Posted at July 23, 2021 by Bryan Henry

Indonesia is well known for its diverse heritage, because it consists of many people with various races, ethnicities, backgrounds, and areas. All these differences make Indonesia very rich in terms of heritage. Most Indonesian heritage, regardless of their area or region is a genetic  heritage from generation to generation, it started from the kingdom (Hindu-Buddha-Islam) to the colonialism era. The colonialism era in Indonesia spans 436 years or 4,3 centuries, and among them, Dutch or Netherland colonialism era was the longest (approximately 340 years). With such a long period of time, Netherland colonialism also left some heritage, and Indonesia adopted it into Indonesian heritage. In this article, we are going to discuss what Netherland heritage has been adopted into Indonesian heritage.

During the Netherland’s colonialism era, it left many heritages in various sectors, such as education, language, religion, and culture.

1. Education

Netherland colonialism had brought some influences in terms of education. Study period in each education level was divided into years, for example, elementary school is taken for 6 years and the next education level is taken for 3 years. There is also an age limit for every person to put the right person in the education level based on his or her age. In a classroom, the teacher teaches in front of the class and the students are placed facing the teacher. The purpose is to make the teacher the primary attention to the student. This classroom structure is also adopted from the Netherlands, which is matched with the European class structure.

2. Language 

For humans, as social beings who cannot live alone, communication is very important. During Netherland colonialism, communication between local folks and Dutch could not be avoided, which in this case language was affected. Many Indonesian words are adopted from Dutch; approximately 10.000 Indonesian words are originally Dutch. For examples, kantor-kantoor, buncis-boontjes, kulkas-koelkast, and many more.

3. Religion

Indonesia is a country that believes in God, which is based on Pancasila as its national principle. When Netherland colonialism came to Indonesia, they also spread Christian among the locals.  This is due to European countries' motto called “Gold, Gospel, Glory” or 3G, and the spread of Christian religion is the “Gospel” part.

4. Culture 

With the Netherland colonialism presence, which spans almost 3,5 centuries, they surely left some culture in Indonesia behind. In terms of culture, there are many aspects affected, such as habit, mindset, behavior, and many more. One of those is the habit of giving flowers to the loved one. This habit commonly originated from Europe, which was brought by the Netherland colonialism.

Although there are some good influences from the colonial era, we can not hide the fact that colonialism  is a horrible practice for anyone. There are more “bad” than “good” in colonialism. Luckily, Indonesia has passed that time and already declared its independence on 17 August 1945. It is our job as the next generation to maintain our independence and preserve our heritage to honor those who fight for our independence.


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