We are Indische Nederlanders, not Indonesians

Daan van Lent of the Dutch newspaper NRC.nl wrote on April 13, 2017 the following article:

“It must be right first time ‘
Wendelien of Oldenborgh represents the Netherlands next month at the Venice Biennale with the project “Cinema Olanda”. She made a new film.
“One of the subjects of that movie was about and I quote:”
—————— “A third story, the Indonesian migrants who came to the Netherlands after World War II. ”300,000 Eurasians and Moluccans. Now, in 2017, they seems to have been seamless integrated and have become almost pet immigrants. But they were not then. ”

Many “Indische Nederlanders” in the Netherlands and other parts of the world, like California are not please because of the constant stupidity and arrogant attitude shown by many Dutch people, especially those from the press and politicians.

Here below is the story written by Anneke van de Casteele on the same sickening topic.
The Dutch version from her hand
: http://annekevdcasteele.blogspot.nl/2017/03/wij-zijn-indische-nederlanders-geen.html

‘We are Indische Nederlanders, not Indonesians!’

Last Tuesday night, February 28, 2017, Dutch D66 democrat party leader Alexander Pechtold was one of the guests on TV talkshow ‘Pauw and Jinek’. We saw him verbally wipe out a competitor in the upcoming Dutch elections, because of his contradictory statements, rightly so. However, we also heard him make a mistake, which he later described on Twitter as ‘careless’. He referred to the group of approximately 1.7 million Indische Nederlanders (Dutch Indos) living in the Netherlands today, as ‘Indonesians’. The Dutch Indo community was in an uproar. Also rightly so.
Did I cringe when I heard it? You know me, so yes. Was I surprised? Well, no. Pechtold is not the first and certainly not the only one who calls us ‘Indonesians’ (or worse: Dutch Indians).
Is it Dutch ignorance? Well, that could be very well possible. Were it not that even Dutch Indos often make the same mistake, especially the younger generation often describes itself as ‘Indonesian’ or even uses both terms, carelessly. This is where education comes in.
Is it just an innocent slip of the tongue? A slip of the tongue could be easily forgiven. However, ‘innocent’ it certainly is not. With the use of only one single word, the largest and oldest group ‘Dutch with a migration background’, as it is called nowadays, is put into a box where it does not belong. For many Dutch Indos this ‘slip of the tongue’ has grave connotations.
After almost 75 years of our presence in the Netherlands, The Hague still does not see us. It is the well-known blind spot. They know full well that we are there, but they do not want to see it, for then they would obviously have to address the never fully realized restitution of justice for the Dutch Indo community. From us, they expect ‘silence’ and ‘assimilation’: the ancient misconception that The Hague should really have to get rid of after all this time.
Hey, what’s that? These Dutch Indos no longer remain silent. What the hell. They make themselves heard. “We are not Indonesians!” It was as if I heard my father speak out some 40 years ago, when an office worker of Civil Affairs, while renewing my Dad’s passport, stated that my Dad was born in Indonesia.
“I was born in the former Dutch East Indies, Madam, not in Indonesia.”
The blonde innocence itself behind the desk replied, “But that’s completely the same thing?” She was being a bit dumb, sorry Alex (Pechtold, not Willy).
What our democratic people’s representative does not realize – and anyone who makes the same mistake – is that that the one word ‘Indonesians’ is the whole reason that we Dutch Indos are here in this country and not in Indonesia.
I am not going to explain for the 1000th time what a ‘Indische Nederlander’ is. What I will do, is indicate why it is not an innocent slip of the tongue to refer to us as Indonesians, but an error, which holds a denial – and in public – of our existence, of our identity and our history, of our Dutch citizenship.
In a nutshell: to use the label ‘Indonesians’ is not only technically wrong, it is also laden. It rips open old wounds. Using this label ‘stands for’ the bersiap, the rapes and massacres, the revolution, the ‘sale guerre’ which the Netherlands led until 1949. It stands for the insults, threats, poverty, and unemployment due to the Indonesian government nationalizing Dutch companies.
It stands for fleeing to the country of the nationality stated in everyone’s passport, it meant forever leaving your native land, home and hearth. It stands for anxiety and trauma. It stands for the scandalous reception in the Netherlands, boarding houses, skyrocketing debts and the never heard war trauma, starting all over again from scratch.
It stands for the never materialized restitution of justice, such as the never paid KNIL wages and salaries (the back pay issue). It stands for the suffering of our parents and grandparents. It stands for forced assimilation, racism and discrimination.
So, For many Indische Nederlanders so very much is concealed in the ‘careless’ choice of words of Dutch politician Mr. Pechtold.
But perhaps even more important in Pechtold’s decision to call us Indonesians is the absence of the ‘Indisch’ (Dutch Indo) story in Dutch education. When I say ‘Indisch’, I mean Indisch. Our story needs to be told by us, not through the rose colored glasses with the white lenses, worn by The Hague. We are perfectly capable to tell our own story and we have been doing so for years and years. If you would have been paying attention, you would have seen it, Mr. Pechtold.

If Dutch education had not made us invisible, the Dutch people would have known their own country’s history, including Dutch colonial history. Then the Dutch – including Mr Pechtold – would have known who we are, why we are here and that we are not Indonesians.

Please Note: Dutch citizens with roots in the former Dutch East Indies have a large variety of ethnicities, far more than only the Indo-Europeans or Indos. The words ‘Indische Nederlanders’ or ‘Dutch Indos’ popped up extensively in the discussion and I used these for simplification.

Geplaatst door Anneke van de Casteele op 17:37 op haar blog

This article is placed with the permission from Anneke van de Casteele

 

Comments

  1. Hi Ron,
    We had this conversation before.
    Here in Australia ‘de Indo’ is virtually unknown and this goes for the rest of the world, perhaps with the exception of the ‘Amerindos’ in California.
    For instance – Riem de Wolff sings on the ‘Pasar Malam’ in NL as an ‘Indo’, but when he goes home to Singapore he becomes an ‘Eurasian’.
    But I do agree that in NL the politicians, academics and high ranked govt. officials should be paying more attention to their own colonial history and respect the pride of the ‘Indo’ and don’t mistake them for ‘Indonesians’.

    • Hi Bill,
      Nice hearing from you after a long silence. Every person react a different way. I get very angry when they do it to me. Maybe because I lost so many family members not only because of the Japanese, but also the Indonesians. My wife is the only one left over from the family. At the age of 2 she became an orphan.
      She is now traumatize and does not want to hear anything about Indonesia. My father was castrated by the Jap with the help of the Indonesier.
      Now the Indonesians in California are calling them too as Amerindo. It piss me off. The more I dive into the past, the more I discovers. My reaction is my website.
      Have a nice day,
      Ron

  2. Accept it unless you want to explain the rest of the world including Indonesians and Americans what the differences is, simple, for us Indische Nederlanders whether you were born in Batavia or Buitenzorg or like me in Dordrecht NL or here in SoCal, we are Indos, Indonesians call us Indische Nederlanders “Orang Indo Belanda” Dutch Indonesians and theirselves INDO, there is the Amerindo magazine all about Americans and Indonesians but there is also the well known yellow booklet called the Indo…Thanks to TIP and SoCal Indo we are able to educate, as for me, I just say “I’m a SoCal indo born in Dordrecht NL and raised in Dessel Belgium and a Manadonese mom and a mutt of a das born in Cirebon in the former Dutch East Indies”, next month when I become a US Citizen by naturalization I’ll call my self a FLAMERINDO, raised in Flanders, American by naturalization and INDO because of my beautiful Indische Nederlandse Heritage 👍🏻

    • I appreciate your comments. The word “Amerindo” has been used by the Indo community in CA for a long time and before the Indonesians came out with their magazine. You mentioned the yellow booklet “De Indo”. I am one of the people Indo who publish in that booklet too. I call myself a CalIndo.
      If you read TIP, you might have notice that they congratulate the Indonesian Embassy with their Independence on august 17 1945. This was a mistake, because this happened on December 17, 1949.
      Ron

      • TIP as in The Indo Project and 29 December 1949 when “De overdracht” took place 😉

        • Ja, die heb ik ook gelezen, maar in de voorgaande tip stond wat anders. Probeer maar terug te halen.
          Ik heb daar commentaar op geleverd.
          Ron

        • Dear Michael,
          Last year between the month of August and October Priscilla McMullen and I had a email discussion because of the Indonesian independent date.
          I made it a habit to create and save important emails and create a sub in Outlook. Somewhere something went wrong. I do not remember if I even had received the continuation of this email. “But here is what Priscilla in the name of TIP said: There are several reasons why we included this congratulatory note to the Republic of Indonesia on the date of their proclamation of independence. First and foremost, as Indos we recognize the factual date of sovereignty of the Republic of Indonesia as December 27, 1949. However, because our mission is to educate the world of our history, we also need to acknowledge that on August 17, 1945, the Indonesians declared themselves independent.
          I personally have written a short article on this issue which will be published on our website in the coming weeks.
          TIP is a unifying entity, and as such we try to not to dwell on the negative, as painful as it may be, but rather on the positive and this we do by building bridges and coalitions.

    • Conny Fornerod-Koenig :

      Where do I get the Indonesian yellow book?

      • Dear Conny Fornerod-Koenig,
        Send me your mailing address and I will take care that mr. Creutzburg will send you one Yellow booklet free. You read the articles of which most of them are written in the Dutch language. A few are in English. If you like it and live in the USA your yearly subscription for the monthly booklet cost is $23.
        For Canadian the cost is $35; for somebody in Australia also $35 and for the Netherlands it is 33 Euro.
        Best regards,
        Ron

  3. Hi Ron,
    Dear Ronny,
    When mentioning TIP’s ” congratulating the Indonesian Embassy with their Independence on August 17 1945″, please also include my formal explanation that I provided in an email to you setting the record straight. While I’m most appreciative of your website and what it represents as well as respecting your editorial freedom, I would also appreciate you providing me the same courtesy by including my explanation next time you use this reference and not have it stand alone. As always, thanks for your efforts.

    • Dear Priscilla,
      I just send you two emails between us just after August 2016. I never received an answer from you. At least I could not find one. I also do not remember receiving one.
      Ronny

  4. I love Indonesians but I get very angry if anybody calls me Indonesian. As I am a quarter Chinese some Indonesians call me Chinese. Since I grew up in Australia I am quite a proud Australian too but at the bottom of my heart I am still a proud Indo and not Indonesian Dutch or vice versa. Some educated Indonesians call us Dutch people with Indonesian background. Makes some sense!

  5. Hi Ronny, so I will call myself a proud AustaliIndo😊

  6. If we keep calling ourselves Indo, DON’T get upset if people think we are Indonesians. It is confusing to other people.
    At least say I’m DUTCH INDONESIAN. It really doesn’t matter if you were born in the Dutch East Indies, Holland, Australia or the USA. If the questioner is really nice, I say I’m Dutch English Indonesian American. Often they say: “nice combination”. If the person is still interested I discuss world history.
    The Indonesian women in the Seattle area call themselves Indo.

    • Hi Frieda,
      Thank you for your comments. We live in a free world and if you think that way, fine for me. I am not a DUTCH INDONESIAN, because I was born in the Dutch Indies (1936). After WW2 (period 1945-1950) a transition period from Dutch-Indies to Indonesia was a horrible period. Many of my family members where slaughtered. I can and will not forget that. I am an Indische Nederlander or Indo.

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