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Mongesch CIHC

Leerlingen van een Chinese school, datum en plaats onbekend, collectie KITLV
Chinese Indonesian Heritage Center (CIHC) 
Time period: 1920-2017
Number of interviews: 39
Accessibility: The collection is of limited public use. Requests for use can be sent to Special Collections:
Period of interviews: 2013-2017
Medium: Digital audio files (streaming via Digital Collections Leiden University Library)

The Chinese Indonesian Heritage Center (CIHC) was founded in 2011 with the goal of preserving the cultural heritage of Indonesian Chinese in the Netherlands and recording and promoting knowledge of their (migration) history. Since 2016, the CIHC has been an independent foundation. In 2012, the Oral History project started in collaboration with the KITLV. The main questions were: What kind of life did the interviewee have.
What was the motive for leaving Indonesia and (eventually) going to the Netherlands? How do you look back on that decision within the larger context of your life journey? How do you look back on your life after your migration?

The interviews focus on events and experiences in the years 1920 – 2017.
They primarily discuss Indonesia, the Netherlands and occasionally Suriname and China.
Themes include personal background, World War II/Japanese era, Indonesian revolution,
anti-Chinese living environment and violence 1960s, education and student days, traumas, migration


The Oral History (Mongesch) project aims to record life stories of Chinese people who migrated to the Netherlands from Indonesia. It was created in collaboration with the Royal Institute of Language, Land and Ethnology (KITLV).

Between 2013 and 2017, the CIHC’s Mongesch team found 39 individuals -22 men and 17 women- willing to be interviewed. It resulted in a collection of 110 hours of audio material.

The interviewees come from different professional sectors and are mostly well educated. Most of the participants came to the Netherlands after 1960. The others came mostly between 1945 and 1950.

The vast majority of the interviewees are over 70 years of age at the time of the interview so the life stories collected span a long period of time. Stories can be heard from the last decades of the Dutch colonial era to the early years of President Suharto’s government. As a whole, the collection provides a picture of the various circumstances that led to emigration from Indonesia.

The collection of interviews was transferred to Leiden University Libraries in October 2019 as “Oral History Archive CIHC.

In November 2020, the archive was made digitally accessible by the University Libraries Leiden (CIHC Oral History Archive). Due to privacy regulations, the archive can be accessed for research purposes only upon request.

With the transfer of the collection of interviews to the Leiden University Libraries, the first phase of the Mongesch project has been completed.

Not all aspects in the history of the Chinese from Indonesia have yet been recorded in the first phase of the project. The CIHC would therefore like to add to the Mongesch collection. The possibilities and feasibility of a follow-up project are being investigated.

Chinezen uit Indonesië: de geschiedenis van een minderheid.

Tjiook-Liem, P.

Walburg Pers (2022)
Koninklijk Instituut voor Taal, Land en Volkenkunde (KITLV) & Universitaire Bibliotheken Leiden (UBL).
ISBN: 9789462499867



For the economic goals of the VOC and the colonial government in the Indonesian archipelago, the Chinese were indispensable from the beginning. Their role in the economy remained important through the centuries. After the Chinese gained equality in the colony at the beginning of the 20th century and legal regulations discriminating against them were removed, they had to fight for their rights again in the Indonesian Republic. It proved an arduous process fraught with tensions surrounding issues of culture, ethnicity and nationality. …

Patricia Tjiook-Liem takes the reader through the main periods in this hitherto underexposed history and shows the struggle of the Chinese in and out of Indonesia.


The Chinese from Indonesia in the Netherlands and their heritage -Patricia Tjiook-Liem



Between ideology and experience – Maya H.T. Liem and Ing Lwan Taga-Tan

DOI: 10.17510/wacana.v18i1.584—online-tentoonstelling