Rijksmuseum threatened over Indonesia Independence exhibition
The Rijksmuseum received threats online and by physical mail around its much-discussed exhibition Revolusi!, about Indonesia's struggle for independence and decolonization. The museum sent a presentation to its security staff, warning about possible vandalism and physical violence around the exhibition, BNR reported after seeing the document.
The exhibit was a source of controversy even before it opened on February 11. In January, the Federation of Dutch Indies (FIN) filed charges of group insult against Indonesian historian and guest curator Bonny Triyana, accusing him of distorting history and ignoring the Indonesian part in the bloodshed that was the Indonesian War of Independence. Shortly afterward, the Dutch committee for debts of honor KUKB objected to the use of the term "bersiap" in the exhibition, calling it racist. Both cases were dropped.
Now the museum is receiving threats. The Rijksmuseum told BNR that it has "indeed received some nasty emails as a result of the bersiap discussion." "There is good and regular contact with the police," a spokesperson said.
The Amsterdam police told the broadcaster that the Rijksmuseum reported the threats but pressed no charges. Neither police nor museum would comment further on the nature or origin of the threats or security measures taken in response. "We do have very good contact with the Rijksmuseum," said a police spokesperson.
Jeffry Pondaag of KUKB believes the perpetrators behind the threats can be found at the FIN. "I understand that the NIOD researchers have also become a target," Pondaag said. On Thursday, NIOD and other researchers published a report accusing the Dutch State of deliberately tolerating the systemic and excessive violence used by Dutch soldiers in the Indonesian Independence War. The report prompted an official apology from Prime Minister Mark Rutte.
The FIN denies having anything to do with the threats. "We would never do something like that," chairman Hans Moll said to the broadcaster. "We also just want this exhibition to take place."