Remco Vermeulen
Advisor - Indonesia
r.vermeulen [at] dutchculture.nl

Festive opening of Erasmus Huis

Festive opening of Erasmus Huis

After a five-month renovation, Erasmus Huis in Jakarta is opening its doors again this week, with a modernized theater, gallery and library.

The Erasmus Huis is the cultural centre of the Netherlands Embassy in Jakarta, a beacon of cultural diplomacy celebrating its 50 years’ anniversary in 2020. In 1970 the Erasmus Huis in Jakarta was opened to strengthen the bilateral relations between the Netherlands and Indonesia, with culture as binder: this relationship had been virtually non-existent since the independence of Indonesia.

Passionate discussions
The Erasmus Huis dedicates itself to strengthening cultural cooperation between the Netherlands and Indonesia, improving the image of the Netherlands with the Indonesian people, and stimulating knowledge exchange. The historical relationship between both countries plays an important role in this, as well as diplomatic relations and economic interests. The objectives of the Erasmuis Huis are now more current than ever. In the Netherlands passionate discussions on the decolonization of Indonesia and the whole colonial period are held, while the local government of Jakarta increasingly uses the nostalgic name ‘Batavia’ to attract tourists.

Ears and eyes
More and more Dutch artists (cultural) entrepreneurs and artist discover Indonesia and its predominantly young audience. The Erasmus Huis offers a wonderful platform with its own programming. "Indonesians are much more forward looking than the Dutch, we want to look forward together. Erasmus Huis is not only a building, it is a brand. We want to provide a platform for discussions, sometimes on sensitive topics like religion or LGBTI", stated the Netherlands Ambassador to Indonesia Rob Swartbol this week. To enable exchange, ears and eyes in the cultural sectors of Indonesia and the Netherlands are needed. The Erasmus Huis fulfils this role in Indonesia, DutchCulture in the Netherlands: both institutes work closely together.