Yulia Irma Pattopang - Bhineka Tunggal Ika. The Indonesian communities in the Netherlands 1950 – 2000

No civilization consists only of people who are born inside the same area. There is always an infiltration of people from the outside[1]. The Netherlands is no exception. The Netherlands has been a destination for migrants over centuries, either from neighbouring countries but also more recently from other parts of the world. On the other hand, the Dutch have also migrated. One of the former colonies of the Netherlands is Indonesia. It is well known that on December 27, 1949, the Dutch transferred the sovereignty of its biggest colony to the republic of Indonesia. 
There is an absence of debate in relation to postcolonial migrants in the Netherlands. Furthermore, the absence of debate about one of the groups of postcolonial migrants is certain. When we do discuss postcolonial issues in the Netherlands especially concentrating on the postcolonial migrants from the ex-colonies, we tend to speak of four large groups; the Indische Nederlanders, the Moluccans, the Surinamers and the Antilleans. Discussion about the native people from the biggest and the most important colony of the Netherlands, Indonesia, has never been brought up before. It is as if after the signing of the Round Table Conference, the relation between two countries had completely ended. Is this possible?
This paper is based on the wave of Indonesians migrating to the Netherlands since the 1950’s. The background and motives of migration among these Indonesian migrants in the Netherlands is an important subject in this study, as political conditions, regime changes, and financial problems played a great role when one decided to migrate to the Netherlands. Furthermore, it is well known that Indonesian migrants in the Netherlands can be spotted in many cities. The next two questions posed for this study are; how do they form their communities and how do they maintain their Indonesian identity?

[1] Wim Willems, red. De kunst van het overleven: levensverhalen uit de twintigste eeuw. Den Haag: Sdu Uitgevers, 2004, p.vi.

Yulia has graduated for her MA degree in 2009.

Last Modified: 05-08-2014