Mongesch CIHC

Leerlingen van een Chinese school, datum en plaats onbekend, collectie KITLV

Title: Oral History CIHC Archives

Time period: 1920-2017

Owner and/or organization: Chinese Indonesian Heritage Center (CIHC).

Period of interviews: 2013-2017

Number of interviews: 39

Accessibility: limited public



Elaboration: 10-minute summaries with basic information on places of residence, family composition, education and occupation

Audio medium: Digital audio files (streaming via Digital Collections Leiden University Library)


Management: Digital Collections Leiden University Library
Access: The collection is of limited public use. Requests for use can be sent to Special Collections:

Preservation: The collection is digitized and permanently stored in an e-depot.

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


Metises of Belgium


Number of interviews: 3

Source material: VRT archive to be viewed on location

Accessibility: by appointment via

Conditions: see website


Metadata to be accessed via meemoo:

The harrowing story of the children of Belgian colonials and African mothers who were placed in foster homes in Belgium in the late 1950s.

Exactly 60 years after the independence of Rwanda and Burundi, the three-part documentary series Metissen van België tells the staggering history of more than 300 metis from the Belgian colonial period in Rwanda. The makers of the series do so through the life stories of three of them: Jaak, Paul and Jacqueline.

As illegitimate children of a white father and a black mother, they were taken away from their mother by the Belgian government and placed in Save’s boarding school in Rwanda. Just before independence, they had to leave there too and were rushed to Belgium.

There, uprooted and traumatized, they ended up in an adoptive family or an orphanage. These were events that marked the rest of their lives. Only in 2015 did they get access to their official files and were able to search for their roots.


press release

Children of the colony


Number of interviews: 20


Source material: VRT archive to be viewed on location

Access: by appointment via

Conditions: See WEBSITE


Metadata to be accessed via meemoo:

In 1960, Congo gained its independence after a brief political struggle. For Belgium, it was the end of more than 75 years of presence in the central African country. For the six-part series Children of the Colony, twenty witnesses were interviewed about that period.

For the first time, Flemish television is also allowing the Congolese voice to speak extensively in the process, always paying attention to its relevance today.

6-delige documentaire


Author : Jan Raymaekers
ISBN : 9789463104128
Publisher : Pelckmans


In 1960, Congo gained its independence after a brief political struggle. For Belgium, it was the end of more than 75 years of presence in the central African country. In the six-part series Children of the Colony, twenty witnesses look back on that period and how the colonial legacy shaped their lives. For the first time, Flemish television also allows the Congolese voice to speak at length in the process, always paying attention to its relevance today.


People who lived through it from close by talk about colonial and post-colonial Congo. In the sixth episode, six Congo experts delve deeper into the post-colonial image and unravel truths and myths about Belgian Congo.


The episodes are online in Belgium on


Canvas presents: Kinderen van de kolonie



Tabee New Guinea

tabee nieuw-guinea


Number of interviews: 33

Not currently accessible via the website


Relatively little is known about the history of the (Indo-)Europeans and Papuans in former Dutch New Guinea. This is in contrast to the situation regarding the period after Sukarno’s proclamation of the Republik Indonesia (17 August 1945), which led to Indonesian independence. Tabee New Guinea changes this by recording personal experiences and presenting them for the general public. 



The aim of the Tabee New Guinea project is to present and document testimonies of New Guinea residents and Papuans about the eventful period around the end of Dutch rule in October 1962. The focus is on the period surrounding the transfer of sovereignty of New Guinea to the United Nations (UNTEA) on 1 October 1962. 



The Be-wonder Foundation started preparations for the Tabee New Guinea project in late 2019 and interviewing 33 people who experienced this period. Betsy Torenbos and Paul Pattynama visited the 33 interviewees’ homes. Betsy Torenbos, as an oral history expert, conducted the in-depth interviews and Paul Pattynama asked additional questions. People living scattered across the country were interviewed in their homes. The interviews, which were recorded on video and audio, lasted an average of three hours.

The video installation is a picture and sound world based on 33 interviews and was created by TeZ and Betsy Torenbos. With a valid entrance ticket to the Indisch Remembrance Centre, you can visit the installation for free. 


In the docu-theatre “Reconciliation?”, a number of interviewees, improvising composer Oscar Jan Hoogland and performer Betsy Torenbos together with singer Eef Mamoribo and Raki Ap are on stage, in the setting of the 33 interviews. Unique docu-theatre about the eventful period surrounding the Netherlands’ departure from New Guinea. What does it do to you if you have to flee once, twice or even three times? Can a person reconcile with this? And with whom?


The symposia explore underlying themes and place the interviews in a different context and relate them to current events.

Former Belgian colonists


Number of interviews: 21

fra: 19

onbekend: 2

Transcriptions: no

Original carriers: audiotapes, audiocassettes and minidiscs

Current files: mp3; wav; flac

Accessibility: in the reading room

Obligatory registration as reader of the General State Archives and State Archives in the Provinces.

Florence Gillet holds a master’s degree in History and a master’s degree in Information and Communication Sciences and Technologies from the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB). She specialises in Belgian colonial propaganda in the United States during the Second World War, and André Cauvin’s films in particular. Between 2004 and 2007, she worked on the social memory of former Belgian colonists for CegeSoma. It is in this context that she has carried out a series of interviews with former colonists, while also heading CegeSoma’s “Images and Sounds” archives. She has also been in charge of the Centre’s digitisation sector since 2016.

Hussars of Boreel



Realisation project:

B. v. Waveren, Sitefilms ©


Timeframe: 1948-1949
Location: Indonesia
Number of interviews: 7


Thematic collection: Erfgoed van de Oorlog



Interviews can be see via:


Much has been published about the decolonisation of the Dutch East Indies and the struggle for Indonesian independence. However, an underexposed aspect of this history is the experience of Dutch conscripts in the Republic of Indonesia immediately after the transfer of sovereignty. To gain a better understanding of their lives in the tropics and to learn more about their experiences, interviews were held with former conscripts of the 43rd Independent Reconnaissance Squadron. The interviewees were around 20 years old at the time, held various positions during their service and came from different social backgrounds.


In the interviews, the former conscripts tell what they experienced in the period after the transfer of sovereignty. The emphasis of the interviews is on how they viewed their military service. They also discuss the change in their mission: from fighting the Indonesian independence movement to carrying out the transfer of arms after recognition of Indonesian independence. How did they experience this transition and how did they carry out their new task? Other questions that will be discussed: What was the life of the average conscript like during that period? What did the sergeant, the infantryman, the driver, the gunner, the ‘medic’, the cook experience? 

Nederlandse militairen van de V-brigade trekken de stad binnen. Solo, Midden-Java, 21 DECEMBER 1948. (T.SCHILLING, DLC, NA). Verzetsmuseum

Papuans in Diaspora

Sitting woman with green skirt (© PACE Objectcode BD/166/94)



Project realisation:




Time frame: 1940-2009


number of interviews: 25

(beperkt openbaar)


Thematic collection: Erfgoed van de Oorlog



In March 1942, the Royal Dutch East Indies Army (KNIL) capitulated and the whole of the Dutch East Indies was occupied by Japan. Dutch New Guinea also fell into Japanese hands, although the Dutch flag continued to fly in the southern town of Merauke, with its impenetrable jungle, throughout the war.


In 1943, the American counter-offensive began along the north coast of New Guinea and the large supply and transhipment of goods and personnel had a major impact on the local population.


After the Japanese had been driven out, the ‘Papua Battalion’ was established in the phase of the restoration of Dutch rule. This was the forerunner of the later ‘Papua Volunteer Corps’, set up to involve the Papuan population in protecting the interests of Dutch New Guinea, which was eventually handed over to the Republic of Indonesia in 1962.


For this project, 25 people were interviewed. All have memories of New Guinea between 1940 and 1962. Some were born there, others worked and lived there. There are 21 Papuans, two Moluccans, one Tuuccan and one Dutch. The interviewees talk about their experiences in the Second World War, their childhood and school years, their traditions, their lives as adults and their migration history.

Narrated (In)justice


Number of interviews: 53

Narrated (In)justice is a research project (2014-2016) by historian Nicole L. Immler that depicts how historical injustice increasingly demands public attention through financial compensation claims. Worldwide, compensation payments for victims have become an important part of ‘recognition’ in recent years. In the Netherlands, recent payments to Jewish-Dutch victims have played a role in the claims of victims of the decolonisation war in Indonesia (the so-called Rawagede case) and are also a point of reference in the claims of descendants of former enslaved people from the former colonies of Suriname and the Netherlands Antilles.


On the basis of three Dutch cases – relating to the Holocaust, colonialism and slavery – the project shows how the experience of injustice in families is passed on over generations, what the motivation behind compensation claims is, and what the perception and meaning of such measures is. The question is whether such compensation also meets people’s expectations of it.


The research Narrated (In)Justice is made possible by a Marie Curie Fellowship in the 7th European Community Framework Program, carried out within the research programme ‘Understanding the Age of Transitional Justice: Narratives in Historical Perspective’ of the NIOD Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies.


Immler, dr. N.L. (NIOD Instituut voor Oorlogs-, Holocaust- en Genocidestudies) (2017): Thematische collectie: Narrated injustice. DANS.

Immler, N. L., & Scagliola, S. (2020). Seeking justice for the mass execution in Rawagede/ Probing the concept of ‘entangled history’ in a postcolonial setting. Rethinking History, 24(1), 1 – 28.


Immler, N. L. (2018). Hoe koloniaal onrecht te erkennen? De Rawagede-zaak laat kansen en grenzen van rechtsherstel zien. BMGN – Low Countries Historical Review, 133(4), 57.






Foto van de tentoonstelling ‘De weduwen’, met portretten van Suzanne Liem en teksten van Nicole L. Immler. Nationaal Militair Museum, Soest, 1 april – 20 augustus 2017. © Nicole L. Immler.


Interview collection Stichting Mondelinge Geschiedenis Indonesië

Stichting Mondelinge Geschiedenis Indonesië (SMGI); Koninklijk Instituut voor Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde (KITLV); (2001): Thematische collectie: Interviewcollectie Stichting Mondelinge Geschiedenis Indonesië. DANS.


Aantal interviews: 724

The digital catalogue of the Stichting Mondelinge Geschiedenis Indonesia (SMGI) contains summaries of 1190 interview sessions with 724 people. They form the access to a unique Dutch oral history collection on ‘the end of the colonial Dutch presence in Asia’.

Roughly speaking, they cover the 1930s, 1940s, 1950s and 1960s. The oral history project was carried out by the Stichting Mondelinge Geschiedenis Indonesia, which was set up especially for this purpose. The entire collection can be consulted within the walls of the Leiden University Library (UBL).