Public seminar Research in progress

Last Saturday, November 2, the third public meeting of the research program took place in collaboration with the National Archives in The Hague: Research in progress. Behind the scenes of the research programme  Independence, Decolonization, Violence and War in Indonesia, 1945-1950. The well attended seminar focused 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 shared experiences from their research practice in workshops and presentations. Previously Marens Engelhard, Director of The National Archives, welcomed the attendees and NIOD director Frank van Vree (in the morning) and program leader Mariëtte Wolf (in the afternoon) gave an introduction.

Freelance journalist Tessa Hofland wrote a report on the public meeting.
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The Indonesian art historian Aminudin Siregar and Rijksmuseum curator Harm Stevens reflected on the documents which were captured from Indonesian revolutionaries, in the archives of the Dutch intelligence services.
Through Dutch and Indonesian newsreels, historian and television maker Gerda Jansen Hendriks showed how av-material was used as war propaganda.

Stories and sensations from East-Java

Last summer researcher Remco Raben travelled through parts of East Java, in an explorative search for local voices from the revolutionary period of Indonesia. He shared some of his experiences in his blog 'The hyper-local Indonesian revolution; Stories and sensations from around Bojonegoro and Mojokerto'
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Witnesses & Contemporaries

Within the Independence, Decolonisation, Violence and War in Indonesia-research programme, the Witnesses & Contemporaries project specifically focuses on collecting the experiences of those involved in the events at the time. At the public seminar on November 2, the project presented the interactive session ‘Speaking of personal stories…’. Together with the Indonesian historian Ody Dwicahyo the project engaged 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?

On the programme website, the Witnesses & Contemporaries project publishes a series of blogs about the interviews held and about the valuable ego documents (such as letters and diaries) the project has been alerted to. The project has been running for two years now. This prompted Eveline Buchheim, one of the coordinators of this project, to write a personal reflection on the lasting value of memories.

Looking back at the NIAS-conference, June 2019

On June 20, 2019, in the Amsterdam Public Library, the conference Comparing the wars of decolonization: Extreme violence during reoccupation and counter-insurgency, 1945-1975 took place. During this conference, the NIAS Theme group Comparing the Wars of Decolonization presented its preliminary results. The main papers will be published in a book by Cornell University Press in 2021. In June 2020 the leading historical journal BMGN-Low Countries Historical Review will also publish a forum in Dutch where the theme group members will present and discuss their findings.
In her blog 'Language as a window on war' Stef Scagliola, one of the participants in the NIAS Theme group Comparing the Wars of Decolonization, looks back on the conference and the three months at the NIAS.
The NIAS Theme group 'Comparing the wars of decolonization', together with moderator Wim Manuhutu and the other speakers.
Do you have any questions about the research programme? We will be happy to answer them. Please contact us via We already answered a number of frequented asked questions here.
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