Being ‘European’ in Colonial Indonesia: Collectors and Collections between Yogyakarta, Berlin, Dresden and Vienna in the Late Nineteenth Century

Caroline Drieënhuizen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


In this article, I use the trajectories and meanings of objects in the collectionsof two Eurasian men, George Lodewijk (‘Louis’) Weijnschenk (1847-1919) andJacob Anthonie Dieduksman (1832-1901), to illustrate how juridically registered‘Europeans’ in the Dutch colony of Indonesia used objects to negotiate theiridentities, their ‘Europeanness’ and hence their social status in the late nineteenthcentury. In response to the general increased demand to be socially and culturallyEuropean in colonial Indonesia, these men took advantage of both the growingenthusiasm among museums throughout Europe to obtain ethnographic artifacts,and of the European practice of collecting as a bourgeois pastime, to demonstratetheir ‘Europeanness’. By collecting and donating objects to European museums,they were able to widen their social networks, gain economic capital and performtheir belonging to Europe, their unique knowledge and their cultural enterprises.These two micro-histories show the interconnectedness of countries, people andidentities across European empires in both Asia and Europe in which demands andopportunities interacted, and reveal how colonial knowledge, violence, hierarchiesand indigenous agency were an integral part of European history, culture andmuseum collections.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21-46
Number of pages26
JournalBijdragen en Mededelingen Betreffende de Geschiedenis der Nederlanden
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2019

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