Exhibition marks 100 years of Indonesian Student Association in the Netherlands
The Indonesian Student Association in the Netherlands, ‘Perhimpunan Pelajar Indonesia Belanda’, has teamed up with the Indonesian embassy in The Hague and Historia.ID magazine to create an exhibition to mark the association’s 100th anniversary. The student association, which was founded in Leiden, played a significant role in Indonesia’s struggle for independence.
For the next three weeks (from 14 November to 2 December), you can visit the exhibition ‘100 years: the Indonesian Student Association’ in the Reception Room of the Academy Building. It focuses on the Indonesian Student Association in the Netherlands, which was founded in 1922 as Perhimpunan Indonesia. In 1950, the name was changed to Perhimpunan Pelajar Indonesia Belanda.
Struggle for independence
The student association played a critical role in Indonesia’s struggle for independence. For example, starting in 1925, they published the propagandist magazine Indonesia Merdeka (Free Indonesia, ed.) to unite Indonesians against Dutch colonial power. The magazine was not only distributed in the Netherlands but also smuggled into Indonesia.
The student association also was active in international meetings to promote solidarity between colonised peoples in Europe. For example, Mohammad Hatta (1902-1980), who later became the first vice president of the Republic of Indonesia (from 1945), represented the student body at the Anti-Imperialist League conference in Brussels. That conference aimed to bring together anti-colonial nationalists from the colonies with the European labour movement. The student association also took a stand against German fascism in the Second World War and was actively involved in the underground resistance movement.
The Indonesian Student Association in the Netherlands now mainly organises activities for Indonesian students in this country. They also actively promote Indonesia in the Netherlands by organising academic and cultural activities. Recently, the student association has created the tour 'Traces of Indonesia in Leiden' in cooperation with the Faculty of Humanities, LeidenGlobal and the KITLV. This tour passes sites which were important to Indonesian students who played a role in Indonesia’s struggle for independence.
Text: Sabine Waasdorp