By Al Hanaan
Voyaging to Asia conducted by VOC is an example of the Dutch’s superiority over the might seas. Even one of the most advanced country in technology, the USA needed to pick the Dutch brains to deal with the water damage and flooding when Hurricane ‘Katrina’ struck New Orleans and the Gulf Coast.
Predominantly, most of Holland is located below sea level. Therefore they had to construct all sorts of dykes and levees to keep the sea at bay and even reclaimed some of the land from the sea in order to build on it. And now, with the second biggest problem of World Global Warming phenomena threatening to flood all low lying areas next to the sea, the Dutch have even managed to combat this climate change successfully.
Apart from all the pain and suffering, that we Indonesians have been through, the Dutch colonialists left many magnificent heritage and listed-buildings in Indonesia. Although Indonesia was colonized by the Dutch for about 350 years, we shouldn’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. If the Dutch colonialists had not come to Indonesia, we probably would not have had such a variety of valuable inheritances. Take a look at Bogor Botanical Garden – for example.
Established during the Dutch occupation in 1817, it has become one of the most well-known gardens in the world. Not only offering a recreation and educational experience but also encouraging the appreciation for the natural biodiversity of nature, particularly in tropical plants conservation. Bogor Botanical Garden was established in response to a demand for fostering the expansion of science. That is why Dr. Casper George Carl Reinwardt proposed the idea of establishing a botanical garden. The establishment of this botanical garden designated the beginning of biology development in Indonesia.
We have the first modern cemetery, Museum of Memorial Stone Park, which was built in 1795 by the Dutch colonial government. This modern cemetery has already existed – since far before Singapore built Fort Canning Park in 1826 and Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, Australia, which was built in 1831.
In the realm of architecture, a founder member of the Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA) in London, Rem Koolhaas is a big name in modern times architecture. Koolhaas has made some very important accomplishments, because of which he was even awarded the prestigious Pritzker Architecture Prize in 2000. His company has recently won three prestigious competitions in France viz. the Bibliothèque Multimédia à Vocation Régionale (BMVR) in Caen, which are to go under construction this summer; the Parc des Expositions in Toulouse; and Ecole Centrale at Saclay, outside Paris in cooperation with Clement Blanchet.
So, we are on the threshold of exciting new developments in architecture. The Dutch have shown us their creativity, why can’t we?