It might be good to look back what I, on behalf of Heritage Hands On, have done in 2018.



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 museums especially outside the Capital of Jakarta face many challenges: rigid regulations, inadequate human resources and lack of passions. The last one is abstract but serious. How to trigger passions from government officers who are responsible to manage museums?



I visited Temanggung three times in 2018, simply as a visitor. It is because I am very atrracted to environmental, social and cultural friendly programs of Spedagi initiated by a friend of mine, Singgih and his solid team. They have been restoring and conserving natural, social and cultural resources of villages through an icon of bamboo bicycle called Spedagi.

Desa Ngadiprono as a case study of the village revitalization is a true conservation project based on local traditions and potentials. In my eyes, Indonesia should adopt a conservation method as Spedagi did in Desa Ngadiprono. Conservation in Indonesia shoul go back to local natural, social and cultural resources and values. 

The result is amazing! Forthnightly Sunday Market that generates income for the locals. International conferences with thousand inspirations and follow-up actions. Down-to-earth style local homestays. A traditional opera group with local players.

There is no need to reflect too much to conservation in Western countries or neighbouring countries, too, just manage what we have locally. Singgih said something that stays in my heart: "If a community takes good care of their environment, other elements automatically will follow. Quality of environment is a good indicator." I must agree with him after I saw Desa Ngadiprono. It takes a lot of efforts and commitments for the locals to transform their village into what they have now. They started by taking care of their bamboo jungles and rivers. The transformation creates a village that is clean, comfortable, green, authentic and attractive. The rest follows. 



I am enthusiast to see World Heritage Cities and Sites. It might be triggered by a trend in Indonesia to nominate cities for that status from UNESCO. This year I went the World Heritage Cities of Cartagena, Cuenca, Quito and Penang to check out what they are and what they do. I visited some World Heritage Sites as well in South America (Bogota, Cartagena, Medellin, Cuenca, Quito), Asia (Indonesia, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Sri Lanka, Turkey, Malaysia, Singapore) and Europe (Greece, Belgium, Germany, Netherlands).

I think cities in Indonesia should not conserve their heritage for the status as World Heritage City. The status is a bonus. Cities in Indonesia should learn from Desa Ngadiprono I mentioned above. Conserve natural, social and cultural resources first and foremost for themselves, the local inhabitants, the residents. Tourists and status will come automatically to a city that is unique, authentic, clean, green and attractive. 

Other point is that a nomination takes high level of professionalism and a very good governance of all city's stakeholders with capacities for making and implementing long term plans. This should be a challenge for cities in Indonesia.



My colleagues from iDiscover Asia invited me to join forces to produce heritage trails of Colombo, Sri Lanka in 2017. This year, November 2018, finally we delivered four maps and applications of historic neighborhoods: Slave Island, Cinnamon Garden, Pettah and Colombo Fort. 

The best thing of this project was that we learned to know and to work together with young, energetic, idealist and capable local Sri Lankans based in Colombo.



I tried to promote industrial heritage in Indonesia since many industrial infrastructures are now more than 100 years old. There are few conservation efforts but they are relatively limited compared to what Indonesia has. 

What I have done is promoting industrial heritage sites in Sawahlunto (2015) and Muntok (2018) through publications, conferences and trainings. I also encouraged Indonesians to join the establishment of ANIH, Asian Network of Industrial Heritage in Taichung, Taiwan, in May 2018. There was a delegation from Sumatra Heritage Trust because they were the only one who responded to the invitation. Other parties were too busy or had other priority. 

I also did researches on history of some industries in Indonesia: tobacco, sugar, coal and tin. I shared the results through articles and papers. I will continue my research to other type of industries and will organize programs to keep promoting industrial heritage in Indonesia.



The approach of HUL is introduced by UNESCO in 2011 and widely applied in the world. Indonesia is in a stage to get to know about the approach. Many parties, especially government agencies responsible for heritage conservation, organize trainings, seminars and events to introduce the HUL approach.

The approach is basically a conservation paradigm that values environment and surrounding areas instead of focus only to one single historical building. This new paradigm fits Indonesia very well since heritage movements in the country has been going through significant period in the last three decades. Indonesia has revised monument acts, certified heritage professionals, integrated heritage into national programs and many more positive actions.

For the gathering of heritage societies in Sumatra in 2018 we also decided to introduce the HUL approach to participants. Luckily, it was supported by many parties including UNESCO Jakarta Office. It was also associated with theme of industrial heritage since the venue was Muntok, a former tin mining town in West Bangka and the main sponsor was the state-owned company PT Timah Tbk.

The HUL Workshop and Training in Muntok last November led to many inquiries to organize a series of other HUL events in Indonesia in the coming years. 



For the first time I visited Kalimantan, the city of Banjarmasin in South Kalimantan to be precised. I met the Mayor, Ibnu Sina, and hosted by the Head of Tourism Development Division, Mokhamad Khuzaimi. The intention was to learn about tourism potentials of Banjarmasin.

This city is called City of Thousand Rivers and only in a short visit I couldn't agree more to that title. Coming from Amsterdam, I see clearly how water can contribute to city development and daily life of the locals. The truth is: rivers in Banjarmasin need more maintenance and caring hands. Simply starts from cleaning the city and the rivers, surely tourism sector will grow. Banjarmasin has all ingredients as a vacation destination, both short and long vacations. Nature, culture and history, all are there. 

I will be back to Banjarmasin. It is probably not only for tourism development but more to focus on my core business: heritage. To be continued. 


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