Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Shared Heritage Reception

On Thursday, 25Th September 2008 I was invited to attend a "Shared Heritage Reception" in the Ministry for Education, Culture and Science in the Hague.

The Dutch Government has a new policy about international co operations with its ex-colonies, one of them is Indonesia, and they wanted to socialize this new policy. The main thing is about allocation of budget which now distributes through the Embassies in the partner countries.

I met the Indonesian delegation from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the Indonesian Embassy. We were together most of the time simply because there were a lot to catch up. But some people came to talk to us, too, and we had good laughs and conversations. We even thought about a join cooperation for a very interesting project with one of the Dutch partner.

In this sort of occasion I thought how small the heritage network is. I met the people and I encountered the names which are very familiar already in the network for years. One or two new names but mostly are the old boys and girls. On one side this gives comfort, on another side sometimes I wonder why heritage doesn't attract a lot of people like other professions. I am sure the gathering of doctors, architects or lawyers will be well attended by hundred or even thousand audiences. Heritage is really a nucleus.

During the conversation, came up the question what is the meaning of shared heritage for the ex-colonies. The term is proposed and based on the needs of the Netherlands. It is interesting to know and learn what the partner countries proposal and needs of their heritage. Are they willing to share, too?

After the reception, I went to dinner with Cor Passhier and Pak Gatot from Indonesia. We wanted to find an Indonesian restaurant but ended up in an Italian restaurant who provided Indonesian soup (soto) and rice. What an idea.

Erfgoed a la Carte

Part of my involvement in heritage education, I have attended the Closing Conference of Erfgoed a la Carte (erfgoed = heritage), in Spoorwegmuseum (Railway Museum), Utrecht, 24th Sept 2008. I have written the report in Indonesian because I sent it to my Indonesian network.
Rabu, 24 September 2008, saya menghadiri penutupan Program "Erfgoed a la Carte" yang kalau diterjemahkan secara harafiah berarti "Prasmanan Pusaka", lokasinya di Museum Kereta Api, Utrecht.
Prasmanan Pusaka adalah program stimulasi edukasi pusaka untuk sekolah dasar yang dilaksanakan antara 2004-2008 oleh 15 organisasi di Belanda, terdiri dari institusi pendidikan dan organisasi pusaka. Pimpinan proyeknya Cees Hageman yang sudah kita kenal dengan baik. Tujuan utama proyek ini adalah untuk merangsang agar edukasi pusaka dapat diintegrasikan kedalam kurikulum sekolah dasar dan juga kehidupan sehari-hari siswa. Caranya adalah melalui kerjasama antara sekolah-sekolah dasar dengan berbagai organisasi heritage yaitu museum, arsip, arkeologi, monumen dan perpustakaan.

Penerjemahan programnya dilakukan di lingkungan yang terdekat dengan lokasi sekolah, antara lain sebagai contoh :

Kunjungan ke Organisasi Pusaka
1 dan 2 Kegiatan di alam terbuka, kebun atau taman bersejarah
3 Museum berskala kecil
4 Perpustakaan atau arsip
5 Arkeologi atau urban arkeolog
6 Museum berskala besar
7 Pusaka industri
8 Pusaka bergerak

Subsidi diberikan oleh Pemerintah Belanda per siswa sejumlah 10.90 euro.

Setelah 4 tahun dilaksanakan, Prasmanan Pusaka ditutup dengan acara diskusi dan evaluasi. Hal-hal yang menarik untuk diperhatikan antara lain :

1. Ketika Prasmanan Pusaka dimulai dianggap "tidak penting" oleh beberapa sekolah karena skala penyelenggaraannya yang terbatas dan oleh organisasi pusaka yang relatif kecil;
2. Namun Prasmana Pusaka kemudian memberi wacana untuk kaitan antara pendidikan, kebudayaan dan pusaka;
3. Sebagai perpanjangan kebijakan Pemerintah Belanda yang memberikan subsidi 15 euro per siswa untuk edukasi budaya dalam bentuk kartu yang dapat digunakan untuk mengunjungi museum, teater, dll, secara gratis;
4. Sebetulnya pusaka itu berfungsi sebagai alat atau tujuan?
5. Materi yang baik sangat penting karena dapat digunakan dalam jangka panjang;
6. Prasmanan Pusaka berjalan lebih baik dan lancar di kota-kota kecil; sedangkan di kota besar seperti Amsterdam relatif lebih banyak menghadapi kendala;
7. Hal yang perlu diperhatikan adalah pengembangan materi pelajaran dan struktur kerjasama antarorganisasi;
8. Sebagai tindaklanjut akan dibentuk forum ahli terdiri dari orang-orang yang terlibat dalam Prasmanan Pusaka.

Acara penutupan juga diisi dengan tur keliling museum dan pameran tentang berbagai materi edukasi pusaka.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Sad Story

In 2003 Sumatra Heritage Trust received the UNESCO Asia Pacific Heritage Award of Merit for its project to refurbish a historical bridge "Tjong Yong Hian" in Kampung Madras, Medan, Indonesia. More info about this can be seen through http://www.unescobkk.org/index.php?id=2185

One specific thing I was proud of this project is the historical sign that has been designed by volunteer Soewandi so nicely and placed next to the bridge. Every pedestrian can read the text and photo in English and Indonesian. This was part of public education and promotion of the historical value of the bridge.

When I was in Indonesia this year I was told that the historical sign has been stolen. Disappeared. I was stunned. The most shocking news from Medan. I knew that economic life is getting more difficult but it is unthinkable that someone would steal the sign, the metal part to be cut in pieces and sold for almost nothing. I am sure that whatever rupiahs the stealer has earned is not equal with the value of the sign for public.

I was sad and concern.


Being an Indonesian in the Netherlands I am amazed to how much I am exposed to the word "Indonesia" or "the Dutch Indies" from time to time. It is true that the Dutch has settled about 350 years in Indonesia but Indonesia has been independent since 1945. Apparently 63 years are relatively short to get rid of what has happened between the two nations.

A small example. I have chosen a small book titled "Laatste Schooldag" (the Last School Day) by Jan Siebelink because I want to learn about school life in the Netherlands. And all of sudden in one part of the book appeared a story about gold mining of Sumatra.

Other story. Last Sunday I joined a tour to Fort of Abcoude. The guide told a long story and suddenly mentioned that the Fort has been used as an exercise place for armies who went to the Dutch Indies in the 50's.

Several months back I went to a jail museum in Drenthe Province. All participants biked, lunched, walked and during the talk I found out that the former hospital was for the malaria patients who went back from Indonesia.

I could go on and on with thousand examples. The point is every time I am exposed to stories and words of Indonesia I feel so close historically to the Netherlands, it almost feel like a home. I doesn't mean I agree with what they have done in Indonesia, but history is part of our current life, whether or not we like it. To some degree it reflects on many facet of daily life. Probably a Dutch person will feel the same feeling if he/she is in Indonesia and to see how much Dutch elements in the Indonesian life.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Open Monumentendag

The Open Monumentendag (Heritage Days) is designed to bring people into contact with the historic environment, and to encourage interest in and understanding of historical monuments and the need for their preservation. During the Open Monumentendag - every second weekend of September - thousands of historical buildings and sites (about 4,000) are open to the public free of charge. Besides opening their doors, many locations also organise on-site activities like exhibitions, music and guided tours. Each year around 80 to 85 percent of Dutch municipalities participate in the Open Monumentendag, organised by local committees. In recent years around 900,000 visitors have participated annually, making the Open Monumentendag one of the Netherlands' premier cultural events.

The Open Monumentendag in the Netherlands started in 1987 and is co-ordinated nationally by the Stichting Open Monumentendag, which has its office in Amsterdam. The Open Monumentendag is part of an international organisation, the European Heritage Days. The Netherlands was one of the first countries to participate and played a key-role in establishing this Europe-wide phenomenon in the 1990s. Today 48 countries are affiliated with the European Heritage Days, which attracts around 20 million visitors every September and October, all keen to explore Europe’s cultural heritage.

Open Monumentendag has established itself as an integral part of the Dutch cultural calendar and has helped significantly in rallying support for the preservation of historical monuments in the Netherlands.

Theme 2008: Traces
Traces: Archaeology and History of Building

In 2008, the European Heritage Day in the Netherlands in the weekend of 13 and 14 September is about Traces. All kinds of traces: in the landscape, in cities and villages, and in historical monuments. As a theme, Traces provides ample space for archaeology and history of building. These are subjects that receive considerable attention in the Netherlands. Archaeology in particular thanks to the 2007 law regarding preservation and care of archaeological sites, which specifically defines and regulates protection for all subterranean historical monuments. While research into the structural history of buildings plays an increasingly important role in the conservation of historical monuments.Wide Assortment
Nearly all the country’s 350 participating local committees have adopted the theme, resulting in a wide range of open monuments and activities. Among the features this year are landscape elements such as barrows, burial mounds, raised villages, and walled castles; in the cities and villages the focus is on church aisles, street plans, advertising on walls and plaques. Traces inside historical monuments also plays its part, traces such as ancient beams, floors and other architectural elements, as well as old wallpaper, murals and upholstery. Traces includes any remains or reference to what used to be. Traces may point to occupation, construction or the struggle to control the water and protect the land. (resource : http://www.openmonumentendag.nl/)