On February 2, 2023, two new books on the Indonesian Independence War were presented at Museum Volkenkunde in Leiden. 

About the books

Compiled and written by Indonesian and Dutch historians, the books stem from the research program Independence, Decolonization, Violence and War in Indonesia, 1945-1950, in cooperation with Universitas Gadjah Mada, Yogyakarta. The books are published by Amsterdam University Press.

Revolutionary Worlds: Local Perspectives and Dynamics during the Indonesian Independence War, 1945-1949 (in English) is a collection of articles on the Indonesian Independence War (1945-1949), studied from a local and regional perspective. The seventeen articles are written by Indonesian and Dutch historians. The authors explain how Indonesian, Chinese, Indian and Eurasian civilians, fighters, farmers and officials experienced and shaped the often volatile period between 1945 and 1950. The book focuses on different ideas of independence, survival strategies, mobilization, minorities, contestation of authority and the use of force against the backdrop of Indonesian and Dutch authorities’ efforts to gain or maintain control.

Onze Revolutie. Bloemlezing uit de Indonesische geschiedschrijving over de strijd voor de onafhankelijkheid, 1945-1949 (in Dutch) contains a selection of articles on the Indonesian Independence War (1945-1949) and its significance for the later development of the country. The articles, written by Indonesian eyewitnesses and academics of different generations, show the complexity of the revolution and the struggle for independence, as well as developments in historiography and the assessment of these events in Indonesia.

During the book launch, the symposium Bridging the Narratives. Indonesian and Dutch historians Re-examine the Indonesian Independence War will take place. Authors of the books will engage in conversation with each other and the audience this afternoon.


The presentation was broadcast via livestream and is made available for later viewing


  • 13.30                                 Doors open
  • 14.00 – 14.10                    Welcome and introduction by Diana Suhardiman (KITLV)
  • 14.10 – 14.30                    Discussion of the books by Ratna Saptari
  • 14.30 – 15.00                    Discussion (moderator: Wim Manuhutu)
    Bambang Purwanto, Abdul Wahid, Yulianti, Martijn Eickhoff and Ireen Hoogenboom on working together, determining the research agenda and source materials
  • 15.00 – 15.15                    Break
  • 15.15 – 15.45                    Presentation on the research by Apriani Harahap and Anne van der Veer
  • 15.45 – 16.15                    Discussion (moderator: Wim Manuhutu)
    Bambang Purwanto, Abdul Wahid, Roel Frakking, Gerry van Klinken, Apriani Harahap and Anne van der Veer on different perspectives and narratives
  • 16.15 – 16.55                    Q & A
  • 16.55 – 17.00                    Closing remarks by NIMH-director Ben Schoenmaker
  • 17.00 – 18.00                    Drinks