When the Indonesian Revolution was Exhibited in its Colonial Countries


The struggle of the Indonesian people for independence was immortalized in an exhibition held at the Rijkmuseum, the most popular museum in the Netherlands that once colonized Indonesia.

Rijksmuseum, located in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, is one of the most important, grandest and most popular museums of history and art, not only in the Netherlands but also in the world.

Various high-value works of art are in the museum’s collection, of course the most famous is the painting Nachtwacht , one of the works of Rembrandt.

This museum has become one of the icons of Dutch tourism, designed by the famous architect Pierre Cuypers around 1885. After during the pandemic the museums in the Netherlands were closed, but since the end of March 2022 the pandemic rules were lifted, finally this museum of history and art can be visited as before.

Even though I live in the city of Utrecht, every time I go to another city, I make time to visit the museum.

The atmosphere of the Indonesian revolution exhibition at the Rijksmuseum Photo: Ristiyanti Handayani/d’Traveler

This time I deliberately visited Amsterdam for the umpteenth time, with the main objective of visiting the Rijksmuseum, to enjoy an exhibition with the theme of the Indonesian Independence Revolution.

There is a special pride to see exhibitions about Indonesian history in this magnificent museum. The exhibition runs from February 11 to June 5, with an entrance ticket of 20€ or about 300 thousand rupiah per person.

I deliberately came on May 20, as a form of my appreciation for National Awakening Day.

ExhibitionExhibition of the Indonesian revolution Photo: Ristiyanti Handayani/d’Traveler

I browsed through the exhibition halls, while reminiscing about the history of the nation that I had studied. The exhibition displays various images and perspectives, from artists, politicians, diplomats, journalists and others, from the period 1945-1949.

The Indonesian Independence Revolution, is not only a physical struggle and diplomacy, but also the emergence of aspects of creativity and the energy of freedom, to realize the will of the nation and full sovereignty.

Exhibition of the Indonesian Revolution at the RijksmuseumExhibition of the Indonesian Revolution at the Rijksmuseum Photo: Ristiyanti Handayani/d’Traveler

We can see a variety of posters, paintings and photos of the struggle that stirred up the spirit of nationalism.

This exhibition is one form and other evidence of the official statement and acknowledgment of the Government of the Kingdom of the Netherlands on the Independence of the Indonesian people on August 17, 1945.

Although previously the Netherlands had insisted on only recognizing Indonesian sovereignty since the Round Table Conference (KMB) in 1949.

In the end, historical research is able to place events in the proper portion and value.

Hopefully the footsteps of the heroes, and the nation’s warriors, can be imitated by all components of the nation for future progress.

This article was written by Ristiyanti Handayani, an Indonesian Diaspora who lives in the Netherlands. The article has been modified as necessary by the editor.

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