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The Hill We Climb
Campaigning in Europe for a Free Indonesia
Indonesian Nationalists and the Worldwide Anticolonial Movement, 1917-1931av Klaas Stutje789
Offering important new understandings of the Indonesian independence struggle, this fine-grained study explores the international activities in the capitals of interwar Europe of the Perhimpoenan Indonesia (PI), an Indonesian nationalist student organisation based in the Netherlands. Operating in a vibrant political environment, the PI interacted with different anticolonial movements in cities across Europe. Focusing on the period between 1917 and 1931, the book follows the personal journeys of different students to cities such as Zurich, Paris, Brussels and Berlin as they established contacts, joined associations and attended international conferences. Here, the complex reality of movement building is examined, going beyond superficial suggestions of contact and collaboration. The study shows that the activities of the PI reverberated in the Indonesian political landscape, where the new collaborations in Europe were followed with great interest. In this way, the book offers new findings for multiple audiences - Indonesianists and scholars of anticolonial resistance alike. However, it also demonstrates that the political awakening of Indonesian elites should be understood not just as an indigenous response to Dutch rule but also as part of global anticolonial movements and struggles.
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Klaas Stutje's monograph is a pioneering contribution to global history from below. It interprets the origins of Indonesian nationalism and anti-colonialism in a radically new way. Stutje shows that Indonesian anticolonial activists in Europe were part of an emerging global network, and deliberately connected to members of other anticolonial movements. This highly original book may be the beginning of a new approach to the study of anticolonialism worldwide. (Marcel van der Linden, University of Amsterdam)
Klaas Stutje is a post-doctoral researcher at the International Institute of Social History in Amsterdam. His research experience covers the history of Dutch colonial prison camps, anticolonialism, communism and nationalism in the Netherlands Indies, and Indonesian networks in Europe.