Graduation Year


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Reader 1

Professor Urmi Engineer Willoughby

Reader 2

Professor Gary Gilbert

Terms of Use & License Information

Terms of Use for work posted in Scholarship@Claremont.

Rights Information

© 2023 Anton S van Shaik


As a colony of the Netherlands, the Dutch East Indies (upon independence named Indonesia) was a prodigious source of economic revenue -- first due to the spice trade and then coffee -- for the Netherlands from around 1610 to 1949. But, despite the long history of Dutch colonization in Southeast Asia, Indonesian cuisine failed to make a large impact on Dutch culture and cuisine until the 1940s. Before World War II, despite the Netherlands primarily deriving its revenue from global trade, both economically, and especially culturally, all areas, except for the economically engaged, Western cities, were extremely insulated. However, due to the cataclysmic and catalytic socio-political, socio-economic, and socio-cultural effects of World War II, socio-cultural movements within the Netherlands, such as urbanization, cosmopolitanism, and societal modernization were expedited, causing the nation to be irrevocably altered. Indonesian cuisine served as an impetus, in and of itself, and a representation of that broader cultural shift. Working in tandem with an expansion of economic prosperity, a globalizing mindset of Dutch-born citizenry as well as the return of hundreds of thousands of individuals from the former Dutch East Indies, Indonesian cuisine was able to not only to affect Dutch eating habits, but also broader cultural mentalities. Initially, Dutch media sources adapted and propagated Indonesian cuisine, creating, both intentionally and unintentionally, what I deem to be ‘Dutch-onesian’ cuisine [a hodgepodge, fusion mix of Indonesian-Dutch cuisines meant to acclimate and sell Indonesian cuisine to the palates of Dutch audiences.] Consumption and representation of Indonesian cuisine occurred in multiple different spheres, such as restaurants, magazines, and cookbooks, each with their own complex agendas, problems, dynamics, reaches, audiences, and care for the subject matter. An increase in personal finances as well as access to authentic Indonesian foodstuffs and recipes expedited not just a growing interest in Indonesian cuisine, in all of its aspects, but allowed the cuisine to occupy a heralded place within Dutch culture.