Amsterdam’s New Church to exhibit goods looted from Indonesia

The New Church in Amsterdam will display items looted from Indonesia in October, the church and the National Archives have confirmed. The exhibits include items from the NEFIS archives, which earlier this month a parliamentary majority called on the government to return to Indonesia.

The NEFIS archive is the most controversial Indonesian archive in the Netherlands.much of it was looted during the war Indonesian War of Independence (1945-1949).

How the Netherlands should deal with looted art and property has been debated for years. In January 2021, the cabinet promised to return looted art and research objects to former colonies upon request. Indonesia submitted such a request in October. However, the promise only covered museum collections, not loot in state archives.

The Cabinet asked the Cultural Council for advice on the handling of loot in the archives. The advice is scheduled for October, when the Big Indonesia exhibition opens at the New Church.

The National Archives confirmed to that the exhibition “can be painful” for those involved and surviving loved ones. Archives Director Aferon Dooku said the Archives has communicated these considerations to the New Church and that it is the exhibitor’s responsibility to ensure that items are displayed appropriately and responsibly.

He added that the National Archives has agreed with the New Church that the loan may be canceled if the Cultural Council recommends against it.

The New Church has promised to thoroughly research the background of all requested archival works in advance. A spokesperson said that if it turns out to be too much luggage, it will not be included in the exhibit.

But experts are still critical of the move, according to

“This is bad,” Rochelle van Manen of the Decolonization Network, a network of people with Indonesian roots, told the newspaper. “At this point, the debate is still going on. Is it right to put looted property on display in favor of the rightful owner?”

Postcolonial researcher Yvette Coppin called the exhibit crazy. “Exhibitions should learn from past exhibitions.” Events around Revorsi. The New Church should take responsibility. “ Amsterdam’s New Church to exhibit goods looted from Indonesia

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