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Book about villa in Bandung shows links between the Netherlands and Indonesia

A new book about Villa Isola in Indonesia reveals some of the shared history of the Netherlands and Indonesia. The book was presented on Thursday to Annetje Ottow, President of the Executive Board, and Mr Mayerfas, ambassador of the Republic of Indonesia in the Netherlands.

Villa Isola is an Art Deco villa in Bandung in Indonesia. It was built in around 1932 by the architect Charles Prosper Wolff Schoemaker as a residence for the rich newspaper magnate Dominique Willem Berretty. After Berretty’s death, the house had various other occupants and since 1954 has served as the headquarters of Universitas Pendidikan Indonesia when its name was changed to Bumi Siliwangi.

The book Villa Isola, Yang Bertahan Bersama Waktu – the building that survived the test of time by Rahmat Kurnia from the University of Bandung describes the lives of Wolff Schoemaker and Berretty and their legacy. Wolff Schoemaker went on to become one of the most important Dutch architects in the Dutch East Indies. After a short career as a journalist, Berretty founded the ANETA news agency, which played a major role in the news provision in the Dutch East Indies.

Kurnia was inspired for his book by the biography of Berretty by Gerard Termorshuizen and Coen van ’t Veer from the Faculty of Humanities at Leiden University and a study by Jan van Dullement on the life and work of Wolff Schoemaker. The book has become a document that expresses the shared history of Indonesia and the Netherlands. Moreover, its publishing comes at a time when it has been recognised that forgiveness, rapprochement and cooperation between Indonesia and the Netherlands are important values that connect both cultures.

Ottow and Mayerfas were presented with the book by Coen van ’t Veer (a lecturer at the Centre for the Arts in Society) and Jan Joanknecht (a clinical psychologist, entrepreneur and family member of Berretty). This shows the ties between the Netherlands and Indonesia and between Leiden University and Universitas Pendidikan Indonesia.

Photos: Monique Shaw

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