Keep the Spirit High
From 4-10 Dec I accompanied two colleagues, Sita and Catrini, who visited the Netherlands. We are all from BPPI (Indonesia Heritage Trust.) It was always fun to get together with other members of the same 'habitat.'
5 December. First, we met with the Prince Claus Funds in their brand new office in Amsterdam. The PCF helped BPPI with funds related to the earthquakes in Yogyakarta and West Sumatra. It was a very friendly meeting.
Then we run to the second meeting in Erfgoed Nederland, had lunch with the representatives of the Indonesian Embassy, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Education, Culture & Science, the Institute of Netherlands Collections and Dept. of Conservation. Mainly it was about the new policy of the Dutch government related to the shared heritage cooperation with 8 prioritized countries. One of them is Indonesia.
The third meeting was with extra participants from Tropen Museum, Museum Maluku and PAC Consultants. We discussed more about shared heritage from various perspectives, but my attention went to Indonesian footprints in the Netherlands. So far it is always about the Dutch footprints in Indonesia which are mainly focused on built heritage. But actually it is also important to see it in reverse so both sides have the equal understanding about what shared heritage is.
The fourth meeting was only with the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and RACM. We discussed about possible cooperation with BPPI.
Then everybody must run to home for the 5 December tradition : gather with family, exchanging presents and poems. Catrini and Sita were invited by Elisabeth who served traditional Spanish dishes. I tried to enjoy and appreciate 'the 5 Dec madness party' at home.
6 December. Catrini went to Brugge. Sita and I (and her friend, Lia) joined Jean-Paul and Hans for heritage tour in Utrecht. This tour was about the reuse of old buildings for new functions. We visited the Dom church, the former court that used as a hotel, the Utrecht Archive office for tourist, a former school as houses, a former church used as apartments and the former police department as a cinema and cafe. We ended up the tour with an Indonesian dinner in the 'Djakarta Restaurant.' I went to Utrecht several times but hardly have idea how many interesting projects until this day. The city centre was very cozy, beautiful and in human scale.
7 December. We went to the Founding Conference of Blue Shield in the Royal Library in the Hague. Sita, Catrini and I are part of founding team of the Indonesian National Committee which is still under construction. To this day the active members of Blue Shield are European countries but I guess it will shift slowly to cover other continents, too. In the evening we finished our homework for presentation tomorrow. We got an accommodation in 'Hotel Sebel' which in Indonesian means nausea. We had a lot of fun with this name.
8 December. Three of us delivered a presentation about 'Heritage Emergency Response' in Indonesia post tsunami until the recent natural disaster. We called ourselves 'Three Musketeers.' It was fun and for the first time we presented together. After the presentation, Catrini and Sita managed to promote the silver jewelleries from Kotagede, Yogyakarta, and raised reasonable funds from the purchases. After the Conference, we had (again) Indonesia dinner in the famous 'Puntjak Restaurant' in the Hague.
9 December. Sita and Catrini joined the workshops but I stayed home to prepare a dinner for heritage invitees. Sita had to leave back to Indonesia this evening but Catrini joined the dinner. It was informal dinner but I noticed that mostly guests talked about work. When heritage freaks meet each other, what else to talk about? Besides, when we like it, it doesn't feel like work anymore.
10 December. I said to Catrini that today we would enjoyed ourselves and no meeting. She attended a conference in New Delhi, direct flew to the Netherlands for another conference, so she deserved a day off. We biked around Amsterdam Southeast and then visited Zaanse Schan. This is a touristic place specially created for tourists who want to see canals, Dutch houses, windmills, cheese making and Dutch wooden shoes making in one go. It was a long day but enjoyable. Catrini had to run to Schiphol this evening.
A lot more to share through this visit but substantially we struggled for the heritage movement in Indonesia in cooperation with the Netherlands. We explored possibilities, built networks, strengthening friendships and spending hours and hours for talks and discussions.