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Research in progress. Behind the scenes of the research programme  Independence, Decolonization, Violence and War in Indonesia, 1945-1950

On Saturday November 2, 2019, a public seminar will take place in cooperation with The National Archives. During this seminar we will focus on (archival) research: what does research look like in practice? Which sources are used for the research programme and what do they tell us? How do the researchers deal with one-sidedness and inconsistencies in the sources? And how do they ensure multi-perspectivity?

The programme researchers and some external experts share experiences from their research practice in workshops and presentations. In addition, the National Archives gives workshops on archival research, as well as tours through the depot and the exhibition Highlights in perspective.

The seminar comprises of a morning and an afternoon session, with an almost identical program. Conference registration for one of the half-day sessions is possible via Eventbrite. Both parts of the day contain Dutch and English sessions. The main language of the plenary session is Dutch. We are happy to provide an English translation at the entrance of the room if required.

The registration for this event is closed. We cannot grant you access without a confirmation e-mail.

The National Archives, Prins Willem-Alexanderhof 20 The Hague (next to The Hague Central Station)


Morning program

09.30                  Welcome and coffee/tea

Plenary introduction
10.00 – 10.05    Welcome by Marens Engelhard, Director The National Archives
10.05 – 10.25    Introduction by Frank van Vree, Director NIOD, Netherlands Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies and  Principal Coordinator of the research programme Independence, Decolonization, Violence and War in Indonesia, 1945-1950.

Program sessions
10.40 – 11.30    First block: choice of program sessions 
11.40 – 12.30    Second block: choice of program sessions
12.30                 End

Afternoon program  

13.00                  Welcome and coffee/tea

Plenary introduction
13.30 – 13.35     Welcome by Marens Engelhard, Director The National Archives 
13.35 – 13.55     Introduction by Mariëtte Wolf, Programme Leader  Independence, Decolonization, Violence and War in Indonesia, 1945-1950.

Program sessions
14.10 – 15.00    First block: choice of program sessions 
15.10 – 16.00    Second block: choice of program sessions
16.00                 End


Program sessions Independence, Decolonization, Violence and War in Indonesia, 1945-1950

A. The image of war: 1945-1950 in Dutch and Indonesian newsreels
By Gerda Jansen Hendriks
As director of the history department of the Dutch broadcast organisation NTR and co-founder of ‘Andere Tijden’ Gerda Jansen Hendriks has researched the audiovisual collections concerning Indonesia 1945-1950. Through Dutch and Indonsian newsreels she demonstrates how av-material was used as propaganda. (Main language: Dutch)

B. Beyond the demarcation line
By Martijn Eickhoff en Muhammad Yuanda Zara (Yogyakarta State University)
Within the project Regional Studies the dialogue between Indonesian and Dutch historians is of central importance. By mutual exchange of sources and sharing (historical) perspectives on the 1945-1950 period, we expect to gain a better understanding of the dynamics of events in different regions of the Indonesian archipelago. In the presentation the added value of this cooperation will be illustrated. (Main language: English)

C. Revolution and its discontents: the use and abuse of Dutch and Indonesian sources in analyzing Indonesian revolutionary organizations
By Norman Joshua (Historian, PhD-Researcher at Northwestern University Illinois, Fellow-Researcher KITLV) and Fridus Steijlen (KITLV)
Focusing on the revolutionary organization Pemuda Sosialis Indonesia (Pesindo, Socialist Youth of Indonesia) 1945-1950, Norman Joshua reveals his experiences with both Indonesian and Dutch-produced archival sources based in the Netherlands – National Archives, International Institute of Social History (IISH) and NIOD – and with the use of personal testimonies. (Main language: English. Only in the afternoon program.)

D. Strictly confidential! The influence of international diplomacy on Indonesian independence
By Tom van den Berge and Emma Keizer
This workshop illustrates the added value of research into international archives. Which new insights are provided by research in Belgian, French, British and American institutions. Based on sources from different archives we try to reconstruct  the international diplomatic relations concerning the independence and decolonization of Indonesia.(Main language: Dutch)

E. ‘Sunbeam hits target’: military reports as a historical source
By Azarja Harmanny
A workshop about the possibilities and pitfalls of using official military reports as a historical source. What do and don’t they tell us? By means of some practical examples we reveal the world which can be behind a military report and show which additional sources are needed to get a more complete view of the violence that is used during the war in Indonesia. (Main language: Dutch)

F. Speaking of personal stories… 
By Eveline Buchheim, Ody Dwicahyo, Fridus Steijlen en Stephanie Welvaart
The project Witnesses & Contemporaries  engages in conversations with the audience about the use, meaning and pitfalls of personal documents and oral history in both Indonesia and The Netherlands. Why should people share their stories and what is the added value of these for researchers.  By using fragments of interviews, pictures and personal documents covering  1945-1950, we discuss how personal stories find their way to public space and what happens next. (English and Dutch)

G. Counting victims
By Ron Habiboe
During the period of ‘bersiap’/‘berdaulat’ extreme acts of violence took place against Dutch and Dutch-Indonesian inhabitants and other population groups. By showing some specific cases Ron Habiboe,  participating in the project Violence, bersiap, berdaulat. Transition 1945-1956, illustrates the problems and challenges that come with the quantifying of victims. (Main language: Dutch)

H. NEFIS- and CMI-archives: a problematic gold mine.Indonesian revolutionary propaganda, personal belongings and ‘djimats’ on display. Curating intelligence on ‘the wrong side of history’.
By Aminudin Siregar (Art Historian, PhD Researcher Leiden University) and Harm Stevens (Curator Rijksmuseum)
The archives of the Marine and Army Intelligence Service Netherlands Forces Intelligence Service (NEFIS) and Central Military Intelligence Service (CMI) are a goldmine for historians but at the same time a cause for discomfort, as many documents are captured from Indonesian revolutionaries. This presentation demonstrates a selection of the Indonesian documents from the NEFIS- and CMI- archives and discusses their origins and meaning. (Main language: English)

I. Reading the news from different sides
By Maarten van der Bent  en Anne van der Veer
In this workshop we compare news reports about the so called Tebingtinggi incident (North Sumatra, December 1945) in Dutch, Indonesian and Chinese-Indonesian newspapers, by using press overviews of the Netherlands Forces Intelligence Service (NEFIS), the online newspaper database Delpher and other newspaper collections. (Main language: Dutch)

J. From reliable sources…
By Tico Onderwater en Esther Zwinkels
By means of intelligence reports and judicial documents we demonstrate how intelligence services and judicial authorities exchanged information and how this was used for suppressing Indonesian opponents of the colonial administration. How reliable are these reports and how do researchers deal with such sources. (Main language: Dutch)

K. In conversation with…
If you have any questions about the research programme, there is an opportunity to put these to the programme management or one of the researchers  in two 10-minute sessions Please choose from the following options:

a. Aim and lay-out of the research
b. Multi-perspectivity and terminology
c. The bersiap/berdaulat-period
d. Other, please specify ……

(Dutch and English)


Program sessions The National Archives

L.Guided tour through the depot and the exhibition Highlights in perspective
The guides of the National Archives will take you through the depots and the exhibition Highlights in perspective – From Act of Abjuration to Abdication. (Main language: Dutch or English)

M. Researching the National Archives
Diederik van Romondt, archivist at the National Archives, will show you how to start a research yourself, and what to take into account when researching the archives. (Main language: Dutch)

N. A guide through the KNIL-archives
Erik Mul, archivist at the National Archives, guides you through the records of the Royal Netherlands East Indies Army (KNIL), where you can find information about the military past of a relative in the period 1815-1950. (Main language: Dutch)

The registration for this event is closed. We cannot grant you access without a confirmation e-mail.