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The Colonial History of the KITLV – 4min. video

Prof. Dr. Jan Breman on J.C. Baud (1789-1859), the founder of the KITLV:


Breman: “His interest to set up an Institute, which would collect information, intelligence on native law and customs was not meant to be a scholarly one. It was not for scholarly reasons that the Institute was set up. The designed ambit was to gather policy-relevant knowledge on the fabric of the native economy, society and culture. For the sake of keeping control over the occupied domain and its inhabitants. It aimed at alienating the Indonesian people from their own history and identity. Dutch rule should endure with the least possible friction in order to realize the highest economic profit. At minimal costs. This was the mission with which the KITLV was equipped

The collection of intelligence on native life and law had instrumental utility. And was meant to yield an annual budget (surplus), which would flow into the coffers of the metropolitan treasury.

Java had to remain, as Baud said it, the cork on which the Netherlands floats.”

This presentation was part of the seminar ‘Colonial Legacies Today: Indonesia and the Netherlands‘, May 18 2019