January 28th, 2018: Decolonial conversations: slavery in the Dutch East Indies

Time: 15:00-18:00
Location: Studio/K, Timorplein 62, 1094 CC Amsterdam

Slavery in the Dutch East Indies is a little-known aspect of Dutch colonial history. During this event Reggie Baay will speak to us about this forgotten history. How did slavery in ‘the East’ differ from slavery in ‘the West’? What was the role of the VOC? And what was the position of the njai (concubine) under Dutch colonial rule and during slavery?

Following Reggie Baay’s lecture we will have a public conversation with persons who consider themselves as having a diasporic relationship with the former Dutch East Indies. To what extent can we discern a critical decolonial perspective amongst Dutch East Indian diaspora? What does such a perspective entail? How can the history of slavery figure in a critical decolonial perspective on the Dutch East Indies and its contemporary legacy? Which terminology should be used, how do we evaluate monuments and street names referring to the period of colonisation, and how does one acknowledge the complex legacy of the coloniser, colonised and RNEI soldiers in one’s own family history? In what way can we assure the inclusion of this slavery history into the narratives put forward by the broader decolonial movement that has arisen in the Netherlands in recent times?

Main language: Dutch.

About the keynote speaker: Reggie Baay is specialised in colonial and postcolonial literature and history. He published various books on the Dutch East Indies, such as De Njai and Daar werd wat gruwelijks verricht. Currently he conducts research into the history of Dutch slavery in Asia.

Panel members: Surya Nahumury (Black under Oranje), Rochelle van Maanen (Decolonial Network former Dutch East Indies), Sarah Klerks (Indisch 3.0, Redmond Radio) and Michael van Zeijl (activist collective The Gray Century).

Spoken word: Phaidra Johannis (Poetic Falunku).

The entrance fee is based on suggested donations ranging from 3 euros for lower incomes, 5 euros for students and middle incomes and 7,50 euros for higher incomes. There is also a possibility for purchasing a combi-ticket with vegetarian & Indonesian food for 15 euro’s. All the donations will be used to cover the expenses made to realise this program. A limited number of places is reserved for people with no income. Should you wish to make use of this arrangement, please do not hesitate to send an email to

This event is part of Studio/K’s School of Critics programme, which consists of monthly workshops, discussions or film screenings on critical or little-known subjects. This discussion is organised by Mariska Jung together with Studio/K and supported by Keti Koti Maand, Histori Bersama, Decolonial Network former Dutch East Indies and BAMM.

Studio/K values to facilitate public debate on otherwise controversial themes, but does not necessarily share the opinions voiced by invited speakers or organizers.

October 19th, 2017: Decolonizing Dutch research

K.U.K.B. Chairman Jeffry Pondaag: “The Netherlands is known as a constitutional state,
in The Hague you have the international Court. I actually looked up to the Netherlands.
But not when you talk about what we experienced in Indonesia. It’s unbelievable. Justice is
very important for me but I don’t see justice, also not on the 14th during the kick-off event of
the research. … They succeeded… The Dutch government, the historians, the education system.
They succeeded in misleading the Dutch people. … What I want to emphasize: How could the
Netherlands think to have the right to claim an area 18,000 km away as their property? …
And where are the Dutch intellectuals?”



Francisca Pattipilohy: “I think it is much more important to research what colonialism
did to people. Not only what it did to the colonized, but also what it did to the colonizers.
I think when researching colonialism it will also help the colonizers. To become more
informed and have more understanding about the problems that we now have. Violence
is not the problem, violence is only the consequence of colonialism…”


Sandew Hira: “If the research is colonial, it is like a chicken, it can’t fly high…It can
only fly there… Then you ask the chicken: can you be an eagle, to fly high, can you be
‘decolonial?’ How can
you ask the chicken to be an eagle? So that’s why, to ask the
chicken (the colonial research to be decolonial) is an idiotic idea!”