Showing posts from 2018


It might be good to look back what I, on behalf of Heritage Hands On, have done in 2018. MUSEUM DEVELOPMENT IN INDONESIA In January went to Indonesia for an interception mission to prepare training programs in the period 2018-2020 in cooperation of Indonesia and the Netherlands. The first training was held 16-20 July in Yogyakarta and the second training 4-7 December in Jakarta. I am happy to get involved in this initiative. I always think that museum's collections in Indonesia are amazing with high values in many ways. Nevertheless, in many cities museums still need a make over to be attractive places to learn and to enjoy. Six trainings in three years period can not guarantee successful make overs but at least we start somewhere to begin.  Private museums in Indonesia are generally okay of presenting themselves to public. Some of them are even managed to be international class museums.  Public


I visited Banjarmasin, South of Kalimantan, 10-12 November 2018 to meet the Head of Tourism Development Unit of the Municipality, Mokhamad Khuzaimi or called Pak Jimmy. He is am enthusiast government officer who has a vision to develop Banjarmasin as a popular destination by developing its cultural and natural resources. I was be able to do this thank to invitation from my dear friend, Vera, a PhD candidate with research about landscape history of Banjarmasin.  Rivers are obvious natural resources of Banjarmasin with ladies on boats selling local fruits and traditional delicacies. At the city center, tourists can enjoy meals and snacks all day long at weekends. Pak Jimmy has only one headache, how to raise awareness of the locals to throw waste into bins. What a pity. The beautiful and wide river with pedestrian area were polluted by rubbish everywhere. Sometimes I don't understand why the locals (and in many other cities, too) think so difficult to throw their rubbish into a


Pan-Sumatra Network for Heritage Conservation (Pansumnet) is an informal network that existed since 1998. The members are more or less 14 heritage societies from all over Sumatra. There is no legal and formal  commitment, it is based on trust, friendship, volunterism and spirit of cooperation.  We had gatherings and trainings once a while, sometimes each year and there was a long gap, and we met again quite regularly. Nevertheless, many members play important role in their own areas to keep heritage movement alive and develop. The Pansumnet spirit that encouraged me to keep the network alive this year by organizing a workshop for students and a training for professionals themed Historic Urban Landscape (HUL), in Muntok, West Bangka, South of Sumatra. HUL is an approach that has been introduced by UNESCO since 2011 to shift paradgm from a single building conservation into a conservation of buildings with its surroundings. Take a look at landscape, nature, people and many more than


I revisited Penang 16-20 October 2018. The last time I was there about 18 years ago. Meanwhile Penang (and Melacca) have gained a status as World Heritage City. I had a privilege to stay in Sun Yat Sen Museum, 120 Lebuh Armenian, belong to Khoo Salma Nasution. She and her husband, Abdurrazaq Lubis, are old good friends of mine. The building used to be the Penang Branch of political party of Sun Yat Sen, the Father of Chinese Revolution in 1911 and later became the President of the country. It is a beautiful Chinese mansion with openings in the middle of the house, elaborated carvings and original indigo blue painting. I slept in one of the bedrooms at the second floor. In about four days I explored mostly the core zone of George Town. It looks almost completely new to me, more small private museums, more cute cafes and bistros and surely more tourist attractions like souvenir shops and boutiques. On the other hand, it has also plenty of local small businesses. They are


Taiping is one of the greenest city I saw in Southeast Asia. Large parts of the city are gardens with old trees. It was so comforting to walk along these gardens. I was here on Sunday, 20 October 2018, with Taufik, a local guide, and Law Siak Hong, former President of Perak Heritage Society. I wanted to observe Taiping as one of the former tin mining capitals in Malaysia. I was organizing workshop and training in Muntok, West Bangka, Indonesia, about how to develop Muntok as the former tin mining town. Observation of Taiping (and other former tin mining towns) will be useful and informative, not to compare each other but to get insights and various angles. In Taiping area, we visited the Perak Muzeum that showed nothing at all about tin mining history of the region, Kerian and Larut Dan Matang, a cute small town, and Kamunting areas.  Layers of history are relatively obvious in these places although new development such as houses and shopping malls press history deeper to


History is never been too far in all places in the world if we look for it but sometimes in same cases,  history comes so close to daily life, even when we do not look for it.  I biked in Amsterdam on a sunny Saturday last week and couldn't stand to stop in front of buildings with names of places in North Sumatra. Places where Deli Tobacco or Deli Tabak as the Dutch called it, grew and distributed to all over the world. It was a long time ago but in Amsterdam the traces of Deli Tabak is so vivid and present.  I used to live in North Sumatra, I used to translate a book about History of Deli Tabak and up to now fascinate with industrial heritage so these names are close to my heart. My imagination went to the tobacco plantations and processing places in Medan where I visited few years ago. The tobacco industry of Sumatra now is only a fraction what it used to be in the Dutch Indies period.  Deli Maatschappij, the tobacco enterprise, started its operation in 1869 with la


Last weekend, 28-30 September, was a Batak weekend for me.  I travelled to Germany with Sandra Niessen , a mix of Canadian-Dutch who wrote  "Legacy in Cloth: Batak Textile of Indonesia."   We visited IFICAH , International Foundation of Indonesian Culture and Asian Heritage in Hollenstedt. They organize an exhibition titled "Ahnenkult und Klingenkunst der Batak auf Nord-Sumatra" (Ancestor Cult and Batak Art of the Batak in North Sumatra).The hosts, Gunther and Daniela Heckmann received both of us with exceptional hospitality in their home-office-museum base. We stayed two evenings in their place and spent hours talking about Bataks.  On Saturday, Sandra and I went to Hamburg to meet Roberta (forgot to write down her family name), an Italian researcher about Batak manuscripts. You could imagine how much Sandra and Roberta went into discussions about Batak in all facet. It was fascinating to see the two spoken  Bahasa Indonesia and exchanging experience