Training centres for Civil Service in the Dutch East Indies, 1842-1950

In the Netherlands, the term Indology in the meaning of classical South Asia studies (Old-Indo-Aryan philology and related cultural studies) has been used only after the 1950’s. In earlier days, the term indicated the education required for the civil service in the Dutch East Indies. The education consisted of the study of local Indonesian languages and cultures, and juridical institutions. The graduated people were called “Indologen” (Indologists) and the field of study was called “Indologie” (Indology).

The training to civil servant in the Dutch East Indies has started in Delft in 1842. It was a vocational training and, up to 1864, was integrated with the academy for engineer. By law on ‘Indisch Onderwijs’ (Indonesian Education) of 1864, two institutions were established: the Indische Instelling (= Institute of education in the languages, geography and ethnology of the Dutch East Indies) in Delft, and a new semi-academic institution in Leiden. The latter was closed in 1891, and the Delft Indische Instelling in 1900. Subsequently, the civil servant training was continued in Leiden again. At first, it remained a secondary education, and only in the period 1922-1950 it was an academic specialization.

As a counterpart of the Leiden academic education, the Utrecht Indologische Faculteit (the academy for the civil service in the Dutch East Indies) was founded in 1925 and existed up to 1950. This faculty was not subsidized by the Dutch government, but by some 25 companies (including oil, petroleum, sugar companies) working in the then Dutch East Indies. Read more: Nederlands Indië, entry “Opleiding Indische ambtenaar” (in Dutch) and C. Fasseur, De Indologen: ambtenaren voor de Oost, 1825-1950, Amsterdam 1993 (in Dutch).

In general these “Indologists” are not included in the author’s section of this website. Exceptions exist because of the links between the Indonesian archipel and the Indian subcontinent in the field of (Old)-Javanese, ancient history and archaeology. Among the exceptions are Karel Crucq, Henri Damsté, Roelof Goris, Christiaan Hooykaas, Pieter van Stein Callenfels, and Willem Stutterheim.

Leiden University

1917-1941P.S. van Ronkel (professor in Malay language and literature, and in general Indonesian linguistics; 1917-1921 interim)
1929-1971C.C. Berg (professor in Javanese language, with a break from 1938-1945)

Utrecht “Indological” Faculty

1932-1950J.Gonda (endowed professor in Malay and Javanese)
1938-1946F.D.K. Bosch (endowed professor in archaeology and ancient history of the Dutch East Indies)