Research project on Dutch colonialism
In this postcolonial age there is still a large part of the Dutch society that sees the 17th century as one of Holland’s greatest historical eras, and they pride themselves with the heritage of the Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie (Dutch East India Company), or VOC. Politicians praise the commercial spirit, decisiveness, and courage, and the key players of that period are still celebrated with streets, bridges, cafes, buildings, institutions, statues, and sculptures named after them.
How great that Golden Century truly was, depends on whom you ask. Are the heroic captains and leaders of the VOC the protagonists? Or are they the antagonist of foreign people and cultures.
With today’s paradigm, they can only be seen as invaders, slave traders, and warlords.Thankfully, in the Netherlands, this period is discussed more and more often and honestly, and this work plays a small part.
Three images of officers and captains of the VOC (Witte de With, michiel de ruyter and Jan Pieterszoon Coen) have been recreated in a ghostlike manner. Their bust of meshed steel is uncontrollably overgrown by salt, a product that helped build the VOC. During the borderland exhibition, the audience could decide if the sculptures would remain or be destroyed. To kickstart the question, how should Dutch society deal with their heritage?
Should they be forgotten or erased, or does it need to becontextualized for the horrors of our history to be banished to the past, and it can never happen again?
Master Interior Architecture Research + Design Term 1
Teacher: dr. Ephraim Joris.