Contextualizing Netherlands-Indonesia Transnationalism

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Abstract

The Netherlands is home to a variety of people with Indonesian roots. Migrants who left Indonesia after independence, for example Moluccans from the former colonial army and Indo-Europeans, or Surinamese Javanese who left Suriname. The Netherlands also became home to Indonesian exiles after the violent change of power in the mid 1960-ies and later also to more recent Indonesian migrants who organize themselves on ethnic or regional background, like Balinese or Batak.
All of them in one way or another relate themselves as individual or as group to Indonesia. Be it in search for identity, cultural inspiration, or because they feel politically connected. These transnational relations are not formulated or shaped in a vacuum, and they change continuously. They are very much influenced by the colonial history, and contemporary discussions about the colonial past and the relationship between the Netherlands and Indonesia. They are also influenced by the present image of Indonesia, for example as an Islamic country, or as an exotic holiday destination.

These contexts do not only influence how transnationalism between the Netherlands and Indonesia is formed, it also influences how Dutch society looks at these groups with Indonesian roots in the Netherlands.

By focusing on the mechanism of how these different transnational relationships work and how for example the same discourses in the Dutch society may work out differently for different groups, can help us to understand better the mechanism of transnationalism. This double panel is the second in a row, after the 2019 ICAS conference in Leiden. In the first panels six cases varying from ‘postcolonial migrants’ like the Moluccans, Indo-Europeans, Chinese and Surinamese Javanese, to political exiles from Indonesia and Indonesians who became stakeholders for victims of Dutch violence during the Indonesian-Dutch conflict were discussed. The aim of this follow up is to bring the analyses a step further. It is also meant to add more cases in the comparison. By organizing these panels with successive discussions we aim to improve the mutual coherency of the papers in the light of a publication in a edited volume or special issue of a journal.