The treasures of Lombok
( Dutch version )
From the Seventeenth Century on, Lombok was under control of a few Balinese Monarchs. Trade for Bali was mainly through Lombok, because Bali was hard to reach for the very large ships.
In the Nineteenth Century there was lively sea traffic with Singapore. On Lombok a Danish and British trade centre were established. During a civil war between the rivalling Balinese monarchs these trade centres played a big role. The Dutch also tried to found a trade centre on Lombok, but were sent off because the British advised as such.
A mission of the D(utch) T(rade) A(association) (N(ederlandsche) H(andels) M(aatschappij)) (see intro ) succeeded: the susuhunan of Bali (and Lombok) allowed the DTA to open trade centres in Kuta and Kusamba.
The Monarch of Kloengkoeng (see Bali ) did have a condition: he wanted a Java rhinoceros for present. So, in 1839 a rhinoceros was transferred to Bali. Later it would be traditionally offered.
In the nineties the people on Lombok rebelled against the reigning Balinese monarchs. Especially monarch Anak Agoeng Madé was notorious for his cruelties against the locals, the Sasaks.
A few Sasaks leaders asked Batavia for help against their Balinese oppressors. Especially help with the struggle against monarch Anak Agoeng Madé.
In this period the Balinese radja of Lombok was loanlord of the monarchs on Bali and different Balinese pagans helped their loanlord on Lombok. A complicated situation, and this in the middle of the not so successful first Aceh pacifications. A complete discussion arose: should they interfere or not, or maybe they should.........
The new Governor-General van der Wijck made the decision: we will interfere! So in March 1894 an expedition army, under leadership of General Vetter, landed on the coast of Lombok
On the beach at Ampenan, tourists sunbathe here now ??
During the entering of Mataram the Balinese monarch Anak Agoeng Madé, who had oppressed the Sasaks population the most, committed suicide and so the direct motive had disappeared.
Further negotiations with the Balinese radja of Lombok apparently went well, because the power of the Dutch troops was overwhelming. Also the help troops from Bali knew that from a military point of view they were nothing compared to the Dutch. But, as was usual those days, all costs of the invasion still had to be paid....
Costs of this expedition were estimated to be 1 million guilders: a ridiculously high amount to pay for that time and especially for the Balinese radja. Still, halfway in August a quarter of this amount had been raised already. In this period General Vetter had distributed his troops throughout the island. And then it went wrong..:
The Balische monarchs suspected (rightly) that the Dutch might not be leaving after payment of the confinement, and that, in the least, new demands would be made. After a while they realised that the Sasaks request for help had only been an occasion for Batavia to finally 'pacify' Lombok completely. They also knew what was happening in Aceh. They decided to resist until the end........
And suddenly, one night, the Dutch troops were attacked without a warning: almost a hundred people were killed (amongst them General van Ham) and over 250 people were wounded.
Until then, it was the biggest defeat that the Dutch colonial troops had suffered in the Nineteenth Century. The Dutch also lost the already begotten war estimation.
In Holland, the public opinion screamed vengeance: Pieter Brooshooft, main editor of a newspaper that was sold on Java, instantly called the incident
"The treason of Lombok".
The reason that the Dutch were even there, the conquering ('pacification') of Lombok (that's what it finally was all about!), was not even discussed of course. The real cause of the defeat was never accounted for in the press: the one-liner of Brooshooft was enough. The propaganda machine started to run hard.
Even in 1934, a Dutch military that had been there said that, seen from a martial point of view, it had not been treason, but a 'completely legitimate act of war '. But the propaganda machine had already done its work...
"The treason of Lombok" was seen as a national disaster and emotions could not be controlled.
It is to Lombok that we tread,
We are tired of peace,
And shooting those Balinese,
With gunpowder and lead.
With the help of new troops Lombok was pacified. With a lot of harsh violence because The treason of Lombok had to be broken at all costs.
The damage was large: first, the artillery shot everything between Ampenan and Mataram. Anything that was still standing after that was more or less razed to the ground. After that, neither Ampenan nor Mataram were barely standing. The damages done were so thorough that some people of the press wondered: "what's the use of destructing everything that which one later wants to have power over ?"
Victims on Lombok were neither counted because "resistance had to be broken".
Still, they hesitated to attack Cakranegara, where the radja resided. They waited until there were about 10,000 soldiers. Everything between Mataram and Cakranegara was demolished: the artillery wanted to have space to attack. The radja sent a plea, which was answered, by direct order of GG van der Wijck, with grenades. The radja claimed to know nothing of the nocturnal attack on the Dutch; he had not paid all that money for nothing? It was all in vein: nothing helped.
Cakranegara was attacked and conquered. The radja escaped but later surrendered and he was banned to Batavia.
School mural of Lombok: the offensive of Cakranegara
The last monarchs committed suicide by a Perang Poepoetan : men, women and children in white clothing threw themselves on the perplexed Dutch, who kept shooting. One of the many Perang Poepoetans during the pacification in the Nineteenth Century::
During a large manifestation on the Malieveld in The Hague in June 1895, Queen Emma and Princess Wilhelmina awarded decorations to the "Heroes of Lombok".
Still, even in the Parliament a discussion arose whether it had been necessary to use so much violence during the pacification of the Dutch Indies...
The member of parliament Victor de Stuers stated already in 1905 :
" Let me count the 'savages' we have killed in seven years, 15,802, killed by the peacefull Dutch."
A newspaper published a cartoon, stating that the de Stuers as a Christian cannot withstand blood! Laugh at him, laugh at him!
At the same day (26 August 1894) as the 'treason of Lombok' the Dutch Social Democratic Party was set up. One of the founders Mr. Van Kol did exactly knew what has happened on Lombok and Bali. In one of his first speeches he presented a eye-witness report about the cruelties. A little bit difficult to translate, but summarised he asked for respect and forgiveness and shamed himself....
An eye witness report as stated by MP Van Kol in 1907 about a ceremonial Poepoetan :
"Achter hem de knetterende vlammen van zijn poerie : de vorst nadert, terwijl om hem heen zijn strijders sneuvelen, tot op 20 meter onze troepen, zonder door een van de duizenden kogels te zijn geraakt. Nu drukt hij, in het zicht van zijn belagers zich in zijn volle lengte oprichtend, zichzelf een kris in het hart. Een paar honderd vrouwen krissen zich rond zijn lijk, de dood verkiezend boven het vallen in de handen van hun belagers. Nieuwe drommen mensen stormen aan, aangevoerd door de 10-jarige zoon van de vorst. Allen sneuvelden. Welk treurig tafereel is daardoor in de Nederlandse geschiedenisboeken op te nemen. Onze soldaten deden bij deze overwinning geen enkele juichkreet horen. Daarom wil ik deze vorst vanuit het Nederlandse parlement mijn tol van eerbied niet onthouden voor de fierheid van karakter, die hij heeft getoond en voor de heldendood die hij is gestorven. Een heilige plicht blijft op ons rusten om vergeving te vinden voor die vreselijke feiten die ik zou willen wegwissen uit onze historie"
After a Poepoetan (ceremonial suicide) on the island of Bali at Pamecutan
The victims in white clothes in front, to the left the Dutch colonial forces: staring in front of their results???
So let nobody ever argument that what has happened in the Dutch East Indies was unknown to the Dutch parliament and government!
But the parliament continues with their important discussions.....and it was never stored in our school history books.....
May 1902 Colonel Scheurer, the man who captured Cakarnegara, was offered a dinner by the colonial government: on the menu different places captured and sometimes destroyed by the Dutch : incredible to read this nowadays!
as a main item the dessert :
Not for a long time it became clear what the true motives were for intervention and pacification of Lombok. They gratefully used the motive given. Between Singapore en Lombok (because of Bali) a very prosperous naval connection had developed, which obstructed the newly founded R(oyal) P(ackage shipment) C(ompany) (K(oninklijke) P(akketvaart) M(aatschappij))((indeed :this firm still exists) .
The government wanted to monopolise this connection, through the KPM, at all costs. Why? Fear of too large an influence of the British and the domination of the very profitable opium transport to Lombok (and so to Bali and from there further into the Archipel).
Within a few weeks after the pacification Lombok was closed to foreign ships, because "there was still too much commotion". Meanwhile, the KPM was able to develop. The connection Singapore - Makassar - Lombok would be one of the most profitable of the KPM.
During the 'actions' on Lombok, the Dutch obtained a lot: silver and gold jewellery and weapons. The so called
Treasures of Lombok
The Treasures of Lombok have been exhibited in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam for years. Part of it was melted(!) and only in 1977 the larger part was returned to Indonesia. Part of it was left in Holland and is still, so one says, in the voults of the Dutch National Bank. Why? Nobody knows, nobody tries to change it........
In 1995, part of what was held back in Holland was exhibited in the Kunsthal in Rotterdam.
Following this link you can, for instance, find out that "In the Rijksmuseum for Anthropology in Leiden one can find the bounty of many Dutch colonial wars"
From the same article: "In the Dutch museums there are still skulls of Papoeas, Tasmanians, Dajaks and Orinoco-indians. There are also bones of Tibetans, parts of "Hottentots" in alcohol. This goes on and on. They are a tribute to the racist superiority belief of the colonialism. The body parts often have been dug up and taken away. Except for the skeletons, the University of Leiden also has a few very valuable ancient Indonesian handwritings. They have been robbed during the colonial wars between 1894 and 1912, when Holland "tore up" a couple of Indonesian islands. Very often scientists attended those massacres in order to estimate the worth of the bounty after the slaughter and ship it to the museums. The Leiden Rijksmuseum for Anthropology still has a lot of treasures from Lombok, Bali, Atjeh and Soembawa. In 1977 half of it was returned.
Amongst other things,the treasures of the rich island Lombok;, over 250 unique items like krissen, jewels, silver cutlery, coins and textiles stayed in Holland. After the expansion of the museum the bounty will probably be exhibited permanently."
(article written in 1998 !!!)
Studies of course confirmed that "we" conserve everything better than "they" do!
During the first (!) official state visit to Indonesia of a Dutch head of state in 1971, Queen Juliana gave back the oldest script of Indonesia. (the Negarta-kertagama handwritings) "found" on Lombok to Suharto.
Were you aware of the fact that before World War II, if a Dutch company had some unexpected financial success, at the end of the year this was called "a good Lombok year" ?
Lombok turned the Dutch imperialistic politics around:
from that time on a lot of streets and squares were named after Indonesian islands. In almost every Dutch city one can find a Java street/Java lane, etc.
because of the victory the conviction that the entire archipel should be pacified grew stronger
the Guilt of Honor thought: Holland had to return something, after all those years of profiting. The Indonesian people had to be liberated from their oppressors(!) and, naturally with the guidance of Holland, further improved up to Western level. When would this goal be accomplished? Between 1920-1930 they were seriously considering a period of over 150 years.........
Do many foreign tourists, amongst them all those Dutch, have the faintest idea of what must have happened here on Lombok, over a 100 years ago??
Like to read my other stories about the Dutch East Indies?
More to come......
and in English as soon as possible (some sites are already translated : see below the header after opening of the requested story in Dutch )
Jan Pieterszn Coen and the extinction of the population on the Banda islands
The "betrayal" of the ( present holiday ) island of Lombok and the "Treasures of Lombok"
The pacification of the ( present holiday ) island of Bali
Wilhelmus van Nassaue,
Ziet gij dien heldenstoet?
Zij schoten op de vrouwen
En drenkten 't land met bloed.
De kwasten der banieren
zijn darmen van een kind.
Licht dat ge aan hun rapieren,
nog vrouwenharen vindt.
The war of aggression against Aceh
The war of aggression against Aceh has been the largest Dutch war ever which resulted in 100,000 people killed and 1,000,000 people injured
Photos and images of the Dutch East Indies
......a Northsea coast state of robbers......
.....building railways from stolen money
stunned the victims with
opium, Gospels and Dutch gin...
I dare to ask you in confidence is it
your order that more than thirty
million of your subjects in the East are maltreated and
squeezed in Your name?
Multatuli  ...to the Netherlands...King William III
....that village was set to fire, because it was captured by the Dutch.......
Yes, the village was captured by the Dutch, so it was burning
After each Dutch victory a fire
After each Dutch victory a destruction.
Dutch warfare methods induce desperation
Translated by Sonja van den Heijkant
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Last update :
24 Augustus 2008