The discussion: reactions from Dutch Institutions and Ministries

After the tea break Prof. Dr H.L. Wesseling, the former Rector of the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Studies, opened the discussion by first inviting comments from the co-host of the meeting, Dr Maarten van Boven, Director of the National Archives at The Hague.

Dr Van Boven explained how the TANAP program has made a substantial portion of the 5 kilometres of VOC archives accessible to researchers over the past few years, in particular in The Hague, Jakarta and Colombo. Yet the archival depositories in Asia are confronted with a lack of properly trained personnel who are able to read the Dutch language documents and who are sufficiently aware of the institutional background of the formative processes of the preserved archival documents to make proper inventories. The Encompass program will make it possible to train a good number of Asian archivists. Specific archival training can be carried out at post-MA level in the shape of trainee-ships at the National Archives under the supervision of the recently appointed Professor in Archival Science, Prof. Dr Charles Jeurgens.

Drs. J.A. van Kranendonk, Director-General of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, expressed her profound interest in the Encompass program, stating that the continuation of TANAP (a beautiful program) is worthwhile. Although the financial means of the ministry are rather restricted it should be possible to meet the needs of Encompass in some way or other.

Mrs. Van Kranendonk and Mr. Spoor (of the same ministry) discussing Encompass with Prof. Blussé during tea break













At this point Prof. Dr T. van Haaften, the Dean of the Faculty of Arts of Leiden University, expressed his support for Encompass by stating that the Faculty is squarely behind the plans.

Prof. Dr H.W. van den Doel, the head of the Leiden Historical Institute, explained how the Encompass program can be embedded into the recently introduced Bachelors-Masters structure, and how it may neatly fit in with the present research of the postgraduate school which sees the history of Global Interaction, in particular in Asia, as its core business.

Mr A.W. Kist, Chairman of the Board of Leiden University, also personally expressed his strong support for Encompass. He predicted that within the next twenty years students will become truly cosmopolitan and will be able to choose between many universities. University programs should therefore be strongly geared towards making their students become �members of the world community�. Apart from that, international cooperation will extensively go  beyond the university�s boundaries � it will also involve many other institutions. Encompass fits neatly in the long-term strategy of Leiden University.

Prof. Dr S. Legène of the Royal Institute for the Tropics expressed her opinion that Encompass should also take into account that museum personnel and conservators who will have to take care of the large anthropological and ethnographical collections in Asia need proper training. Attention should also be paid to capacity building at Asian museums and other heritage institutions.

Drs. Antoinette Visser  of the �Collectie Holland� as also of the opinion that Encompass should seriously consider training conservation scientists and curators to take care of material heritage. Both speakers believed that additional training could be given in a one-year trainee-ship after the completion of the MA degree.

Mrs Drs A.M. Bos of the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research stressed that the international aspect of the Encompass program fits neatly into NWO�s research agenda. Encompass certainly deserves NWO support in the development of PhD programs, because it may also be seen as the logical outcome of the TANAP program subsidized by NWO. In this respect, Mrs Bos suggested  the creation of several posts for postdoc researchers (to be recruited from the present TANAP research group) to ensure continuation of the various TANAP research projects.

Drs Robert Milders, Head of the section Asian Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, referred to the excellent relationship between the Netherlands and Indonesia. In the past this relationship has gone through some rough times, but that is precisely why the study of shared history needs further attention. He also mentioned the legal heritage in Indonesia and made a plea for the study of legal history and the history of judicial institutions in Indonesia, an area that is sadly neglected.

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