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Jakarta Post

Can we reconcile Dutch and Indonesian history?

  • Calvin Sidjaya

Jakarta   /   Fri, April 1 2016   /  09:23 am

In December 2015, the Netherlands recognized rijstaffel as part of Dutch cultural heritage. Unfortunately, this story slipped under the radar of mainstream news in Indonesia and Netherlands, thus the public in both nations dismissed it as unimportant although Indonesia and Netherlands have established a common cultural heritage.

The lack of a sense of belonging between both nations can be traced to the end of World War II in Indonesia. In March 1942, the Japanese occupied the Dutch East Indies and destroyed the rigid Dutch social caste system, and radicalized the Indonesian natives to hate the Dutch.

After the Japanese lost the war and Sukarno declared Indonesia’s independence on Aug. 17, 1945, it would take another four years of brutal wars before the Dutch finally recognized Indonesia’s sovereignty on Dec. 29, 1949.

However, little is known in Indonesia’s g...