taman Fatahillah, Jakarta’s downtown main square. The restoration entailed a fundamental redesign of the square by Italian restoration experts.

18 Allegedly the building boom along Thamrin-Sudirman Street in the early 1980s can be linked to the 20-year building permits handed out by Sukarno to his business associates in the early 1960s. Permits implemented minutes before they were about to expire therefore fundamentally changed the face of Thamrin-Sudirman Street within a very short period of time. Although this claim has not yet been verified, it might be a plausible explanation for the rapid changes along Thamrin-Sudirman Street. Correspondence with Frances B. Affandy (June 2012).

19 Due to the scarcity and inconsistency of written and oral information, precise dates—and sometimes even precise names—are lacking. Sometime in the 1990s, a group of expatriate women interested in culture, formerly known as the Ganesha Group (a docent guild of the National Museum), renamed itself Indonesia Heritage Society. Although in all likelihood the National Heritage Society had by then ceased to exist, its founders were not happy with the near hijacking of their organisation’s name. The Indonesia Heritage Society exists to this day.

20 The neglect referred to is caused by general neglect, not neglect caused by anti-colonial sentiments. The PPBB list is in constant flux: buildings are added and removed. Correspondence with Frances B. Affandy (June 2012).

21 The 1930 Dutch East Indian Act on Monuments (Monumentenordonnantie) was translated into Indonesian in 1992. This new act, Law 5 (UU 5/1992 Benda Cagar Budaya), was revised and decreed in 2010 (UU 11/2010 Benda Cagar Budaya).

22 Due to the lack of systematic documentation, the historiography of Indonesian heritage predominantly relies on personal memory. The following overview was checked with the long-standing leading ladies in Indonesian heritage Frances B. Affandy, Hasti Tarekat and Febryanti Suryaningsih. I should like to thank them here for their feedback.

23 Yatun Sastramidjaja, “Playing with the past”, op. cit. (note 5); Yatun Sastramidjaja, “Virtual Identities and the Recapturing of Place: Heritage Play in Old Town Jakarta”, op. cit. (note 5).

24 Correspondence Frances B. Affandy (June 2012).

25 Erika Bogaers and Peter de Ruijter, Ir. Thomas Karsten en de stedebouw in Nederlands Indië 1915-1940, Amsterdam: Universiteit van Amsterdam, Planologisch en Demografisch Instituut, 1983 (Werkstukken, 66); Helen Jessup, Netherlands Architecture in Indonesia 1900-1942, Ph.D. dissertation, Courtauld Institute, University of London, London, 1988; C. L. Temminck Groll, “Monumentenzorg in Oost en West. Het omgaan met op enigerlei wijze aan Nederland gerelateerde monumenten Overzee,” Bulletin KNOB, no. 6, 1989, p. 4-8.

26 Cor Passchier, at the time vice-president of BNA and one of the initiators of the agreement, pointed out that in the 1980s and 1990s the Netherlands and Indonesia were adamant about avoiding the political (i.e., colonial) connotations when discussing heritage of the colonial past. Correspondence Cor Passchier (June 2012).

For a concise description of the discussion about the suitability of “mutual”, “common” and “shared” as alternatives for “colonial”, see Jinna Smit, “To claim or not to claim. Sharing Archives: Policy and Practice”, in Charles Jeurgens, Ton Kappelhof and Michael Karabinos (eds.), Colonial legacy in South East Asia. The Dutch archives, The Hague: Stichting Archiefpublicaties, 2012, p. 173-189.

27 After the BNA-IAI seminar, the exhibition that accompanied the seminar was presented in Helmond (1990) and Leiden (1993) in the Netherlands. “Het Indische Bouwen. Architectuur en stedenbouw in Indonesië” was the first exhibition about Dutch East Indian (Indische) architecture in the Netherlands and an eye-opener to many in the Netherlands.

28 Radinal Moochtar, “Sambutan”, in Change and Heritage in Indonesian Cities, Proceedings of the seminar (Jakarta, 1988), Jakarta: AIA; BNA, 1988, p. ii.

29 From 2009-13 the GCE Policy prioritised Brazil, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Russia, South Africa, Sri Lanka and Suriname. From 2013-16 Australia, Brazil, India, Indonesia, Japan, Russia, South Africa, Suriname, Sri Lanka and the United States are designated priority countries. Shared Cultural Heritage Policy Framework 2013-2016, The Hague; Revision Shared Cultural Heritage Policy Framework 2013-2016, The Hague, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (18-12-2012); Anouk Fienieg, Robert Parthesius, Brittany Groot, Rivke Jaffe, Sjoerd van der Linde and Pauline K.M. van Roosmalen, “Heritage trails. International cultural heritage policies in a European perspective”, in Gert Oostindie (ed.), Dutch Colonialism, Migration and Cultural Heritage, Leiden: KITLV Press, 2008, p. 23-61.

30 Ed Smid and Paul van Eersel, Rapport over Mid-term review GCE-beleid, The Hague: Auditdiensten van OCW en BZ, 2012.

31 Since 1950, most memorials commemorating events in the Dutch East Indies have been dismantled or thematically adjusted. The transformation of the former Van Heutsz memorial in Amsterdam is only one example. Designed and executed by G. Friedhoff (architect) and Frits van Hall (sculptor) to pay homage to general J.B. van Heutsz, the man who forcefully subjected Aceh to Dutch colonial rule towards the end of the 19th-century, the memorial was controversial from the beginning. Between 2003 and 2007, the monument was renamed and its appearance transformed. It is now a memorial of the relationship between the Dutch East Indies and the Netherlands during the colonial period.

32 In addition to this unanticipated response, the Queen’s state visit was also heavily criticised. In particular, the fact that Queen Beatrix arrived in Jakarta on August 21, four days after the 50th celebration of Indonesia’s independence, did not sit well with Indonesia and the Indonesians.

33 The INS mission is very similar to that of earlier bilateral organisations: Forum Nederland-Indonesia and Forum Indonesia-Nederland. http://www.indonesia-nederland.org.

34 Communication with INS (June-July 2013). KIT's colonial collection is accessible online via: http://www.bibliotheek.leidenuniv.nl/bijzondere-collecties/koloniale-collectie/koloniale-collectie.html.

35 http://www.unescobkk.org/culture/world-heritage-and-immovable-heritage/asia-pacific-heritage-awards-for-culture-heritage-conservation/previous-heritage-awards-2000-2009/2001/award-winners/. Accessed December 22, 2013.

36 Ibid.

37 How much longer the archive building will continue to be successful remains to be seen, however. In 2010, the owner of the property dissolved the foundation in charge of managing the building, even though the facility was operating smoothly and the maintenance budget had been secured.

38 It is important to note that this situation does not apply to all colonial buildings. Over the years many culturally significant buildings and neighbourhoods in Indonesia, including designated monuments, have been converted and do meet the requirements of modern-day exploitation. What is problematic about many of these buildings, however, is that many interventions are implemented without permission, and thus frequently fail to meet any restoration requirement. Thus, although the projects are successful in terms of exploitation, significant characteristics of the building and/or its environment have been lost or damaged in the process. The Outlet Factories in Bandung are examples of this case.

39 RCE’s involvement in restoration projects in Indonesia or, for that matter, any of the countries that fall under the GCE programme is restricted to consultancy and advice. It cannot get involved in or financially support restorations themselves.

40 Indonesian universities don’t offer bachelor or master degrees in architectural history.

41 Cor Wagenaar, Town planning in the Netherlands since 1800: responses to enlightenment ideas and geopolitical realities, Rotterdam: 010 Publishers, 2011.

42 Communication Cor Wagenaar (June 2012).

43 In October 2010, the Royal Netherlands Historical Society (Koninklijk Nederlands Historisch Genootschap) organised the conference “A New Dutch Imperial History: Connecting Dutch and Overseas Pasts”. Whereas Dutch historians organised a conference about rewriting Dutch imperial history in 2010, Dutch architectural historians do not even seem vaguely aware of architecture and planning of the colonies.

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Table des illustrations

Titre Figure 1: Impressions of the Heritage Walking Tour and Festival, Jakarta (2008).
Crédits Source: Yatun Sastramidjaja, Amsterdam.
URL http://abe.revues.org/docannexe/image/372/img-1.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 64k
Titre Figure 2: Thamrin Street, Jakarta (c.1970): the second building from the left is department store Sarinah.
Crédits Source: Jakarta membangun/Jakarta in Progress, Jakarta, Pemerintah Daerah Chusus Ibukota Jakarta, 1972, p. 154.
URL http://abe.revues.org/docannexe/image/372/img-2.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 16k
Titre Figure 3: Model Hotel Banteng, Jakarta (1961): Friedrich Silaban (left) and Sukarno (second from the left).
Crédits Source: Archive F. Silaban, Jakarta.
URL http://abe.revues.org/docannexe/image/372/img-3.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 44k
Titre Figure 4: Plan of “Beautiful Indonesia” Miniature Park (Taman Mini “Indonesia Indah”, TMII), Jakarta (1972): the islands in the lake reflect the layout of Indonesia's main islands.
Crédits Source: http://nl.wikipedia.org/​wiki/​Taman_Mini_Indonesia_Indah.
URL http://abe.revues.org/docannexe/image/372/img-4.png
Fichier image/png, 41k
Titre Figure 5: Social Club De Harmonie, Batavia (1809).
Crédits Source: Nederlands Instituut voor Militaire Historie/Collection ML-KNIL, The Hague.
URL http://abe.revues.org/docannexe/image/372/img-5.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 16k
Titre Figure 6: Traffic junction Harmoni, Jakarta (2007).
Crédits Source: Ger Cense, Zandvoort.
URL http://abe.revues.org/docannexe/image/372/img-6.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 28k
Titre Figure 7: Lower Court (Landraadgebouw), Bandung: during and after restoration (2005-2007).
Crédits Source: Bandung Society for Heritage, Bandung.
URL http://abe.revues.org/docannexe/image/372/img-7.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 16k
Titre Figure 8: Palace of Governor General H.W. Daendels, Batavia (1808-1813).
Crédits Source: J.F.L. de Balbian Verster, M.C. Kooy-van Zeggelen, Batavia. Oud en Nieuw, Amsterdam, J.M. Meulenhoff, 1921.
URL http://abe.revues.org/docannexe/image/372/img-8.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 20k
Titre Figure 9: Head office Javasche Bank, Batavia (late 19th-century–1936).
Crédits Source: Economisch Weekblad voor Nederlandsch-Indië (1941).
URL http://abe.revues.org/docannexe/image/372/img-9.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 92k
Titre Figure 10: Factory outlets, Bandung (2000s).
Crédits Source: Bandung Society for Heritage, Amsterdam.
URL http://abe.revues.org/docannexe/image/372/img-10.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 104k
Titre Figure 11: Building of the National Archive of the Republic of Indonesia (Arsip National Republik Indonesia, ANRI), Jakarta: after restoration (1995).
Crédits Source: http://gunawan3dy.blogspot.nl/​2013/​06/​museum-museum-di-jakarta.html (left); http://makeuppengantinbandung.blogspot.nl/​p/​photosh.html (right).
URL http://abe.revues.org/docannexe/image/372/img-11.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 84k
Titre Figure 12: “Building of Thousand Doors” (“Gedung Lawang Sewu”), Semarang after restoration (2010-11). The building is classified Semarang’s number-one tourist attraction by Trip Advisor (November 2013).
Crédits Source: http://tripwow.tripadvisor.com/​slideshow-photo/​front-of-lawang-sewu-semarang-indonesia.html?sid=17316502&fid=upload_12995855404-tpfil02aw-19311 (left); http://threeas.wordpress.com/​2012/​02/​08/​trip-to-semarang-episode-lawang-sewu/​ (right).
URL http://abe.revues.org/docannexe/image/372/img-12.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 24k
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Pour citer cet article

Référence électronique

Pauline K.M. van Roosmalen, « Confronting built heritage: Shifting perspectives on colonial architecture in Indonesia », ABE Journal [En ligne], 3 | 2013, mis en ligne le 01 janvier 2014, consulté le 19 octobre 2017. URL : http://abe.revues.org/372

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Auteur

Pauline K.M. van Roosmalen

Research fellow, University of Technology, Delft, The Netherlands

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La revue ABE Journal est mise à disposition selon les termes de la Licence Creative Commons Attribution - Pas d'Utilisation Commerciale - Pas de Modification 4.0 International.

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