The Jakarta Post
The Presidential Secretariat handed over on Thursday 1,500 historical artifacts to the National Museum in Central Jakarta. The artifacts used to be held in the Nusantara Museum in Delft, Netherlands, which closed down in 2013 because of financial difficulties.
The 1,500 artifacts consisted of different art and cultural objects, including a Bugis kris presented by Netherlands Prime Minister Mark Rutte to President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo during the former’s visit to Indonesia in 2016.
Head of the Presidential Secretariat Heru Budi Hartono symbolically handed the kris to the Education and Culture Ministry's director general of culture, Hilmar Farid, on Thursday morning.
"This morning we officially handed a kris given by the Netherlands Prime Minister to President Joko Widodo on Nov. 23, 2016 [to the National Museum], [...] in the hope that it could be held, examined, and eventually displayed to the public," Heru said in a press statement on Thursday.
Meanwhile, Hilmar expressed his gratitude to the Presidential Secretariat for keeping the kris safe since 2016.
"We, from the Education and Culture Ministry and the National Museum, are very grateful since this very important artifact has been safely kept in the Presidential Palace all this time," he said.
Heru suggested the museum display the vast collection to the public, including historians, researchers, and cultural observers, via virtual seminars in the near future.
"A lot of people still don't know that the 1,500 historical artifacts from the Netherlands have been returned to us," he said.
The repatriation process for the 1,500 artifacts started symbolically in November 2016. The Dutch government delivered the collection back to Indonesia in January, four years after the agreement.
Before its closure, the 100-year-old Nusantara Museum was the only museum in the Netherlands dedicated specifically to art and cultural objects from Indonesia, which had been a Dutch colony.
The museum had initially offered to hand over around 12,000 artifacts to Indonesia, but the culture directorate-general opted to accept a selection of 1,500 objects instead.