Panteia provides input for advice on strengthening knowledge about Dutch colonial history
On February 8, 2023, the Commission for ‘Enhancing knowledge about the history of the former Dutch Indies’ handed its advisory report to Maarten van Ooijen, the State Secretary of the Dutch Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport. The report, entitled ‘Share and Connect’ (in Dutch: ‘Deel en Verbind’) contains recommendations on how knowledge of the history of the former colony can be increased among the largest possible audience. Panteia carried out several assignments to provide input for the Commission and the realization of the report.
An estimated two million Dutch people are connected to the history of the former Dutch Indies, which became Indonesia after a fierce battle. This is a heterogeneous group with diverse experiences, memories and traumas that continue to this day. The complex history of these communities and the colonial past is a blind spot for many Dutch people. A previous consultation by Panteia among Dutch people with a connection to the former colony showed that these groups find the dissemination of knowledge necessary for understanding and recognition of their past and present. Therefore, on October 25, 2021, the Commission on ‘Strengthening Knowledge of the History of the Former Dutch Indies’ was established. The Commission, headed by former Minister Bussemaker, was charged with advising the central government on how knowledge about the history of the 'former Dutch Indies', in all its different perspectives, can be structurally increased within Dutch society.
To help the Commission with its advice, Panteia conducted research in 2022 on how to structurally increase attention for this theme within the heritage sector, how to involve heritage in a broad sense and how heritage institutions can strengthen each other around this theme. From the interviews with heritage institutions and experts, recommendations emerged about possible cooperation processes and policy measures. These recommendations formed input for the Commission's final report 'Share and Connect'. The Commission's recommendations include giving the history of the former Dutch Indies a prominent place in education, stimulating cooperation between heritage institutions and museums on this theme on a national and international level, and strengthening connections between heritage and education.
A year earlier, Panteia conducted research into educational offerings on the history of the former Dutch Indies, decolonization, and the arrival of people from the former colony to the Netherlands. The research highlighted forms of education taking place within and outside regular education, how these forms of education are being implemented, what content is highlighted and whether there are opportunities for improvement. The insights were the starting point for the Commission's work in the months that followed.
Since 2017, the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport has been pursuing a policy of ‘collective recognition’ of communities with a connection to the former Dutch Indies. Panteia is currently working on a reflection on this policy on behalf of the Dutch Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport.
The report 'Share and connect' of the Committee to Strengthen Knowledge of History of the Former Dutch East Indies can be consulted here.