Belanda Hitam: the Indo-African communities on Java

TitleBelanda Hitam: the Indo-African communities on Java
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2007
AuthorsW.M.J.van Kessel
Secondary TitleAfrican and Asian Studies
Pagination243 - 270
Date Published2007///
Publication Languageeng
KeywordsAfrica, colonial armies, Dutch colonialism, Ghana, identity, Indonesia, Netherlands, soldiers, World War II

Most of the successive groups of African immigrants to the Indonesian archipelago have disappeared without trace, or at least without leaving recognisable descendants. The Belanda Hitam or Black Dutchmen are the one exception. Belanda Hitam was the Malay name given to some 3,000 soldiers from West Africa who were recruited for the Dutch colonial army between 1831 and 1872, and to the Indo-African descendants of these African soldiers and their Indonesian wives. From the 1830s until Indonesian independence, the African soldiers, their Indonesian wives and their Indo-African off spring formed small but vibrant communities in the garrison towns of Java, mainly in Batavia, Semarang, Salatiga, Solo and Purworejo. This article, largely based on interviews with descendants now living in the Netherlands, explores life in these Indo-African communities, with a particular focus on Purworejo

Citation Key2320