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Join our quest for a more varied perspective of the shared heritage from Indonesia, Suriname and the Netherlands, combining material from the State Archive for Dutch Architecture and Urban Planning and research into the Surinamese landscape. With Sara Frikech, Daphne Bakker, Paul Bijl, Thiëmo Heilbron, Simone Zeefuik and Hetty Berens.

The State Archive for Dutch Architecture and Urban Planning holds relatively little source material from the former Dutch colonies. The collection of photo albums and a series of architecture and urban design drawings by Dutch architects who worked in the Netherlands East Indies are often used to support the classical perspective that the Dutch brought modernity to Indonesia. This event goes in search of different interpretations and presents material that better reflects the mutual influence of former colonies and colonizers. It includes a presentation on archive material relating to John Habraken and Rem Koolhaas and the extent to which a childhood spent in Indonesia may have affected their work.

The second part of this event will focus on Suriname, inspired by ‘The Unquiet Land’ by architect Sara Frikech and landscape architecture student Daphne Bakker. They address the legacy of Dutch colonial rule by approaching the Surinamese landscape as a living archive. This landscape offers them a relatively neutral starting point for the development of a botanical biography that reveals the story of the displacement and damaging of the Surinamese landscape.

Sara Frikech and Daphne Bakker

Daphne Bakker was born to multi-ethnic parents in Paramaribo, Suriname. A former editor of Bnieuws, she is currently enrolled in the Master programme for Landscape Architecture at Delft University of Technology. Sara Frikech was born and raised in the Netherlands to immigrant parents from Morocco. She graduated in architecture from Delft University of Technology. She exhibited at the 2016 edition of the Marrakech Biennale and is currently working on projects dealing with issues concerning diasporic consciousness. Frikech and Bakker are currently Fellows of Het Nieuwe Instituut.

Paul Bijl

Dr. Paul Bijl is assistant professor in comparative literature at Utrecht University and a researcher at KITLV/Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies in Leiden. His research interests include legal humanities and human rights, postcolonial history, anti- and postcolonial literature, racism, cultural memory and visual culture, as well as, more recently, disability. He has an MA in Dutch literature from VU University Amsterdam, a Research MA and a PhD in Comparative Literature from Utrecht University and was a visiting scholar at University of California, Los Angeles, Columbia University and Universitas Indonesia. The recipient of various grants, he is a postdoctoral researcher on a NWO Veni Grant for the period 2015 - 2019.

Thiëmo Heilbron

Thiëmo Heilbron is a biologist and the founder and director of Fawaka Nederland, an organization that aims to bring more diversity to the world of sustainability. Heilbron innovatively connects sustainability with international development, diversity in the Netherlands and knowledge from unexpected quarters. As a biologist, Heilbron specializes in tropical ecology, and his graduation project was a study that embedded the knowledge of the people of Suriname with regard to Suriname’s plant life in a social and historical context. Heilbron initiated the website Botanical Heritage of Suriname Project on the basis of this research: every plant tells a different story. This innovative project sheds new light on the history and value of various ecological elements. Findings from this project are used in an informative local ecoroute and in an ecoresort on an abandoned Suriname plantation.

Simone Zeefuik

Simone Zeefuik is an Amsterdam based writer and organizer whose work centres around on representation and inclusivity. With her articles and the event she organizes or co-hosts, she focuses on Africentred perspectives, (de)colonial institutes, (digital) archives and the illegalized members of the black communities in the Netherlands. She’s a film, theatre, literature and history enthusiast: she’s an expert on poetry, resistance movements and 'black women at the cradles of jazz blues and rock & roll'.

Hetty Berens

Hetty Berens is an architecture historian and works as a curator at Het Nieuwe Instituut and Sonneveld House. She is responsible for acquisitions and collection research and also organizes exhibitions, writes publications and gives lectures. She curated the presentation Simultaneous Modernism in Sonneveld House and the exhibition Architecture and Interiors. The Desire for Style in the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag in The Hague, a collaboration between the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag and Het Nieuwe Instituut.

Archive Explorations

Containing the collections of some of the most important architects and urban planners in the Netherlands, the State Archive for Dutch Architecture and Urban Planning provides an insight into the development of Dutch architecture and society over the past 130 years. Each item in the collection of four million drawings, sketches, models, professional and personal correspondence, photographs, posters and news clippings has a story to tell. But many of these stories have remained untold because nobody has yet uncovered them. For the series of evenings entitled Archive Explorations we have invited a range of people to go on a journey of discovery through the archive to uncover new perspectives.

Thursday Bite

Before Thursday Night Live! you can grab a bite to eat with the speakers and staff of Het Nieuwe Instituut. At 18:00 Het Nieuwe Café will serve soup with bread or a quiche with salad. Dinner vouchers are available for € 7.50 up to a day before the particular Thursday Night event via the Tickets link.

19:30 – 21:00
also this evening

Pop-in expo: Gear Up

18:00 - 19:30 Thursday Bite

Museum open until 21:00


Het Nieuwe Instituut
Museumpark 25
3015 CB Rotterdam


Standard€ 7.50
Students, Members and Friends of Het Nieuwe Instituut€ 3.75
Thursday Bite€ 7.50