There is only one Dutch Cultural Centre: the Erasmus Huis worldwide, and it’s in Jakarta. Named after the great philosopher and thinker Desiderius Erasmus (1466-1536), the Dutch heritage house recently underwent a facelift and reopened to the public on 23 November.
Opening ceremony speeches included Ambassador of the Netherlands H.E. Rob Swartbol, Director of Erasmus Huis Michael Rauner and the Manager of the Erasmus Huis Joyce Nijssen, rounded up by a performance by Ananda Sukarlan, Gigi Art of Dance and Deredia Music.
The Erasmus Huis has been part of the culture scene of Jakarta for about 45 years, as Ambassador Rob Swartbol said, capturing multidimensional projects such as arts and culture, Indonesian and Dutch literature, lectures, music performances and exhibitions. Now with the new face, the cultural house aims to secure its position as an important Dutch-Indonesian cultural and architectural landmark in the centre of the capital.
Moreover, Michael Rauner was convinced that the Erasmus Huis is not only a cultural house but also a place for communities of practice; a venue for the creation and sharing of knowledge. There is more in the new programmes and the new philosophy of the Erasmus Huis which is to facilitate new ideas and process of learning of both countries.
As the director of the Erasmus Huis, as well as the representative of the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, for Rauner promoting cultural diversity within both countries is essential in order to strengthen diplomatic values and foster through understanding of cultural diversity. “I believe that culture is the soul of Indonesia’s identity, and we had shared 400 years of history back then, thus we have the common identity. To learn about the two countries, visitors can now have access the Dutch-Indonesian literature with more than 15,000 collections through the new modern library,” he said.
Now visitors can enjoy access to a diverse range of materials such as Indonesian and Dutch literature and books about many aspects of Dutch culture and society in English language.
Many people are convinced that places such as libraries and other cultural centres are old-fashioned in a certain way, but the Erasmus Huis was transformed into something different with a new awe-inspiring, Dutch-design library. “My contribution for transforming Erasmus Huis Library was I visited some libraries, museums and exhibitions in the Netherlands to think about what’s typical Dutch idea that can be adapted and applied for the Erasmus Huis in Jakarta,” Rauner said.
In the future, the Erasmus Huis will focus on [the Dutch-Indonesian] “connection and cooperation” as the main themes.
“We will look a little bit back not only about history, architecture and the relationship between the Netherlands and Indonesia, but also on how we cooperate till the present moment in time. It’s not the same way like years ago, but we will bring something new and fresh. Another project is about creative industry. Together with BEKRAF (Indonesian Agency for Creative Economy) there will be five Indonesian designers who will visit the Netherlands. We will link them to the Dutch designers to do a creative collaboration and learn from one another about various subjects in relation to the future-oriented concepts in the hopes for producing some prototypes of the ideas to foster our relationships, as well as to think about the better future lifestyle,” Rauner explained.
It’s no surprise that the transformation of the Erasmus Huis will make a good place to hang out, a quiet zone to study and a nice venue where knowledge is shared.
In the last speech before returning to the Netherlands, Rauner expressed his deep feeling of satisfaction and achievement he has earned during three and half years as the director of the cultural house, “I am very proud of the result of the makeover. For over many years the Erasmus Huis has played a pivotal role that embraces not only about the arts and history but also a great example of cultural diplomacy and cooperation between the Netherlands and Indonesia”, he said.
Erasmus Huis Jakarta
Jalan Haji R. Rasuna Said Blok C No.3, Kav. S
Setiabudi - Kuningan, Jakarta 12950
Phone: (+62) 21 524 1069
Email: [email protected]