Paradigm Shift about Shared Heritage Cooperation

My preposition about :
Bilateral Shared Heritage Cooperation
Indonesia-The Netherlands

Heritage movement by community in Indonesia is relatively new. It started about the mid of 80’s in big cities in Java. Only at the end of the 90’s it is disseminated to other islands, mainly Sumatra and Sulawesi. The understanding about heritage itself began in a very limited definition mainly about built heritage which heavily influenced by the Dutch architectures in urban areas.

The heritage movement made a progress in 2004 when all non-government organizations established an umbrella organization, Indonesia Heritage Trust. It was continued with the launching of Indonesian Charter for Heritage Conservation which defined heritage and its broad understanding beyond built heritage. This charter became a foundation of heritage programs ever since.

As nature of a movement, there are a lot of initiatives have been launched and some executed into implementations over the years by different organizations. The main issue is how to provide a stable foundation for the heritage movement in Indonesia to enable itself with planned & longer term programs. A well planned and long term program will deliver a better result in term of outreach and sustainability.

Characteristic of most heritage organizations in Indonesia are :

As a personal initiative
Human resource : depend on individual supports as volunteers
Run as a part-time job and voluntary not for profit management
Mobilize and use of local resource
Affiliate with education institutions or professional associations
Lack of capacity to benefit from technology availability (advanced website, etc)
Mostly focus on built heritage
The nature of activities are short term and incidental
Multi-sector approaches : advocacy, awareness, documentation, action

And the challenges are :

Human resources (Heritage management as a profession)
Financial foundation (availability of Endowment Fund)
System support
Consistency of policies implementation
Improvement of regulations

Related to the bilateral cooperation with the Netherlands, the focus should be about shared heritage in both countries. Both countries mean that initiatives are not only executed in Indonesia as our common understanding so far, but also in the Netherlands as Indonesia has brought a lot of influence to the Netherlands as well in the past.

The imbalance understanding about shared heritage –as noticed merely as an initiative from the Dutch side- mainly triggered by lack of understanding that the word ‘shared’ consist of both sides. Indonesia should learn also about its heritage in the Netherlands but this facet so far is hardly covered. If this lack of understanding is not encountered then the result is there would be no sense of needs from the Indonesian side to preserve and conserve the shared heritage.

It takes a shift of paradigm about what shared heritage is to ensure that the bilateral cooperation reach more substantial aspects rather than accommodating incidental programs. The heritage infrastructure in the Netherlands is relatively more stable with institutional & financial supports from the government; on the other hand heritage infrastructure in Indonesia is still in premature stage. If we would like to conserve our shared heritage, it is considerable to have stable heritage infrastructure in both countries. That is why empowering heritage organizations in Indonesia should be one of the goal through the cooperation. In the long run, this empowerment effort would support intention to have a better understanding and practice about shared heritage. In short, two goals in this cooperation are two sides of a coin.

Two main goals :

Empowering infrastructure of heritage movement in Indonesia through capacity building in management and finance;
Paradigm shift about what shared heritage is and how to deal with it in both countries by:
Building understanding of shared heritage
Inventory of shared heritage both in Indonesia and the Netherlands

Tangible heritage
1. Architecture
2. Textile (for example : Batik Belanda)
3. Industrial heritage
4. Culinary

Intangible heritage
1. Linguistic (for example : Dutch influence in development of Bahasa Indonesia or vice versa)
2. Law (for example : influence on cultural heritage protection law)
3. Urban planning (for example : retracing Dutch footprints in Indonesian cities)



Training & internship about professional management of heritage organization. (Note : practice of ‘Erfgoed Huis’ in several provinces in NL is good example as place for interns. For community organizations, internship is more appropriate)
Providing financial scheme in form of endowment fund for BPPI with certain agreements to ensure accountability & outreach.
Expertise mobilization for projects in both countries.

Paradigm shift about shared heritage

Providing scheme for masters and doctoral studies about shared heritage both in Indonesia and the Netherlands in cooperation with education institutions. (Note : study scheme stimulates long term in-depth research and knowledge exchanges . The result can be published as books and other materials)
Publication of shared heritage series products in form of printed (e.g. books, postcards) and audio visual materials (e.g. DVD, CD) for tourism segment.
Youth exchange visits between both countries for high-school students.


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