The Jakarta Post
The Indonesian government has received an offer by Nusantara Museum in Delft, the Netherlands, for the return of some 14,000 artifacts held by the museum, an official said on Monday.
'I have just received the letter this week,' the Education and Culture Ministry's director general of culture, Kacung Marijan, said after opening a workshop on museums on Sunday evening in Yogyakarta.
Based on the information, he said the collection would be returned to Indonesia because the museum was facing financial difficulties.
The 100-year-old museum was the only one in the Netherlands dedicated to collecting artistic and cultural artifacts from Indonesia, a country that the Netherlands colonized for 350 years. Noted fable puppeteer Ki Ledjar Soebroto of Yogyakarta was frequently invited to perform at the museum.
Kacung said the government would send an expert team to the Netherlands next month to examine the historic artifacts and to see how they would be returned to Indonesia.
'I heard some of the artifacts to be returned are made of gold and silver,' said Kacung, adding that he did not yet known in detail the forms and ages of the historic objects to be returned.
Meanwhile, with regard to the workshop on 'Museum Interpretation and Audience Management of Cultural Heritage' organized by UNESCO Jakarta in Yogyakarta on Sunday, Kacung said he hoped that Indonesia's experience in managing cultural legacies could be discussed with the museum management in Afghanistan.
The same workshop, he said, was also held in Afghanistan with financial support from Indonesia and UNESCO. From the workshops, five participants will be selected each from Indonesia and Afghanistan to be sent for advanced training in Jakarta and Bali, which would feature museum experts from the Netherlands.
'Cultural legacies such as the Borobudur Buddhist temple and the Prambanan Hindu temple can be well preserved in a predominantly Muslim community. This is what we have to discuss with Afghanistan,' he said.
Meanwhile, the head of UNESCO Jakarta's social and human sciences unit, Irakli Khodeli, said he appreciated Indonesia's financial support for the project.
Khodeli said this project was the result of a meeting between then Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and then Afghan president Hamid Karzai during the Bali Democracy Forum four years ago.
'UNESCO world heritage sites such as Bamiyan Valley in Afghanistan and Borobudur Temple in Indonesia are crucial for promoting intercultural dialog both within and between nation states,' he said.