In the past, Indonesia had been colonized by the Dutch for 350 years. Even after independence, the Dutch ambition to dominate our country continued until the end of December 1949 when they were forced to hand over sovereignty to Indonesia after the continuing war that greatly harmed the Dutch. Today, there are still many people in Indonesia who have descent and culture from the Netherlands, including me. My mother is Chinese but has Dutch ancestry. This descendant came from my grandfather who was a Dutch immigrant who had Chinese ethnicity. In my daily life, my beliefs and culture are a mixture of Javanese and Dutch. At my house, my mother and my aunt speak Dutch fluently, while my father, who is a Javanese Surabaya, is fluent in speaking Javanese. Some of the Dutch culture passed down from my grandfather can be seen in terms of food. My mother is very good at cooking dishes that have Dutch influences like brenebon and nastar and while we’re talking about cuisine, a lot of Indonesian dishes are actually influenced by Dutch cuisine. Semur, nastar and perkedel are among the many dishes influenced by Dutch cuisine. A unique fact that I also just learned is that bread with butter and meises are also comfort foods that originate from the Netherlands. At Christmas, I always hang out with my mother’s family. My mother’s family celebrates Christmas by cooking a variety of dishes that have a very strong Dutch nuance, not to mention that when they get together they always speak Dutch.
However, a number of questions have arisen in my mind, is this Dutch ethnicity now acceptable to Indonesians out there? Not necessarily! Some Indonesians still think that this Dutch culture is a colonial culture that should not be studied. Even though with the increasingly intense globalization, Indonesia is also affected by westernization which continues to erode some of the indigenous cultures of Indonesia. Dutch culture is actually important for our country, the letters of the alphabet and cursive that we use until now are “aksara Belanda” which in ancient times were an obligation for the natives to learn. While Dutch culture is stronger than my Javanese culture, that doesn’t make me forget the Indonesian cultures that are inherent in my family. During Eid, my mother is also good at cooking compulsory dishes such as chicken opor and ketupat. I myself am also much more fluent in Indonesian and Javanese than Dutch, which is spoken continuously by my mother’s family. However, I have to admit that the Dutch customs and culture in educating children, which are known to be very strict, have become an inseparable part of my childhood.
The point of all this? The culture brought by the Dutch to Indonesia is a culture that is no longer pure because some of these cultures have been mixed with ours. Even if seen with the naked eye, the customs and way of life of native Dutch people with Indonesians who have Dutch descent are very different. In the end, this Dutch upbringing and culture is an interesting culture even though the cultural stigma of this colonialist will still haunt this Dutch culture. The Dutch culture that’s accustomed for Indonesian will forever be the Remnants of The Past.
By: Ibrahim Mustafa