Indo Knowledge Library

We feature links of resources in both English and Dutch.
Dutch language sites can be translated via Google Translate:

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A short story of the Indo Europeans of The Netherlands Indies

This timeline is an attempt to approach and expose the history of the Indo-Europeans from their own perspective. This so-called Indo-centric approach will do justice to “forgotten” or neglected facts not fitting in the regular Eurocentric view on foreign cultures. So, this timeline attempts writing history “from within” the Indo group.

With deep appreciation to Humphrey de la Croix for this timeline.

FAQs  / Definitions

Indos – Shortened term from Indo-European (Indo People) which means people of Indonesian and European lineage originating from the former Dutch East Indies.

  • 1st Generation – Indos born in the former Dutch East Indies before WWII who have family roots going back several generations. (1)(2)
  • 2nd Generation – Indos born after the start of WWII who experienced the transition of either repatriation to The Netherlands or emigration out of The Netherlands to other countries or both. (1)
  • 3rd Generation – Indos with one or both parents and/or grandparents who belong to the 1st and 2nd generation.
  • 4th Generation – Indos with one or both grandparents and/or great grandparents who belong to the 1st and 2nd generation.


(1) The above definitions, especially for the 1st and 2nd generations are based on experience and exposure.
(2) The 1st Generation is dying out at a rapid rate. They are witnesses to the Japanese Occupation ,the violent Bersiap period and Repatriation to The Netherlands. They have first-hand knowledge of what life was like growing up in the former Dutch East Indies.

Indo People

The Indo people or Indos, are Eurasian people living in or connected with Indonesia. In its narrowest sense, the term refers to people in the former Dutch East Indies who held European legal status but were of mixed Dutch and Indigenous Indonesian descent as well as their descendants today. In the broadest sense, an Indo is anyone of mixed European and Indonesian descent. Indos are associated with colonial culture of the former Dutch East Indies, a Dutch colony in Southeast Asia and a predecessor to modern Indonesia after its proclamation of independence shortly after World War II.[9][10][11][12] The term was used to describe people acknowledged to be of mixed Dutch and Indonesian descent, or it was a term used in the Dutch East Indies to apply to Europeans who had partial Asian ancestry.[12][13][14][15][16] The European ancestry of these people was predominantly Dutch, but also included Portuguese, British, French, Belgian, German and others.[17]

The term “Indo” is first recorded from 1898,[18] as an abbreviation of the Dutch term “Indo-Europeaan”. Other terms used at various times are Dutch IndonesiansEurasians,[19] Indo-EuropeansIndo-Dutch[12] and Dutch-Indos.[3][20][21][22][23]



  1. The primary definition of the word Indo is a person of INDONESIAN and

EUROPEAN ANCESTRY (any European nation). The term “Indo” is first

recorded from 1898, as an abbreviation of the Dutch term Indo-Europeaan.

2) A Dutch Indo or Indo Dutch SPECIFICALLY identifies an Indo with Dutch ancestry and/or nationality.


For example: a person with Indonesian and German ancestry is an Indo. IF

this person DOES NOT have Dutch nationality (citizenship) this person is a German Indo. IF this person DOES have Dutch Nationality (citizenship) they can claim to be both a Dutch Indo or a German Indo. (this paragraph to be updated in April 2024)


Regarding the word Indisch or Indischen, this word is of German Origin and refers to the Asian Indian community or nation (INDUS).

In the English language using the word Indisch or Indischen to denote Indos is incorrect because it refers to India in Asia. The word Indischen has been adopted by the Dutch to denote Indos in general. This is incorrect if used in the English language. (this paragraph to be updated in April 2024)

Europeans and Eurasians in Sumatra, early 20th century. Tropenmuseum, part of the National Museum of World Cultures.


There were few public signs of the Indo culture. The most visible public sign of Indo Culture is the yearly event Pasar Malam Besar (the Great Night Market) in The Hague that currently continues under the name Tong Tong Fair.[116]  The second largest gathering of Indo Dutch diaspora outside of the Netherlands is at the annual Holland Festival in Los Angeles, USA.

Tong Tong Fair - The Hague. Largets EurAsian Festival in the world. Copyright TongTongFair.

Culinary Heritage

If you are wondering what Indo Dutch Food is, you are not alone. Internationally, little is known about this exotic cuisine. Many people still refer to it as Indonesian food. Not entirely wrong when you consider it originated in the same geographical area known as Indonesia. There are actually differences between Indonesian and Indo Dutch cuisine, even though they are intertwined on many levels. As some would say about this relationship, “It’s complicated!” The cuisine originated in the former Dutch East Indies and lives on in the Indo Dutch diaspora. Read more HERE.

Indo culinary culture has made an enduring impact on Dutch society. There is no other place outside Indonesia with such an abundance of Indonesian food available.[117] Indos played a pivotal role in introducing both Indonesian cuisine and Indo fusion cuisine to the Netherlands, making it so popular that some consider it an integral part of Dutch cuisine.

To read more about Indo Dutch food culture, click here.

Many dishes that originated in the former Dutch East Indies  have become commonplace in the Netherlands: nasi goreng (fried rice), pisang goreng (fried bananas), lumpia goreng (fried spring rolls), bami (fried noodles), satay (grilled skewered meat), satay sauce (peanut sauce), and sambal ulek (chilli paste).[118] Most towns in the Netherlands will have an Indies or Indonesian restaurant and toko (shop). Even most Chinese restaurants have added Indonesian dishes to their menu such as babi panggang (roasted pork), and many now call themselves Chinese Indies Restaurants.[117]

Arts, music & literature

Indo influence in Dutch society is also reflected in the arts, i.e. music[119][120] and literature.

An important champion of Indo culture was the writer Tjalie Robinson (1911–1974), who co-founded the Tong Tong Fair.[121][122] Louis Couperus‘ Of Old People, the Things that Pass (Van oude mensen, de dingen die voorbij gaan, 1906) is a well-known example of an older Indies narrative. Maria Dermoût is known as a nostalgic Indies writer. Marion Bloem‘s postmemory work evolves around an artistic exploration of Indo identity and culture, which puts her in the tradition of the Indo spokesman Tjalie Robinson.[81][123]

Do you want to learn more by reading books? Here is a great list of English books on the history and culture of the Dutch East Indies.

Tjalie Robinson alias for Jan Boon - intellectual & writer


Indorock is a musical genre that originated in the 1950s in the Netherlands. It is a fusion of Indonesian and Western music, with roots in Kroncong (traditional Portuguese-Indonesian fusion music). The genre was invented by Indo repatriates in the Netherlands after Indonesian independence on August 17, 1945, and became popular especially in Germany. Indorock is one of the earliest forms of “Eurorock”.[1] Its influence on Dutch popular music was immense.[2]

The Tielman Brothers was the first Dutch-Indonesian band to successfully venture into the international music scene in the 1950s. They were one of the pioneers of rock and roll in The Netherlands, and are credited with releasing the first Dutch rock and roll single, Rock Little Baby of Mine in 1958. The band became famous in Europe for playing a kind of rock and roll later called Indorock, a fusion of Indonesian and Western music with roots in Kroncong. At the height of their career, in the 1950s and early 1960s, the band was hailed as one of the greatest live-acts in Europe.

Kroncong (pronounced “kronchong”; Indonesian: Keroncong, Dutch: Krontjong) is the name of a ukulele-like instrument and an Indonesian musical style that typically makes use of the kroncong (the sound chrong-chrong-chrongcomes from this instrument, so the music is called kroncong). A kroncong orchestra or ensemble traditionally consists of a flute, a violin, at least one, but usually a pair of kroncongs, a cello in pizzicato style, string bass in pizzicato style, and a vocalist. Kroncong originated as an adaptation of a Portuguese musical tradition, brought by sailors to Indonesian port cities in the 16th century. By the late 19th century, kroncong reached popular music status throughout the Indonesian archipelago.[1]

Tielman Brothers - Indo Rock. Copyright Zeroto180

Virtual Dutch East Indies – a peak in the Indo-European society

The Dutch East Indies was once the largest colony in the Kingdom of the Netherlands. A society that is still remembered by many who have come to the Netherlands. Dutch Indies people, residents of various islands in the archipelago, Moluccans and Dutch who have lived and worked there. They are memories that fade or discolour over the years. All these different personal memories and views make the history of the Dutch East Indies, recorded on The stories are written, in photo and image, in sound and as animation.

Virtual Dutch East Indies - Pelita Foundation NL

Indos in Indonesia

Experiences of Indos who remained in Indonesia after independence. Video is in Dutch language.

Indo in Indonesia is about the experiences of Indos (as they call themselves) who were born in the former Dutch East Indies or who then lived there and remained in Indonesia after independence. They are usually of mixed Asian-European descent and have had European upbringing. How was this education? Could they choose to stay or leave and why did they stay? How did they reshape their lives after independence? More than 300,000 people left the archipelago between 1946 and 1964. A significant portion of these were indos. Indos also continued to live in Indonesia. Precisely by staying, they also migrated: from the Dutch East Indies to Indonesia. Everything around them changed. Their stories can be found on this site, divided into five themes.

The word Indo

The word Indo is used in modern Indonesia as short for Indonesia(n). The terms Indo or Indo people (Orang Indo) are used to describe people who acknowledged to be of mixed Dutch and Indonesian descent (or East Indies, during Dutch colonial time). Indo is not the “right” short form of Indonesia as equivalent how United States is shortened to be “The U.S.” as explained in this oped.

More Links (English)