Wednesday, September 04, 2013

THE WORLD HERITAGE PODIUM

Today, 4th September, the information centre of the Netherlands's World Heritage Sites (officially called World Heritage Podium) is open in Amsterdam, in the same building of the city archive, in the former headquarter of the Dutch Trade Company with three stunning statues of former Dutch Indies Governors on the top.

The Netherlands has eight cultural world heritage and one natural heritage. These nine sites are introduced to the public in attractive and interactive ways. We could pull huge poster of each site. There are laptops on the floors where we can sit and browse more detail information. A lot of books in the boxes. There are tangible stuff to touch, too, like muds from the Wadden Sea (the natural world heritage site). Or if we are interested in learning the organization of the World Heritage Sites nomination from the Netherlands, we could find information here as well.

I am impressed with this public education effort. But more important than that, I learn a lot from perseverance of the Dutch to nominate a lot of things of such a relatively small country. I found out that one nomination documents could weight more than 10 kg papers and years of collecting data and information. There are another 10 properties submitted as the Tentative Lists of World Heritage Nominations.

For more info and pictures about the World Heritage Podium :
http://www.werelderfgoed.nl/podium/english.html

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

BACK TO THE DUTCH-INDIES?

If you happen to be in Medan, Surabaya or Jakarta at the weekends, you could see a group of Indonesians wear the Dutch-Indies army uniforms, planter’s white suits, nationalist’s red & white head band and many more figures from the colonial past. They have also various props such as bamboo weapons and old style bicycles that are called “sepeda onthel”. They will gather listening to stories about what happened in the past, convoy around the city by bikes and simply enjoying themselves in a colonial atmosphere.

There are also historical tours without colonial costumes and old style bicycles. They visit places together and listen to historical facts about those places. These tours are organized by individuals who intend to spread historical concerns in a popular way, outside school classes and not merely about chronological years of events. This kind of tour attracts people from various backgrounds who do not mind to pay the tickets to listen to historical lessons.

The phenomenon has been growing quietly but widely since the last decade in several cities in Indonesia, mostly in Java and Sumatra. It is a new phenomenon for Indonesia as a country who has its independence only 68 years ago. But the number of groups who organize such an activity is relatively small compared to the country’s populations and limited in big city centres. It is still too early to call it as a significant movement. Probably more appropriate to see it as a result of better awareness about the historical past. It is a fruit of awareness campaigns that have been done by many heritage societies in local levels since mid 1980’s. Original main attention of the heritage societies is historical spaces in urban area and it is unavoidable to mention roles of the colonial power who has laid the foundation of the country’s infrastructure for about 350 years. Indonesians dig archives and files and all bring to the Dutch Indies periods. The better awareness, the more archives from the past are revealed. One of the side effects of this is the mimicking of Dutch Indies armies or riding old fashioned bicycles but those are not the essences of heritage movement of Indonesia.

The essences of heritage movement in Indonesia are to make Indonesians proud of their identity and culture, to raise awareness of their history and to maintain what good from the past, both indigenous and colonial. And all those essences are still a long battle for the Indonesians specifically for the heritage societies who lead the movement.

Public education efforts through historical tours or simulation plays with colonial costumes are part of the heritage movement and needed by certain segments of the populations. In countries where heritage movement are more developed, there are countless public education formats and methods for all segments of the populations. What we see in Indonesia is part of learning process to find suitable public education formats and methods. It could be temporarily, too, before new ideas and ways found by another generations.

The phenomenon is not unseen by heritage interests network in the Netherlands, the country who used to claim the Dutch Indies as their territory. Researches, exhibitions and discussions are initiated to understand why the Indonesians mimic the Dutch Indies armies? Why Indonesians collect the Dutch Indies props? Tropen Museum in Amsterdam organizes an exhibition called "Vroeger is een ver land"(The past is a far away country) that shows pictures of young Indonesians in the Dutch Indies era constumes. Other organization mentions “What is going on there?” to promote a discussion about the phenomenon with the Dutch experts on history and Indonesia. Some researchers also conducted interviews about it. There is a sense of curiousity in the air and it is intriguing to understand what is going on in that far away former colony country.

In one of the research interview appeared a question whether the Indonesians feel nostalgic about the Dutch Indies periods? Do they want to come back to the Dutch Indies periods? Such a question is tricky to be asked and more over to be presented to public without a thorough analysis and proper understanding of its contexts. When a Dutch researcher asked a young Indonesian such a question and happened to be answered “yes, I am longing to the Dutch Indies periods” it doesn’t mean the answer represents many others of the young Indonesians. Besides how could a young Indonesian who doesn’t experience the Dutch Indies periods feels nostalgic and is longing to it? It might be his imagination and knowledge about the past that fancy him.

On individual basis such a question is possible to ask and to keep it as personal information, but a little bit too early to use it as a barometer in public events such as exhibition or discussion. Probably the result on more representative samples from a research could be the barometer. Only then we will know as mentioned on the website of Tropen Museum about the exhibition, there are three possibilities why it happens : a nostalgic feeling, an awareness about history or it is merely an appearance without any meaning. #

Friday, September 23, 2011

Open Monument Day

Every second week of September is the Open Monument weekend in the Netherlands. In 2011 I have chosen Rotterdam to explore. First to Van Nelle Ontwerpfabriek, a former factory of tea, coffee and tobacco. Second, to Llyodkwartier or haven area of Rotterdam. Llyodkwartier is an amazing renewal project from the point of number of buildings, variations and approaches. It is too much to absorb in one afternoon, but I managed to visit four objects : two appartments in a former warehouse Sint Job, a house in a former office building and a hotel in a former electrical installation building.

I copied info on the Open Monument Day from their website www.openmonumentendag.nl

This year Open Monumentendag - the Dutch Heritage Day - celebrates its 25th anniversary. This anniversary year is marked with a contemporary theme: Reuse of Historic Buildings. The theme features historic buildings that have been given a new function, a new purpose, a new lease of life. In the weekend of 10 and 11 September 2011, many of these striking and distinctive buildings will open their doors to the public

At a time when the focus is turning to recycling and reuse, the theme Reuse of Historic Buildings has additional relevance. Relocation of production, disaffection with religion and new health and hygiene requirements are just some of the factors that have left many buildings standing empty. It concerns all types of buildings: rural heritage and office blocks, industrial heritage and housing, military heritage and public buildings, and of course religious heritage. Many of these historic buildings have long dominated their villages or towns. They are literally in the centre of town, a church for example, or they provided work for local residents for years. To give them a new purpose maintains the link with history and preserves these historic buildings.


Reuse of historic buildings is not something new. Over the centuries, new uses have been found for historical monuments such as weigh houses, warehouses, monasteries and forts after they lost their original purpose. The edifices themselves were preserved and in their new role they have added a new chapter to the story of the place, the neighbourhood or the town.

Reuse of historic buildings is a perfect complement to the 25th Open Monumentendag. The aim of the Open Monumentendag is to raise awareness and to increase people’s knowledge about the historical environment in which they live. The Open Monumentendag’s efforts have helped raise public appreciation for historical buildings and so the preservation, significance and reuse of these structures.


Over the years, Open Monumentendag has grown into one of the Netherlands’ largest cultural events. A noteworthy aspect is that the organisation has been supported by the same sponsor throughout these 25 years: Rabo Vastgoedgroep (Rabo Property Group). As our sponsor, Rabo Vastgoedgroep has helped foster a wider appreciation and awareness of the country’s historical monuments.


And enjoy some pictures from the tour.


VAN NELLE ONTWERPFABRIEK











SINT JOB APPARTMENT













Monday, September 05, 2011

EKS PABRIK PENGOLAHAN TIMAH DI ARNHEM

Belitung terkenal karena timahnya. Pada zaman Hindia-Belanda, tepatnya sejak 1860 didirikan NV Billiton Maatschappij, untuk mengeksplorasi timah dan hasilnya diekspor ke Belanda.

Di kota yang bernama Arnhem, Belanda, timah itu diolah dan diekspor ke berbagai negara. Produksi timah dari pabrik pengolahan yang bernama Hollandsche Metallurgische Bedrijven tersebut (lebih populer disebut "Billiton" atau "Pabrik Timah") memenuhi seperlima kebutuhan timah di dunia saat itu, sekitar tahun1940-an.

"Billiton" masih aktif hingga tahun 1984 namun dengan adanya krisis timah dan polusi lingkungan maka akhirnya perlahan-lahan produksinya menurun dan ditutup tahun 1994.


Sumber foto : Gelders Archief, Arnhem


Thursday, August 18, 2011

STREET FURNITURE OF ENKHUIZEN

Enkhuizen is an old port city in North Holland which was used to be based for the Dutch Indies Trading Company (VOC). More info on the city : www.vvvenkhuizen.nl (they have English version, too). But what I like when I visit a place is the street furniture. Here I took some pictures from Enkhuizen.











Tuesday, August 16, 2011

RUH BANGUNAN BERSEJARAH (2)

Menyambung diskusi tentang ruh bangunan bersejarah dengan menghidupkan berbagai aktivitas, prinsip yang sama juga berlaku untuk revitalisasi obyek-obyek bersejarah lain.


Bangunan atau bentuk fisik lain semata-mata adalah wadah. Yang kita ingin perkenalkan pada masyarakat adalah nilai-nilai sejarahnya. Caranya? Dengan melakukan aktivitas, bisa berupa simulasi aktivitas pada masa lalu atau aktivitas edukatif lain. Aktivitas ini semakin penting lagi jika kita memberi fungsi baru berupa museum pada bangunan bersejarah. Museum tanpa aktivitas adalah museum yang pasif dan bagi anak-anak cenderung tidak menarik.


Di bawah ini beberapa contoh aktivitas yang dilakukan di atas tram dan gerbong antik antara Hoorn dan Medemblik dan aktivitas yang dilakukan di Museum Bakeri di Medemblik.





Anak-anak khususnya melakukan simulasi kegiatan bagaimana pengangkutan barang di masa lalu dengan menggunakan gerbong kereta api.




Sukarelawan dengan kostum petugas pos giro yang melayani anak-anak di kantor pos di atas kereta api. Anak-anak dapat mengirim kartu pos dari sini.



Kotak surat di atas kereta api untuk pengiriman pos sungguhan bekerjasama dengan perusahaan pos dan giro.





Di Museum Bakeri anak-anak melihat demonstrasi pembuatan roti tradisional dan diperbolehkan membantu.




Anak-anak diberi kuis yang jawabannya mendorong mereka untuk melihat koleksi museum lebih detail dan membaca keterangannya.


Anak-anak juga dipersilakan mengikuti workshop mendekorasi kue.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

A TOUCH OF INDONESIA

As an Indonesian who lives in the Netherlands, sometimes I am amazed how much related these two countries until now. I can find a glimpse of it very often and everywhere like this poster in Utrecht. It is summarized as "Inspiring Indonesia..an exhibition of paintings and painted porceleins in Zeist by two Dutch artists."

BEAUTIFUL PIECES FROM AMSTERDAM



MASSA TOURISM?

When foreigners come to the Netherlands for the first time, they want to see icons of the country. Famous icons like,




Windmills.....

Clogs and how to make them by a Dutch young boy in a traditional custom....

....or a Dutch girl with a touch of traditionality.......



When millions of people want to do it then this need should be accomodated in an organized way. The Dutch know how to this. They lead the tourists to flow to Zaanse Schaan, a village about 20 kilometer outside Amsterdam, just 20 minutes by car without traffic jam. In this village, the tourists can see most of Dutch icons in one go: windmills, clogs making, cheese making by girls in traditional dresses, taking a short boat trip along canals, visiting museums, tasting the Dutch pancakes and don't forget, buying souvenirs, from diamonds to keyrings. There is one more specific about Zaanse Schaan, the tourists will smell chocolate all over the place (except inside the windmills and other buildings) because a chocolate factory is close to the village.



Buses by buses 'invade' this village especially in summer. But this village is practically open all seasons the whole year around as the man who operated the boat told me.



The tourists do not need to buy tickets. The only thing they pay is parking fee if they come by cars or buses. This is a smart approach in my opinion. It shows hospitality but also practically attract a lot of visitors and they will somehow spend money anyway, an indirect way to generate income for the village.



Massa tourism? Touristic? It is not for a tourist who look for something deeper. It is for a tourist who want to have a taste of Dutch icons in few hours. Wrong? Who are we to judge that massa tourism is wrong? There is a demand, there is a supply. It is not a place to discuss authenticity, it is a practical reason to welcome guests who come from all over the world and they don't bother about authenticity. Not everyone can afford authenticity.


Friday, July 29, 2011

PRISON AS A MUSEUM

This summer the sun doesn't come too often to the Netherlands, we have a lot of rainy and grey days. But luckily the Netherlands is a country with the highest density of museums. So it is perfect to visit museums on a rainy day. One of the most interesting museum for me is the Gevangenismuseum or the Prison Museum in Veenhuizen.


On 18 May 1975 the first Prison Museum in Veenhuizen was open and located in a concrete shed. This was possible because of a person named Standhart had passions to collect stuff and information. Thirty years later the National Prison Museum opened its door in a new location, a place where the prisoners were forced to work, a building from 1823, that was completely restored. Over the years the Museum becomes more professional and now has 24 staff, 90 volunteers and an active members organization. In 2007 this museum was chosen as the best historic museum of the Netherlands and in 2009 reached the highest record of visitors, around one hundred thousand people.


The Prison museum is all about criminality and misbehaviour and anything in between. "Sometimes a person ended up in the prison because of a bad luck, shit happens," the guide explained. But somehow this museum is succed to display unhappy stories in a acceptable way, not scary for common people and especially children. It is informative with statistic backups and a lot of lesson learned. For example is the section that shows creativity of prisoners in creating various type of means by using minimum materials, like a water heater from two spoons and a short cord.



This museum is not everything in Veenhuizen. They have also transformed buildings in the complex to be accomodation facilities, galleries, souvenir shops, coffee houses and large parking areas. Visitors can get into "prisoners bus" to have a tour to see whole complex. The general atmosphere is friendly and cozy. It is difficult to imagine how it looked like 30 years ago when public was not allowed to enter the area. All belongs to the Ministry of Justice and only if you worked for the prison, you may entered it.




The front part of the museum



Visitors may visit the former prison that has been empty for some time.


An isolation room

A simulation of a court in the museum

A lot of children visited this museum and they were kept busy by doing a quiz.



The accomodation facilities inside the prison area.


(Part of the text & picture: www.gevangenismuseum.nl)

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

RUH BANGUNAN BERSEJARAH

Pelestarian bangunan bersejarah di Indonesia identik dengan dana yang besar. Akibatnya, sedikit sekali bangunan bersejarah yang dilestarikan. Pertanyaannya apakah pelestarian memang selalu harus dimulai dengan perbaikan fisik yang memakan dana relatif besar? Jawabannya adalah tidak selalu harus demikian.

Perbaikan fisik pada tahap awal perlu dilakukan sebatas keamanan dan kenyamanan untuk memungkinkan dilakukannya berbagai aktivitas di dalam suatu gedung. Aktivitas itulah yang lebih perlu dipikirkan, didorong dan dilakukan secara terus menerus. Aktivitas itulah yang akan mengembalikan ruh sejarah suatu bangunan. Aktivitas itulah yang kembali mengingatkan mengapa kita ingin melestarikan suatu bangunan. Tanpa aktivitas yang terencana dan berkesinambungan maka pelestarian bangunan bersejarah hanya akan menjadi sebuah proyek, tanpa ruh dan tanpa rasa, sekalipun kelak kita mengubahnya menjadi sebuah museum.

Cara berpikir yang mengutamakan perbaikan fisik daripada aktivitas dalam konteks pelestarian bangunan bersejarah berkaitan dengan nilai dan konsep tentang keindahan dan kecantikan. Bangunan bersejarah yang indah dan cantik adalah yang dipoles mulus dan kelihatan baru. Kita tidak sadar bahwa lapisan-lapisan yang baru itu justru meniadakan sejarah suatu bangunan dan menghapuskan ruh yang dinafaskan melalui perjalanan waktu.

Mungkin sudah saatnya kita merubah pendekatan tentang pelestarian bangunan bersejarah dari kecantikan fisik kepada nilai-nilai yang lebih intrinsik. Pendekatan ini yang sekarang mulai banyak dilakukan di berbagai negara untuk mengatasi berbagai kendala finansial dan birokrasi.

Di sebuah kawasan industri di pelabuhan Rotterdam terdapat bangunan bernama HAKA. Gedung ini dibangun tahun 1932 sebagai kantor pusat koperasi pemasok bahan makanan seperti gandum, kopi dan semacamnya. Mereka menyediakan bahan makanan berkualitas dengan harga terjangkau untuk kepentingan masyarakat kelas pekerja. Arsiteknya adalah Hermann Friedrich Mertens (1885-1960). Kepercayaan diri dari gerakan koperasi di Belanda tercermin melalui bangunan ini yaitu bangunan pusaka industri (industrial heritage) tahun 1930-an dengan ornamen kaca patri yang indah yang secara heroik memperjuangkan hak-hak kaum pekerja.

Estrade/Vestia, perusahaan pengembang, merupakan pemilik bangunan HAKA. Setelah bertahun-tahun terlantar, Estrade/Vestia mengambil-alih bangunan ini bersama dengan Clean Tech Delta (asosiasi perusahaan yang mendorong teknologi ramah lingkungan) dan Stadshaven Rotterdam (lembaga pemerintah yang memfasilitasi peremajaan kawasan pelabuhan). Tetapi pemain utama yang mengembalikan nafas kehidupan pada gedung HAKA adalan Urban Breezz. Organisasi ini mengkhususkan dirinya dalam menghidupkan kembali bangunan-bangunan pusaka industri dan pusat-pusat kota yang sudah kehilangan masa jayanya. Caranya? Dengan berpikir dan bertindak radikal. Mereka tidak membuat ’masterplan’ dengan prosedur waktu yang panjang, melainkan ’planmaster’ yaitu segera mengeksploitasi bangunan dan mengisinya dengan berbagai kegiatan. Urban Breezz selalu memulai dengan gagasan yang ’kuat’ sehingga kelak menjadi ciri khas yang dikenal dan kemudian mulai merealisasikannya tahap demi tahap.

Kelak gedung HAKA menjadi pusat pengembangan teknologi air dan enerji yang ramah lingkungan, tetapi sementara impian tersebut masih berupa cita-cita, gedung HAKA dieksploitasi menjadi tempat resepsi, auditorium, ruang pameran, kantor dan ruang pertemuan. Eksploitasi itu dikerjakan bekerjasama dengan Kringloopcampus yaitu organisasi yang memperkerjakan orang-orang yang terpinggirkan (karena alasan kesehatan mental, sosial dan lain-lain) dan memanfaatkan barang-barang bekas. Hasilnya adalah kreativitas yang tidak memakan modal besar tapi menyegarkan jiwa.

Prinsip kerja mereka adalah mengolah barang-barang yang tidak terpakai lagi dari lingkungan sekitarnya, meminimalisir pengolahan teknis dan menyusunnya dalam bentuk baru dengan cara sesederhana mungkin. Ruang pertemuan disulap dari 24 pintu bekas, dinding pembatas dibuat dari tumpukan baju bekas dan podium dibuat dari tumpukan batubata tua. Restoran dibuat dengan memanfaatkan lemari-lemari kaca yang dibuang. Sementara di auditoriuam pembatas ruangan dengan akustik yang baik disulap dari 8.000 kilo tekstil bekas. Tekstil itu ditumpuk dengan permainan warna di atas sebilah papan dengan roda dibawahnya sehingga mudah dipindahkan.

Delian de Gier, penanggung jawab pemasaran dan komunikasi gedung HAKA, mengatakan bahwa interior gedung ini nyaris tidak memakan dana apapun. Semua bahan bekas diperoleh dengan cuma-cuma dan tenaga kerja tidak perlu dibayar karena menjadi bagian dari program reintegrasi orang-orang yang sulit mendapatkan pekerjaan.

Prinsip mengeksploitasi gedung bersejarah untuk berbagai kegiatan tanpa menunggu perbaikan fisik selesai seluruhnya dapat diterapkan dimana saja, termasuk di Indonesia. Yang hidup kembali bukan hanya gedung bersejarahnya, tetapi juga kawasan disekitarnya. Jika orang-orang berdatangan kembali dan melakukan berbagai kegiatan didalamnya, ruh sejarah akan hidup kembali dengan sendirinya. Tanpa banyak biaya, tanpa banyak prosedur, yang diperlukan hanyalah niat tulus dan semangat tinggi untuk melestarikan sejarah, bukan hanya fisiknya.#




Auditorium dengan furnitur dari kayu bekas.


Pembatas ruangan di ruang pertemuan yang sekaligus berfungsi untuk menggantung kertas hasil diskusi.


Ruangan yang tampak nyaman ini merupakan bagian dari gedung bersejarah HAKA yang hanya dibersihkan agar bisa dimanfaatkan sebagai ruang diskusi dan pertemuan. Pembatas ruangan adalah tumpukan baju bekas. Kursi dan meja dibuat dari kayu dan besi bekas.

(Foto: Remco Vermeulen)

Monday, February 07, 2011

FIGHTING THE AGE AND THE GRAFFITI

Amsterdam Southeast has metro service which has been in operation for about 30 years. The metro is rather old, but not only that. Graffiti is one of big problem. It makes the metro looks dirty. Cleaners have to work hard from time to time to clean up the graffiti. The new metro is said to come soon but before it comes there must be a solution to refresh the old metro and to combat the graffity.

The solution is to invite artists to put their designs as a kind of wallpapers inside the metro. Usually the designs are busy enough so hardly place for graffiti or has strong colours so even graffiti wouldn't be able to attract attention from the passegers. Smart solution!