Ironies of history captured in photo

Bijeenkomst presidentieel paleis

The above picture shows the delegation of the Dutch prime minister, who is currently on a trade mission in Indonesia, meeting with their Indonesia hosts inside the Presidential Palace in Jakarta. The irony here is that Merdeka Palace—named after the slogan of the Indonesia struggle for independence, ‘freedom’—was built as Paleis Koningsplein, the residence of the governor-general of the Dutch East Indies.

Where now hang portraits of former presidents, once were the solemn gazes of Dutch kings caught in paint. The very red and blue flag standing proudly in this room stands for everything that was prosecuted from here.

The Delftware in the back and the Dutch colonial architecture show there is a historical link that cannot be forgotten. But it is clear that the tables are turned. Where the power of The Hague was once on display, the Dutch prime minister is now a humble guest, hoping to be noticed amongst other possible trade partners. This is the irony of history.


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Sense Hofstede

Hello and welcome to my site. I am Sense Hofstede—pronounced [ˈsɛn.sə ˈɦɔf.steː.də]. Grew up in the Dutch province of Friesland, studying International Relations at Sciences Po in Paris. I enjoy reading books, drinking tea and take a particular interest in East Asia, especially China and the Korean Peninsula. In the past I've spend a lot of time volunteering for the Ubuntu project, triaging bugs, writing code and organising. Nowadays I've moved away from the computer obsession which dominated my youth, to focus on history and international politics. For an overview of my experience, please look at my LinkedIn profile.

One thought on “Ironies of history captured in photo”

  1. Historical links, yes. Amazing how history flows, eh? Things change, yet true friendships remain steadfast.

    The Netherlands were the first country to recognize the sovereignty of the United States, which means a great deal to many Americans. As per Wikipedia: “The Netherlands was the first foreign country to salute the American Flag on November 16, 1776.” I feel this makes the Netherlands the oldest and most-trusted friend of the United States..

    The United States owes so much to The Netherlands in so many ways, all positive, of course.

    I sometimes wonder how history might reflect the remnants of the American Empire of the 19th and 20th Centuries.

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