All posts filed under: Indonesia

Medan: From Deli to Tjong A Fie

Chapter 4, Part 13 In politics there are no permanent friends or enemies, only interests. This has been repeatedly proven in the history of relations among nations where two unlikely partners often formed alliances to defeat their common rival. The Dutch East India Company (VOC) […]

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The Faces of Banda

Chapter 4, Part 10 Blessed with fertile soils and pristine waters, which at one point in history turned out to be a curse, the Banda Islands today is a place where avid divers go for its world-class reefs (the islands lie at the heart of […]

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The Banda Islands: Land and Sea

Chapter 4, Part 9 We were in the middle of the Banda Sea, the deepest body of water in Indonesia with some parts going as deep as 7,000 m. The violent waves reared up the small boat, filled with Fiona from the Netherlands, Torben from Germany, […]

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Run for Manhattan

Chapter 4, Part 8 Among the remote islands of the Bandas, Run (Rhun) is situated at the westernmost corner of the chain, some two hours away by a small boat from Banda Neira – the most populated of the Banda Islands. Like its sisters to […]

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Islands that Changed the World: the Bandas

Chapter 4, Part 7 In the 16th century, upon the discovery of direct sea routes from Europe to the Spice Islands, Portugal and Spain asserted their dominance in the world’s spice trade which for centuries were traditionally controlled by the Javanese, Indian, Arab, Persian and […]

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Ambon: Colonialism, Peace and Music

Chapter 4, Part 6 In 1512 the Portuguese successfully reached the fabled Spice Islands after decades of sea explorations and conquests in the Indian Ocean. Ambon (Amboina), Ternate, as well as the Banda Islands were the main ports of call for the Portuguese in the […]

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Ternate: Science and Superstition

Chapter 4, Part 5 The turboprop plane which brought us from the city of Manado in North Sulawesi almost an hour earlier started its descent. Strings of verdant small islands now appeared larger from the window, and soon enough the venerable Mount Gamalama rose straight from […]

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Minangkabau: the Land of Buffalo Horns

Chapter 2, Part 10 In the highlands of western Sumatra live a society with a unique culture where house roof is anything but unimaginative and women own the family’s wealth. In spite of being Muslims, their life is very much dictated both by the Quran […]

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Cirebon: A Cultural Melting Pot

Chapter 2, Part 8 As Demak rose to prominence and became independent from Majapahit, another sultanate began to flourish on the northwestern coast of Java. Previously under the sphere of influence of the Hindu Galuh kingdom, the Sultanate of Cirebon became effectively independent under the […]

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Rise of Islam in Java

Chapter 2, Part 7 Since more than a thousand years ago, the island of Java has been an important economic and cultural center among the vast archipelago which today makes up most of Indonesia. The ports on the northern coasts of the island were strategically […]

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