|GUEST SPEAKER: Nonja Peters, Visiting Professor, University of Amsterdam
Nonja Peters is an anthropologist, historian, museum curator, social researcher and public speaker. Her interests include the transnational movement of people (forced and voluntary), ethnicity, class, gender, racism, sense of place, identity and belonging, immigrant entrepreneurship and the digital preservation of immigrants’ cultural heritage. She has a special interest in Dutch maritime, military, migration and mercantile connections with Australia and the South East Asian and Pacific Regions.
During our final dinner of the year, Nonja will speak about her recent exhibition, the ‘Depok Slaves: The Dream of Cornelis Chastelein’. Depok, now a suburb of Jakarta, was originally a 1244 hectare property bought by Cornelis Chastelein, a Dutch land owner who was on the Council of the Indies. Chastelein was from a business family, with his father having been a Director of the Dutch East India Company. The family had started distilleries in Nantes France and moved to Amsterdam in the mid 17th century. Of his many business activities, he also sent people and goods to New Amsterdam (New York).
For his estate at Depok, he bought 150-200 slaves from around South-East Asia to work his four large properties in Java. When he died in 1714, he bequeathed Depok to his christianised slaves in collective ownership. Three hundred years later, they are still a community although not everyone stayed on the land. Some Depokkers migrated to the Netherlands after the Indonesian Revolution as they were considered pro-Dutch and targeted by the Indonesian Revolutionaries. Many were killed in October 1945.
This powerful story is full of interesting myths and legends. The 3-month exhibition at the West Frisian Museum in Hoorn was attended by around 16,000 visitors. In the coming year, the exhibition will move to Jakarta.