by Jamie Stern

Love is universal—but we already know that! This isn’t something new—it’s been around for a very long time. We know that love enriches lives. We know that love sometimes complicates lives! And still we gravitate toward love because it makes life more fun, more interesting, more comforting and more exciting. Love gives strength and love is strength! Love is that essential experience that makes humanity whole. It allows sympathetic and emphatic hearts to reach out to others. Love allows a wealth of emotions to be possible. Love is beautiful and comes in a variety of forms: love between a parent and child or between siblings, love between spouses and significant others, love for one’s pet, love for a friend and so much more. This Valentine’s Day, let’s celebrate the Indo community whose strength is firmly rooted in love.

It’s no secret that Indos have an enormous capacity to love. It’s just who we are! While analyzing the 2012 Indo Survey results, patterns of Indos finding romantic love outside of the Indo community (in the United States) began to emerge. Clearly this is directly related to the Indo diaspora and the necessity for our families to assimilate in their new homelands. Our culture’s turbulent past set us on paths that have allowed for countless beautiful unions to occur between Indos and non-Indos. This Valentine’s Day, let’s also celebrate the diverse group of non-Indos who are madly in love with us.



The Heritage of the Entire Survey Population’s Spouses

Indo 15.3% of Indos married other Indos. This is especially common among the first-generation.
Dutch 7.1% of Indos married a Dutch person, which is common in the first-generation and typical of the second-generation who were either raised in the Netherlands or spent a portion of their childhood there.
Indonesian 1.7% of Indos married an Indonesian.
American 46.5% of Indos married Americans which is very common in the second-generation who spent their childhood in the US. This is also very common among the third-generation because the majority of them were born in the US. An analysis was conducted to find out what the American category was culturally and ethnically comprised of. The majority of the respondents said extractions from: French, German, Hispanic, Irish, Italian, Polish and Swedish.
Jewish 3% of Indos (all female) have married Jewish men. This is a small trend that deserves attention because it demonstrates the possibility of two completely different cultures being able to complement each other in a marriage union.
European 15.8% of Indos married a European person.
Asian 1.9% of Indos married an Asian person.
Indian 0.5% of Indos married an Indian person.
Native American 3.3% of Indos married a person with Native American heritage.
African American 1.6% of Indos married an African American person.
Middle Eastern 0.9% of Indos married a Middle Eastern person.
Mexican 2.4% of Indos married a Mexican person which was very common among the younger second-generation Indos as well as the third-generation Indos.


The overall survey group was divided into Second Generation responses and Third Generation responses.  Below are heart shaped pie charts (not to scale) demonstrating the distribution

And a poem, to wish you all a very Happy Valentine’s Day!




  1. Hello Jamie,
    What is your definition of assimilation? Or do you mean integration. I wonder, because the Indo’s who came to Holland have integrated but neither of them have assimilated like the Amerindo’s like you says.
    Greetz Fred Gossiaux from Holland, born in 1960 in Holland, integrated but not assimilated.

    • Hello Fred,

      Thank you so much for your question and message. It is highly thought-provoking and I appreciate that you have brought attention to it. My personal belief is that Indos in the US are assimilated and not just integrated. Many other cultures here in the US retain their identity and sometimes reject aspects of American culture, which allow them to stop at integration and not progress to assimilation. It’s all based on what they personally want and feel.

      The Indos have gone beyond mere integration and have assimilated. Today, our identity is being lost quickly– our traditions and history are being forgotten with each passing day and new generations. While this is not a positive sign for our culture, it is proof that we are assimilating and have become (are becoming) a part of our “host” country. Indos, unlike many other cultures, do not have a homeland to return to. It is in our nature to plant ourselves somewhere and become a viable part of that society. This is something that I hugely admire about our people. While some other countries might define an immigrant as being integrated (but never assimilated), the US has granted this opportunity to its people. We are allowed to be assimilated. If we desire, we are allowed to become Americans. This is something that my own Opa truly revered about this country; we could be a respected part of it.

      Back in October of 2012, The Indo Project sponsored a focus group to discuss this exact topic. The group consisted of second and third generation Indos who resoundingly agreed that they were assimilated.

      I would, however, like to note from my own personal experience with my family: While my Opa felt assimilated and became a US citizen, my Oma (born in the Dutch East Indies in 1916) did not and spent the second half of her life living as a legal US resident, not a citizen, and only feeling marginally integrated. Integration may still be visible, but likely only to be found in our surviving first generation.

      Again, thank you so much Fred for your inquiry and re-igniting this very important conversation. As a result, we’re going to open up this discussion with the community. This will come out in an article on our website shortly and we will encourage everyone to chime in. Opinions on this topic are very important.

      Cheers and kind regards,

      Jamie Stern
      MA Cultural Geography
      Research Director, TIP

      • I just read your answer Jamie. Djam Karet 😉 Interesting answer. TY. You are doing a good job with TIP. Send my greetings to Michael P, if you see him 🙂 Greetz from Holland. Fred Gossiaux.

  2. I have to admit it’s an interesting article.

    There is not much comment on the section : ‘ 1.7% of Indos married an Indonesian.’. Why is that ?

    In the end, the Indonesian blood line and DNA flows in many of ancestors of the Indos.

    Is the ‘1.7%’ and lack of any comment to it, because of something that some in the Indo community don’t dare to say ?

    Is it because of the drive of the Indos to assimilate or integrate (or what not) to Western culture and its people is just too much ?

    A drive that had been already very strongly rooted in the mind set of their indo ancestors for centuries back then during the Dutch East India, where everyone was trying to look up to and get to be associated as close as possible to the ‘pure bred’ Dutch people or Europeans (‘Totoks’) ?

    The same but entirely opposite effect may have happen to the mindset of the Indos who had opted to ‘stay behind’ in Indonesia, who assimilated and integrated with the native Indonesians, especially in the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s and didn’t want to be associated with anything that is Dutch or Western minded.

    I wonder, if the Indonesian government starts to allow dual-citizenship, if only a minority of Indos in the Western world would even consider taking the Indonesian citizenship, since the Indonesian country and culture is something already so alien to many of them.

    In the end, what defines their Indo-ness seems to many of the Indos in the West, to be more a mutual exotic far away dream and memory of the history of their ancestor’s roots in the Dutch East India, which is long gone, and a real more agonizing mutual memory of their grandparents tortured and bitter experiences in the 40’s during the political turbulences in the Dutch East India/ Indonesia, but really nothing in common with the realities of what is Indonesia today, unless it’s the ‘Indo’ food, which I observe is basically native Indonesian food.

    Another example of a very opposite mind set to the one that the Indos have in the Western world, that can be somewhat directly observed, as it is closer to and more real for the North American culture, is what’s happening to the black and mixed white-black community’s mind set in North America.

    Their mindset is that they try to go into the extremes to express their pride of being pure black and not even mixed black/ white, as they collectively consider them ‘black’ . So even the mixed black-white people, are generally considered black by anyone in the North America , whether it’s by the white or black community (a good example is the US President himself) . .

    I sense it’s merely a protest of the black community against the (currently still) mainstream white community , as part of the subconscious and collective effort to honor the suffering of their black ancestors in a dark American history .

    Another good example is the drive, that started in the last 10 -15 years or so in the black community, is to use native African names as opposed to Christian names. A ‘Michael Jackson-who-turned-himself-white’ case would probably be considered a ‘traitor’ to the black race.

    Interesting, that the today’s black cultural behavior to embrace extreme pride in their skin color, whether they are aware of it or not, seem to be aligned with the ‘one drop rule’ imposed by White America in the early 20th century . The so-called “one-drop rule” was enacted into American state laws in the early 20th century. The idea was that anyone with any amount of African ancestry, even just “one drop of blood,” would be legally deemed to be black.

    This ‘black cultural protest, by going back to their ‘pure’ black roots, even for the mixed black-white folks, against main stream white’ seems to be interestingly a very different cultural behavior if compared to the Indos’ general mind set in the Western world. Hence, maybe the ‘1.7% marry Indonesians’ –fact.

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