On Sunday, 17 January, I joined a tour inside the Royal Tropical Institute (or KIT) in Amsterdam. I have been here many times and saw the name of Tjong A Fie and the Deli Maatschappij whom I am familiar with on the wall. They are with many others donated some money to build this building. Knowing that Tjong A Fie and the Deli Maatschappij played important roles in the history of Medan, North Sumatra, Indonesia, I felt a kind of proximity with this building. It gives a mixed feeling. Aftel all the distances, in this beautiful landmark of Amsterdam, I am surrounded by a legacy of Sumatra's history.

To quote from the website of the KIT :

KIT was founded in 1910 as the ‘Colonial Institute’ to study the tropics and to promote trade and industry in the (at that time) colonial territories of the Netherlands. It was founded on the initiative of a number of large companies, with government support, making it an early example of a public-private partnership.

Since 1926, KIT has been housed in a historic building at the edge of the Oosterpark specially designed by the architect J.J. van Nieukerken and his sons. The building is richly adorned with decorative features and symbols referring to different cultures of the world and the colonial history of the Netherlands.

This is the building of the Royal Tropical Institute, Amsterdam.

The main entrance hall.

Could you see the name of Tjong A Fie?

....and the Deli Maatschappij?

The room called "houtcabinet" means cupboards with example of woods from tropical countries.

Collections from Indonesia

Wall decoration displayed the Javaneses in traditional constume

Detail of ornaments in the main entrance hall

When the guide said that this elaborated light came from a mosque in Java,
that mixed feeling came again to the surface

A wall painting shows colaboration between the East and the West

Ceiling decoration in one of the meeting room

A lot and a lot word of "Indonesia" in the library


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