Dutch Colonial Nostalgia across Decolonisation

Paul Bijl


This article argues that nostalgia for colonialism in the Netherlands, the so called tempo doeloe culture, is not a specifically postcolonial phenomenon caused by the collapse of the Dutch empire in Asia. In fact, nostalgia for the Dutch East Indies can be traced back to the nineteenth century, when the colony was still being formed, and its current form can productively be described as a nostalgia for nostalgia. On a more general level, colonial nostalgia, which is often too easily dismissed as simple conservatism, is actually a complex phenomenon in which multiple nostalgias layer each other in an often reflexive manner. This analysis focuses specifically on the work of the Dutch writer Hein Buitenweg (1893-1983).


Cultural Memory; Nostalgia; Netherlands; Indonesia; Colonial History; Postcolonial History; Tempo Doeloe; Hein Buitenweg

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