Art / History / Indonesia / Journal & Travels / Museums / Netherlands

Notes from Utrecht, Arnhem and Rhenen

Impakt Festival HQ, Utrecht


Inside Impakt HQ, Utrecht (Photo taken by author)


Impakt Foundation sign on their door. (Photo taken by author)


I’ve been meaning to visit Impakt Festival for, about a year now, but only now I managed to make time and appointment to visit their headquarters. The festival itself had been a part of Utrecht for 25 years, now. Impakt aims to present critical and creative views on contemporary media culture and innovative audiovisual arts in an interdisciplinary context. What I find interesting about this festival is because it has went far from just celebrating creative production in arts and media culture, but also try to formulate a vision of what the field could be in the future. 

I met with the director and spoke a little bit about Bandung. I think Bandung could use more exposure in other cities in the world, simply because there has been a long tradition of intermedia art making. On top of it Bandung offers a particular spirit which has yet to cease since the Asia Africa Conference in 1955.

Museum Bronbeek

A postcard image of Bronbeek. (Photo taken from here)


I did not know of the museum’s existence until last year when the curator and I made contact with each other. While every museum have its charm and focus, I find this museum is particularly intimate and confronting at the same time. Principally because it houses the shared (military) history between Indonesia and the Netherlands, particularly the last 156 years (1859-present).

Last year I conducted a research based on S.Sudjono’s painting on J.P. Coen and Sultan Agung and that research changed the way I see historical strands that Indonesia and the Netherlands has. These strands were, for decades, had been so simplified to a great extent by the authorities (governments, politician the likes). Which is why I find the contextual and shared history has an important place to develop and establish a greater understanding of, well, history and ourselves.

The museum site itself was in the beginning owned by the Kingdom of the Netherlands as a royal palace in Arnhem. It was then donated to the state in 1859 to house the former KNIL army.  The veteran comes back from the Netherlands-Indies after decades of being so far away from home. Some may have lost contacts with their families, some lost their families, some lost their homes. So they are building their life here at Bronbeek. The complex used to have their own farms and it was a self sustaining complex.

Today, the former KNIL army left (50 people as of 2004) lives together with their memorabilia. It has Kumpulan where meetings and reunion of veterans and groups of both former and active serving soldiers active groups from the former Dutch East Indies. The Museum also organises monthly activities to discuss certain topics.

This month the Museum will host exhibition Oorlog! van Indie to Indonesie 1945-1950. An exhibition on this topic is probably the first time ever held and will surely opens up another door of discussion and a step  for reconciliation of history. I, myself, are contributing a text and article about a Hendra Gunawan painting which will be displayed on the exhibition.



View from Manege Blauwendraad (Photo taken by author)


I was back on horse again after few months break. The cycling bit (one hour of cycling in -1 C) to the sandschool was really tough on me, but I made it. And the second time lesson was yesterday (Zaterdag 31 January). I was put on the same horse again, La Farina, which is the Manege’s beginner’s horse. More lessons coming up. Lots of hard work needs to be put in.




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