BooksCultureStoriesDutch woman lying in grass reading book - Photo Credit: Ben-Schonewille

by Ingrid Dümpel

My name is Ingrid Dümpel and I was born and raised in Indië or the Dutch East Indies. Both my parents are ‘Indisch’—with paternal ancestors from the west and maternal ancestors from Indonesia. I realized what a privilege it was to have grown up there, when I started interviewing Indisch children who were born in Holland. Something is missing for me, they said.

What did they miss, I wondered. That life in the country of their Indonesian ancestors, being surrounded in the inner circle by Indisch people, their way of living and way of thinking, the use of that colloquial language, varying from correct Dutch to petjok*, a mix of Dutch and Indonesian. Thank God, Tjalie Robinson wrote one book in petjok: Ik En Bentiet.

But do they know about the other side? There were the unspoken, invisible elements: a hidden resentment or quiet resignation because, being Indisch, you didn’t get any further than halfway up on the social ladder—no matter how dutiful and eager you were. You felt this as a child and it became part of the collective memory of generations that was passed on to you as an Indisch child in the Dutch East Indies. An Indisch child often grew up in those years with the unconscious knowledge that sometimes there was a (thin) dividing line between the Indisch people (mixed-blooded) and the Dutch.

In her book Huil niet om een Belanda*, the Indisch writer Loes Nobel wrote about the Dutch boy Ruurt and the Indisch protagonist in the book who had a conversation on the playground. I translated the passage:

“You cannot come and play at my house, my mother says, because you have a brown skin.”

“Yes, you are white but you can come at my house to play.”

“Yes, but that is also not possible… my mother says.”

Then, cautiously, the protagonist touches Ruurt’s white skin.

“Never in my life have I done that again so spontaneously, so pure and intimate. Still free from prejudice, still ignorant of irreconcilable gaps between white and brown, persistently passed on from generation to generation on both sides.”

There are elements in an Indisch childhood that are exclusively Indisch, both in literature and in reality. Until World War II broke out and changed the lives of all who lived there in that emerald belt, white and brown.

After we were reunited with our father in August 1946 we went to live in Ujung (Oedjoeng) in Surabaya, at Ten Boschweg 103.

Dutch flag in the middle of the book. Knowledge and education concept. Photo Credit: Golden_Brown
Photo Credit: Golden_Brown

What did my Indisch childhood look like? Let’s start with elementary school. The teacher, fresh from Holland, taught us Dutch patriotic songs like: Hollands vlag, je bent mijn glorie (Dutch flag, you are my glory).

In school we read books like Ot and Sien and Pim and Mien all based on the Netherlands:

Mien bites into an…apple. Why not, for example, in a jambu air*, which has the same qualities as an apple: fresh, juicy and you really have to bite into it. An apple was priceless for an average Indisch family.

Sunflowers - Photo Credit: Pretti
Sunflowers - Photo Credit: Pretti

In the fifth grade we had a reading book called Zonnebloemen (Sunflowers) (1939), compiled by K.J. Danckaerts and Diet Kramer. The preface states that it is intended for the Primary Schools in the Indies and that “the compilers have thought of the special requirements that must be placed on a reading book in this country”. That is why there were subjects such as the Krakatau and the Rafflesia in addition to fairy tales and a story that takes place on Texel, a Dutch island. So, Zonnebloemen was a favorable exception in terms of subjects.

At the concordante* HBS the lessons were still strongly focused on the Netherlands, even ten years after the war. A Rhine barge (Rijn aak) sails on the River Rhine. Prompting a classmate to ask: “And what if it was on the River Tjiliwung?”

Melati Flower - Photo Credit: Zen Zero Zona
Melati Flower - Photo Credit: Zen Zero Zona

Mère Veronique was our teacher for Dutch language and literature. When she announced one day that we were going to cover the poem De Akelei* the next lesson, classmate Els immediately raised her finger and asked what that was.

“A flower”, explained Mère and showed us a picture.

Response from Els: “Aduh* … so ugly, Mère”.

And, turning round to us she said: “Yes, why not a poem about a melati*”.

After the war, the Indies was not immediately Indonesia. My Indisch childhood took place during this transition from the Dutch East Indies to Indonesia. I was both spectator and participant. Looking back I can say that I lived in the dying days of tempo doeloe*. It still seemed to be like before the war—with Dutch people around you, with Dutch spoken on the street, on the radio, and in the shops. Yes, Indië had become Indonesia on August 17, 1945, but it was not visible yet. The transformation started with the disappearance of the Dutch and the Dutch language from everyday life and on the streets.

Then, on December 5, 1957 (Black Sinterklaas), it was forbidden to speak Dutch in public. Many concordant schools were closed and Bahasa Indonesia* became the official language. On the radio you heard: Inilah Radio Republik Indonesia dengan warta berita*.

When the situation during this transition period became increasingly grim, the exodus of Dutch and Indisch people began. Actually, Indisch people were advised to opt for the Indonesian citizenship (Warga Negara*). Many did that. Others went to New Guinea or repatriated to a homeland they did not know, for the sake of the children.

Fort Rotterdam Makassar - Photo credit: benito_anu
Fort Rotterdam Makassar - Photo credit: benito_anu

My father chose to become Warga Negara and instead of going to Holland we sailed to Makassar with the SS Tjiluwah. On that ship we met a Dutch missionary family on their way to Manado. One of the daughters was my age and she lent me a book: Ams’ongeweten afscheid*. It was about a Dutch girl in Indonesia before WWII. There I read for the first time about the Japanese and about the war. I remembered fragments of conversations between my parents and uncles and aunts. Words like Japanese internment and prisoner-of-war.

All that faded into the background when I found out that there was no HBS in Makassar and that I had to switch to the SMA, the Sekolah Menengah Atas*, where Bahasa Indonesia was the language of instruction. That was a bit different from the Indonesian you spoke to the servants or on the street every day. I cried on the inside for a long time when I thought of the HBS door that was slammed in my face.

Now, in addition to French, English and German, I also learned Bahasa Kawi (Old Javanese) and Indonesian art history and literature, both completely new for me. I remember a poem by Chairil Anwar Aku*. The first lines are:

Kalau sampai waktuku
‘Ku mau tak seorang ‘kan merayu
Tidak juga kau
Tak perlu sedu sedan itu

If my time has come
I don’t want anyone to beg
Not even you
I don’t need that sniveling!

I was full of dreams that inspired me to learn another language. With my dictionary in hand, I passed all of my courses.

Republic Of Indonesia Flag Waving In Jakarta Java - Photo Credit: LIVINUS
Republic Of Indonesia Flag Waving In Jakarta Java - Photo Credit: LIVINUS

It was a nun’s school and we had students with different faiths. We respectfully celebrated Christmas, Lebaran, and Chinese New Year together. After a while I noticed something had changed. I was no longer an Indisch meisje*, but somebody with Dutch roots. Every Saturday morning (then we had lessons till 11am instead of 1pm) the Indonesian flag was hoisted while we sang the national anthem Indonesia Raya. One of my teachers always put me in the front row, because he wanted to see me sing along with the others. Dressed in the school uniform Soekarno had introduced for all schools in Indonesia, I sang, mouth wide open. I actually liked singing and I liked to sing Indonesia Raya. Up to this day I have the urge to stand up when I hear the Indonesian national anthem—and feel emotional.

Decades later I realized that all this had been a blessing in disguise. The SMA was like a small multi-cultural society; you learned to deal with all kinds of differences at a young age. And I still speak Indonesian fluently.

Makassar, on the island of Sulawesi (formerly Celebes), was different from the other places we had lived on Java. The people were outspoken, sometimes hot-tempered (oh yes…), but also cheerful and warm. Everyone spoke with loud voices. In the beginning my mother used to think they were quarreling, but no they were just chatting—in a language we did not understand. I picked up a few words in the course of time, but I regret not having tried harder to learn the Makassar language.

Book cover of De Gouden Kris
Book cover of De Gouden Kris

A Dutch family left us a pile of books, when they went to Holland. One of them was De Gouden Kris*.

With the description of the environment, you are drawn into the story that took place at the end of the 19th century on the island of Sulawesi. It is the story of the Buginese nobleman, Daëng Pabele, regarded by the Dutch as a highwayman. He does not wish to bow to colonial rule. There is the orphan La Ballo, who is raised by his uncle Aru Lipa, the owner of a gold kris. La Ballo is torn between loyalty to Dutch authority and the proud family tradition of independence.

Urged after reading this book I took trips with school friends to places outside Makassar like Goa-Tallo, Sungguminasa, and the Barombong Falls.

Statue of Anne Frank to Merwedplein in Amsterdam, Netherlands - Photo Credit: Ronald Wilfred Jansen
Statue of Anne Frank to Merwedplein in Amsterdam, Netherlands - Photo Credit: Ronald Wilfred Jansen

I missed my Dutch books. Thank God, the nuns and the priests had a modest collection of books. That is how I discovered The Diary of Anne Frank. I was confused and shocked. I talked about it with a priest and he told me about the German occupation in Holland. Who could have imagined that only a few years later I would see a lot of what I read about with my own eyes?

It was not all roses in those days. So, what makes us immediately put on our rose-colored glasses when it comes to our youth we spent in the Indies? Despite the enforced farewell, the bitter and fond memories that lie there? Despite the fact that sometimes there are hardly any tangible memories? Is it because those memories are so very much mixed with emotion?

I regretted when my secondary school days were over. But university was waiting…

Article Glossary

  • Petjok – a mixed language of Dutch and Indonesian, where Indonesian grammar rules are applied
  • Belanda – a Dutchman, a ‘white’ person, sometimes used in a pejorative meaning
  • ‘Huil niet om een Belanda’, Loes Nobel (Surabaya, 1931), Printing house Haasbeek, 1991
  • Jambu air – Java Apple of pommerak
  • Concordante scholen – Elementary school and secondary education in the Dutch East Indies where the language of instruction was Dutch
  • ‘De Akelei’ (Dürer), poem by Ida Gerhardt (1905-1997). It is a flower from the Ranunculaceae family.
  • Aduh! – exclamation of surprise, irritation
  • Melati – Jasminum sambac or melati also called Indisch jasmine. Has become a symbol for Indisch people in the form of an ornamental pin
  • Tempo doeloe – the good old days in the Indies, roughly from 1870 -1920/1942, expressing a longing and nostalgia for life in the Indies then.
  • Bahasa Indonesia – official language in Indonesia
  • ‘Inilah Radio Republik Indonesia dengan warta berita’ – This is Radio Republik Indonesia with the news.’
  • Warga Negara – Indonesisan citizenship
  • ‘Ams’ ongeweten afscheid’, M.J. van Marle-Hubregtse, (1884-1963), Published by Uitgeverij W. van Hoeve – ’s Gravenhage, 1947
  • SMA – Sekolah Menengah Atas – Senior High School
  • Chairil Anwar, Indonesian poet, (1922-1949)
  • ‘Aku’ – Indonesian text and translation from wikipedia
  • Indisch meisje – an Indisch girl
  • ‘Indonesia Raya’ – Indonesian national anthem
  • ‘De gouden kris’, Maria Christina van Zeggelen, aka Marie Kooij-van Zeggelen (1870 – 1957), published by Masereeuw & Bouten, Rotterdam, 1908
  • Panti Penghibur, formerly the Harmonie, a beautiful community house

The translation of the book excerpts is by Ingrid Dümpel.


  1. Dear Ingrid,

    A slight correction.
    After graduation from the CAS, the Nederlandse HBS, with my Dutch diploma I could not attend an Indonesian university.

    • Dear Sylvia,

      Wow! So that was the other way round! You couyld not or were not allowed to attend the Indonesian university?
      What reason did they give you?

      Best regards,


  2. I also would like to help translate some of the books. Hope you’ll be able to figure out the possibilities.
    Thank you.

    • Dear Sylvia,

      First of all I wish the very best for 2022.
      Thank you for your offer.

      In the meantime I have done some research as far as copyright is concerned.

      I will make a list of the steps and of the two books I have chosen and post it on the site of TIP.
      Do you speak and read Dutch?

      The illustrations in these books are also important to get an idea of how people dressed etc. So if possbile, I will try to have the same illustrations in the translated book.

      Beste wishes,

      Ingrid Dümpel

      • Dear Ingrid,

        Thanks for your answer.
        Yes. I speak and write Dutch. That was the language we spoke at home. We are Indonesian, Menadonese. I graduated from the Dutch concordante school: CAS Carpentier Alting Stichting. I belong to the last group of students to graduate in 1958. The Indonesian HBS seniors were allowed to stay and finish final exams in June 1958 and get our diplomas. After graduation I couldn’t go to the university with my Dutch diploma, so I worked at the USIS, part of the American Embassy, and Pan American. In January 1961 I was awarded a scholarship from the East West Center to study at the University of Hawaii in Honolulu. I stayed in the USA ever since.
        I greatly admire you for switching to and graduating from the SMA and consequently speaking “proper Indonesian”.
        I look forward to hear from you.
        Happy New Year.

        • Dear Sylvia,

          Wonderful that you read and write Dutch. So translating will be no problem.
          It still makes me angry to hear/read that we, from Indonesia, could not enter a Dutch university. The same happened to me In Holland. I persisted and finally was allowed to register as a student. And surprised some of my (nice) teachers with my knowledge of Dutch, vocabulary and grammar.
          I started the SMA (senior high school) in the first grade with dictionary in hand.
          By the end of the first year I had to take an exam for the SMP (junior high school), in order to be allowed to register for the final exam SMA in the third year. Big surprise for me, but … I put my teeth into it and passed.
          What subject(s) did you major in?

          Best wishes

  3. Ellen, that would be wonderful.

    This is my idea: I will choose say two books from before 1940. And one of round 2000. There is an interesting shift in the focus.
    I also have to see about the royalties etc.

    So I need some time to go about this.

    Thank you,


    • Hello Jean,

      As I replied to one of the persons who wrote a comment, I will try and make a list of such books.
      Eventually translate soem of them.

      I will come back to you about this.

      Beste wishes,

      Ingrid Dümpel

      • Hi Ingrid,

        I would like to help translate some of the books. Let me know if that would be possible.

        Thank you,

        Ellen Gerhard

        • Ellen, that would be wonderful.

          This is my idea: I will choose say two books from before 1940. And one of round 2000. There is an interesting shift in the focus.
          I also have to see about the royalties etc.

          So I need some time to go about this.

          Thank you,


  4. Puntje op de I: er was wel degelijk een Indische versie van Ot & Sien; “Nederlandsch” met hier & daar een Maleis woord: “kelder” werd “oedang”, de “meid” werd “baboe” & ze reisden af naar Soekaboemi. Dat was wel vlk voor de oorlog.
    And may I put it to you that “Indischmenschen” looked down at people like us, the “Inlanders” (natives) & that marrige to a European partner was praised as “rasverbetering” (breed improvement)
    You write that some Indo’s opted for the Indonesian nationality but omit to mention that in the the time of the bersiap for some the only option was to be deported to the Netherlands because they were under daily threat of life.

    • Dear Mr Albert,

      Thank you for your comment.
      Yes, there was an ‘Indisch’ version of Ot and Sien, but here, too, it was Eurocentric.
      Kelder in Indonesian is ‘goedang’, by the way.

      That Indischmensen looked down on natives and that marrying a European was praised as ‘rasverbetering’ is true. but we must not generalize., I think.

      My intention was and is to draw renewed attention to Indische books for children/yound adults.

      Best wished,

      Ingrid Dümpel

      • Dear Nyonya Dūmpel,
        Thank you for the correction. I omitted one “g”, “Oedang” means shrimp of course, not kelder.
        And yes, I agree, the Indische uitgave of Ot & Sien was Eurocentric too, as was a significant part of pre-war Nederlandsch Indische society. In the book the protagonist were firmly European, the servants “Indisch”.

  5. Dear Ingrid,
    Thank you for this post. It gave me a bit more understanding of the period before and after we left Indonesia.

    I was 8 when we left Jakarta for Holland. I went to one of those concordant schools you wrote about, and my education was in Dutch, with teachers who came from Holland to teach us. I do remember that we had a daily lesson in Bahasa Indonesia, which was minimal. I learned to count to 10. We left a few weeks before the December 5, 1957 date, but I remember that there was an early Sinterklaas celebration, and have a few pictures of the event.

    I was too young to realize that our neighborhood was changing rapidly, as many Dutch families left and there were many empty houses in our street. I was no longer allowed to play on the street, and had to be driven to school which was perhaps a half mile away. Also, looking back, there were mostly Indische children left in my 3rd grade classroom.

    My parents chose to go to Holland, which must have been very difficult for them, especially my father, who was darker-skinned. He endured a lot of racism during the first years. However, I am very grateful to them for choosing Holland over Indonesian citizenship, as I heard of some relatives who stayed and became third class citizens.

    Your experiences in Indonesia after December 5, 1957 were very interesting to me, as I had not heard or read of young Indische people who thrived like you did.

    Thank you,
    Ellen Gerhard

    • Dear Ellen,

      Indeed I think that it is strange never to hear anything anymore of aplace where you lived, where you were born and not know what happened after you left. I remember I walking home from school in Surabaya, past yet another empy house with a dry garden, withered flowers. And neighbours told me: ‘If you are looking for this family, they went to Holland.’ Holland, a magic word for me. Then.

      Which school did you go to in Jakarta? Yes, the bahasa lessons were minimal.

      Of course you were too young to see the rapid changes around you. My father got piles of Dutch books for children and we had a kind of library where the children from the neighbourhood could come and borrow a book. Or read it in our garden.

      It was an exodus. People went to Holland where everything would be better. It was in some ways, but what your father experience, many of the fathers experienced way back then.
      To think that specially the Indische boys were spoilt by Mum, the sisters, Grandparents and so on. I cannot imagine what they must have felt, being given jobs that were below their capabilities.

      Did I thrive? When I wanted to study I was advised to go back to get a Dutch highschool certificate first and then come back.
      I didn’t. I told about the concordante schhols (they never heard of) and was finally accepted.

      Beste wishes,

      Ingrid Dümpel

      Your experiences in Indonesia after December 5, 1957 were very interesting to me, as I had not heard or read of young Indische people who thrived like you did.

      Thank you,
      Ellen Gerhard

  6. L.S.,

    In de tijd dat ik als kleine jongen in Djakarta woonde (1945-1957) , hadden wij een heer in ons huis wonen. Die heette voor mij als kleine katjong, meneer Van Overeem. Bij toevel trof ik het bovenstaande/aangehechte aan met dezelfde naam. Enig idee waar hij woonde? Op ons adres?
    Vincent van Bommel

    • Dear Mr. Van Bommel.
      Hellas Kan ik je niet meer helpen. Bandoeng and Bogor zijn steden waar we van komen.
      Wishing you the best,
      Cor Van Overeem

  7. Interesting read. But you also wrote and I repeat:” Then, on December 5, 1957 (Black Sinterklaas), it was forbidden to speak Dutch in public. Many concordant schools were closed and Bahasa Indonesia* became the official language. On the radio you heard: Inilah Radio Republik Indonesia dengan warta berita*.
    After the International world also accepted the Indonesian independents (december 27, 1949), which Indonesia never excepted, Soekarno already made many changes. In September 1950 I started in the first class of Canisius in Jakarta. In December 1950 all students received a letter. As per the new year 1951, the main language will be Bahasa Indonesia and the Dutch language was forbidden. Lucky for me, on January 3, 1951 my mother and her 4 children left Indonesia with the SS Chitral for the Netherlands.

    • Dear Mr Geenen,

      Thank you for your reaction.
      It is true that Soekarno made many chances, starting in 1950. But then you still had a choice.
      Me and my elder sister could continue on the concordante school and my younger sisters and brothers went to what was called the ‘Indonesische school’, because my father had decided to become Warga Negara.

      I am happy with any additonal information.



      • Ingrid Dümpel: I am happy with any additonal information.

        OK, let me give you some. I was born before the war in 1936 on West Sumatra.
        My mother, her 4 children, a niece and 2 grandmothers has been in Japanese concentration camp called Bangkinang. My father and other people from the mining company Ombilin in Sawahlunto were prisoners of war and tortured by the Kempeitai for many months. Only 12 of the more than 30 survived and landed in the Bangkinang men camp. My father was in bad shape and after the war he, my mother and 4 children were shipped to Batavia. My dad ended in CBZ hospital. But due to his bad condition he died on 8-15- 1948. My mother applied to move to The Netherlands, which was approved. Shipping date was set at the beginning on September 1949. In the month of July 1949 my mother was ordered to come to the Dutch emigration service in Jakarta.
        There they told her that she was not allowed to leave for the Netherlands.
        Reason? A mother, widow and Dutch Indies, do not have any change to make it in the Netherlands. The Dutch refused to pay for our migration trip, because they wanted us to stay in Indonesia. One of our neighbors managed to sell our rental home. We managed to book a migration trip to the Netherlands with the British passenger ship The Chitral and arrived in the Netherlands on January 27, 1951

        Mother Geenen and her 4 children where moved to a pension close to Nijmegen in the Dutch Provence Gelderland. In 1951 we were one of the first Indo people and the locals had never seen or met brown people. We were heavily discriminated. Like monkey go back to your coconut tree. Or you are too brown. Do you wash yourself?
        Even the woman teacher at the MULO asked me: Where did you learn to speak Dutch?

        I grew up, part in Indonesia part in the Netherlands with a lot of bad feelings. As a youngster I told my mother that I will not stay in the Netherlands.
        I became an engineer and worked for American Engineering in The Hague. From there on I received an invitation from an Engineering company in SoCal.
        Within a couple of months my young Indo wife and I left the Netherlands for Alhambra.
        And we never looked back.

        • Dear Mr Geenen,

          Thank you for your comment.
          Yes, I heard some stories about men and women who, in the bad shape they were in then, were refused (or discouraged?) to go to Holland.
          There is a small monumnet in Bangkinang that I visted a few years ago.
          Maybe you are insterested to hear about a very strange experience I had there.
          I wnet to the site where the monument is placed to bring flowers in the name of some people in Holland who knew I was going there.
          I laid the flowers at the monument, burnt some incense, walked around, sat down on the remnants of a flight of steps and all of a sudden I burst into tears. It was as if hands were reaching out to me.

          Back at the place where I stayed I told a woman from a small shop about this experience. She was not surprised or so. She looked at me and said:’My grandfather told me bad things happened there during the war.’

          Back to your comment.
          Many young ‘Indisch’ people experiences what you experienced.
          But that is all behind you.
          Thank God, you had better chances in America.

          Best wished,

          Ingrid Dümpel

    • I attended the Katholieke HBS in Surabaya that changed into an Indonesian school in 1952, so I moved to the SSV HBS, Surabayase School Vereniging where Dutch was the main language. I left for NL in 1955, but the SSV still continued to be a private Dutch school. I do not know if it was beyond 1957 when Soekarno banned all Dutch people and my parents left.

      • Dear Mr ten Wolde,

        Thank you for your comment.

        As far as I know all schools in Indonesianwhere Dutch was the language of instruction, were closed and as from December 5, 1957 (Black Sinterklaas it was called) the language of instruction was Indonesian.

        I think for all the children who still lived in Indonesia and visited a socalled ‘Dutch’ school, the choice was private tuition, or go to an ‘Indonesian’ school.

        Language does something in your brains, I think. With entering the Indonesian highschool, the Sekolah Menenga Atas, I felt as I was growing away from Holland, although I had never been there. And I grew closer to Indonesia.

        Was your further education in Holland or in the States? If so, did you have a kind of same feeling as I did?

        Best wishes.

  8. Thank you for writing this. It’s given me a little better understanding of my grandmother’s life prior to going to Holland and then coming to the US. She was very secretive and really did not speak about her life in Indonesia. Although I do know she was in a Japanese Prison Camp during the war. But I did get the feeling that she longed for her old life. I plan to do some reading about the Indies. My grandmother even denied being part Indonesian which was proven after her passing to be untrue. It breaks my heart that she felt compelled to do that.

    • Dear Nicole,

      Thank you for your reacion on my story. For our (grand)parents life after the war was as much a shock as during the war.
      During the war they were not imprisdoned if they could prove they had a certain (high) percentage of Indonesian blood. And it must be admitted that up till then most of the Indisch people seldom spoke of their Indonesian ancestor. And ALL the Indisch people have one, be it four genrations back.
      After the war it was the hight perdentage of White blood that made them stand out and being pestered untill they finally left for Holland.
      Where they were not welcome. And so and so forth.

      I give lectures at schools about this and I call my lecture: The colour of my blood.

      BUT… the Indisch people are strong. We will survive.

      If you want some titles of books in English, just let me know.
      Dot you read Dutch?

      Bet wishes,


      • Dear Ingrid,
        Thank you for your reply. Unfortunately I do not speak or read Dutch. So if you are able to recommend any books that are in English, that would be wonderful. My mother spoke only Dutch when she arrived in the US as a young teen, but alas, after the passing of her mother she had no one to keep up the Dutch language skills with.

        • Dear Nicole,

          When it comes to the books I wrote about and read in my youth, I am afraid there are no translations (yet?).
          For all who are interested: I will try to find out what is available and will come back to you by the end of September.

          One more thing: it would be a very, very interesting project if some books were translated into English. since I was a teacher of English and still do a lot of trnaslating, I am very willing to start with, say three books of my choice to tranlate. Maybe there is a publisher among the readers who is interested?

          Stay safe,


  9. It always gives me a feeling of joy to read writings expanding our knowledge of the Indo-Dutch history and heritage. Again and again I read and I read between the lines of how our family, my mom and my dad, Marlien and Herman Van Overeem, endured the hardships of war and post war and then chose wisely of what became their combined legacy. We are forever grateful and my heart beats also for the ones with parallel experiences.

    • Dear Mr van Overeem,

      Thank you for your reaction.
      Yes, yes, our (grand) parents endured more during and after WW II than we will ever know.
      Every broken line from my youth in the Indies I tried to mend in the years that followed my departure from Indonesia.

      Who am I, what I am and why.

      Holland has given me a lot in the way of education and knowledge, but is still hesistent when it comes to acknowledging what they did wrong.

      Best reagrds,


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