- For the Common Good: Dutch Institutions and Western Scholarship on Indonesia around 1800
- Book title
- Empire and science in the making: Dutch colonial scholarship in comparative global perspective, 1760-1830
- Pages (from-to)
- New York: Palgrave Macmillan
- Palgrave studies in the history of science and technology
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR)
From the first arrival of Europeans at Indonesia’s shores, they created and circulated knowledge. The Portuguese, trading with Java and the Moluccas from the early sixteenth century, were the first to publish their travel accounts, and much of our knowledge of the region around that time is based on their reports. After 1600, they no longer played an important role in the Indonesian Archipelago, and their days of knowledge creation concerning the region were over.
The Dutch arrived just before 1600, and took up the baton. They would stay until the 1940s; they started to collect and publish information on the archipelago right away, and went on doing so ever after. This chapter looks at the creation and circulation of knowledge regarding Indonesia by the Dutch and other Westerners during the last decades of the eighteenth century and the first of the nineteenth.
The period around 1800 was not the finest hour of the Dutch state and its network of colonies and trading posts overseas. Between 1780 and 1815 the Netherlands often had to tolerate foreign armies on its territory, was involved in various wars, often in a subaltern capacity, and was cut off from its establishments in America, Africa, and Asia due to the same wars. This was to the detriment of its trade, and therefore of its economy in general. Many of its overseas settlements were taken over by the British and lost to the Dutch for ever.
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