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Exhibition “Founding Letter of the Nation”

It was fortunate that I was told to report to the National Museum, Sunday, November 18 2018. Initially I planned to come here but didn’t have the chance. Alhamdulillah, during the picket on Sunday, he was told to cover the exhibition “Letter of Founding of the Nation”. I really like this kind of agenda coverage. Heuheuheu

It was very cool that morning because it was cloudy. The National Museum is also very busy. It’s really nice to see enthusiastic people visiting the museum. At the exhibition site, visitors were also very busy. Most of them are school children, maybe because of holidays. But there are also groups of families, parents taking their children on vacation to this cool museum and exhibition.

Entrance ticket. Pay only IDR 5,000

The letters on display are the original handwritten letters of the nation’s founders, namely Soekarno, Mohammad Hatta, Agus Salim, Tan Malaka, Sutan Sjahrir, Kartini, John Lie, and Ki Hajar Dewantara or Soewardi Suryaningrat. These historic letters are placed in glass frames and are complemented by a description in the form of a poster. Because there are letters that are difficult to read and also use Dutch, we can still understand their contents because there are transcripts.

One of Bung Karno’s letters to Sam Koperberg

Bung Karno’s letter on display is a letter written from his exile in Ende, East Nusa Tenggara and also written from Bandung. There are three letters written to Samuel Koperberg. Koperberg is one of the leaders of the Indische Sociaal-Democratishe Partij (ISDP, an ISDV splinter). Koperberg is also the secretary and treasurer of the Java Institute. In the letter written on April 28, 1927 from Bandung, Soekarno thanked him for having sent the book De held en de schere (Heroes and the Herd). This book was written by a Dutch socialist, Henriette Roland Holst.

Another letter to Koperberg was written by Soekarno from Ende on November 28, 1936. In the last paragraph of the letter, Soekarno expressed his longing for Bandung which he called the Garden of Eden. According to him, the weather in Ende is very hot and different from the cool and cold weather in Priangan. In the letter he also mentioned his adopted son with Inggit, Omi, who had grown up.

Bung Karno’s letter to Ali Sastroamidjojo

Sutan Sjahrir’s letters

Agus Salim is one of the most reliable diplomats that Indonesia has ever had. He mastered many foreign languages ​​from English, Turkish, French, Dutch, German, Japanese and Arabic. Agus Salim has served as Minister of Foreign Affairs. During the Dutch Second Military Aggression, he was exiled to Sumatra with other leaders. Utoyo Ramelan, the recipient of the letter written by Agus Salim, is the head of the Indonesian representative in Singapore.

Agus Salim’s letter to Utoyo Ramelan

Bung Hatta’s letter on display was written for Eduard Post and his son, Gemala Hatta, who was currently studying in Australia. From one of the letters to the Eduard Post, Hatta asked that the book Das Kapital by Karl Marx volume II be sent. The letter to Eduard was written from Banda Neira, Maluku, the place where Hatta was exiled by the Dutch colonialists. Eduard Post is a businessman then living in Amsterdam.

Bung Hatta’s letter to the Eduard Post

Ki Hadjar Dewantara or Soewardi Suryaningrat wrote a letter to JH Abendanon on October 30, 1913. Abendanon was the Minister of Culture, Religion and Crafts of the Dutch East Indies at that time. Abendanon was assigned to the Dutch East Indies or now Indonesia to succeed in ethical politics.

Ki Hadjar Dewantara’s letter to Abendanon

Another letter written on December 30, 1918, Ki Hadjar Dewantara asked Abendanon to cooperate in establishing the Indonesian Publishing Company NV (NV Uitgevers Maatschappij Indonesia) which was based in the Indies but had the right to work in the Netherlands. Ki Hadjar also reported that he had established the Indonesian Press Bureau in The Hague to represent the Indonesian press in the Netherlands, namely the Indies National. Ki Hadjar wanted the effort to be bigger, which was why he persuaded Abendanon to cooperate.

Photo of Bung Karno and Agus Salim

Sjahrir wrote letters to his nephews, Tati and Akkie, who at that time lived in France. The letter was written from Antwerp, Belgium when Sjahrir visited the city. In the letter dated October 28, 1958, Sjahrir asked when his nephews would return to Indonesia. Sjahrir asked them to return to Indonesia so that they could do something useful for the people. At that time, his nephew had been living in Europe for 10 years.

“How many years are you ready to do something useful for our country and our people ?,” he wrote.

Sjahrir advised that after Indonesia’s independence, all Indonesians should make themselves available to do service for the nation. Devoted to the nation, according to him, does not have to be a civil servant, but must provide himself for the people.

While still exiled in Banda Neira, Sjahrir also wrote letters to his nephews, Akkie and Hedda. The letter was dated October 8, 1941. Sjahrir informed his nephew that he had a complete collection of Beethoven 9 Symphony records, Bach, Mozart, Wagner, Strawinsky, Ravel, Schmidt. The LPs were obtained by Sjahrir from a doctor named Van Zanten.

Sjahrir also asked his nephew to find some Lyceum school textbooks in Latin and Greek. Sjahrir also asked to look for the latest editions of the Oxford dictionaries.

Sjahrir’s letter to nephews (1)
Sjahrir’s letter to nephews (2)

Maria Duchateau is Sjahrir’s wife. Before becoming his wife, Maria was the wife of Sjahrir’s friend in the Netherlands, Solomon Tas. Sjahrir called Maria Mieske.

In a letter written from Digul on September 10, 1935, Sjahrir said he had begun to adjust to the people around him at his exile. However, he admitted to taking a distance from those around him. Sjahrir says his friends are books.

“I accept all the not-so-deep and inevitable nonsense relationships in Tanahmerah. And my only friends are books and newspapers. There is still a lot of obscurity to the people around me. That’s why I want to, deeper into the history of our nation. What is the exact meaning of our cultural traditions? Can it give the deepest understanding of the people’s souls? Sometimes I feel so distant from them, like between two worlds.

These two letters were written by Sjahrir to Maria Duchateau

A transcript of one of Sjahrir’s letters to Maria Duchateau. Sad to read.

John Lie or Lie Tjeng Tjoan is a hero born in Manado, North Sulawesi on March 11, 1911. After World War II, he joined the Navy and served in Cilacap. He once broke through the Dutch blockade in the Malacca Strait to smuggle bullets and weapons to Indonesian fighters. Lie also played a role in quelling separatist movements such as DJ / TII, RMS, PRRI, and Permesta.

It is said that John Lie always took the time to write letters to his wife, Margareth Angkuw. Margareth was the first woman to graduate from the Jakarta Theological High School in 1955. One of the letters on display was written on January 20, 1958.

John Lie’s letter to Sutan Sjahrir

John Lie’s letter to his wife, Margareth Angkuw

The letters written by Kartini to her friends in the Netherlands were collected by JH Abendanon and published under the title Habis Gelap Terbitlah Terang (Door Duisternis tot Licht). This book was first published in 1911. One of Kartini’s friends in the Netherlands was Rosa Manuela Abendanon, the wife of JH Abendanon.

Kartini called Rosa Abendanon by calling Mien. In a letter he wrote on September 22, 1903, Kartini reported that her wedding plans were being put forward in early November. In her letter, Kartini also praised her future husband, whom she called a person with a heart of gold and intelligence. He felt lucky because later he could work together to achieve his dreams.



“He’s such a person, so kind with a heart of gold and a very thin brain. I am very fortunate that I was able to work with him to make my dreams come true.”



One of Kartini’s letters to Mrs. Abendanon



A transcript of one of Kartini’s letters to Rosa Abendanon

Sutan Ibrahim Datuk Tan Malaka’s letter on display is a letter sent to a classmate at school in Harleem, the Netherlands, namely Dick Van Wijngaarden. The letter was sent from Bussum, a city in North Holland Province. The letter is dated June 6, 1919.

Tan Malaka, also known as the Father of the Republic, returned to Indonesia in 1919. He later became a contract laborer teacher at Senembah plantation, Deli Serdang. His life moved around. He also opened a People’s School in Semarang.

Two letters from Tan Malaka to Dick Van Wijngaarden

Another letter was also addressed to Dick and was sent from Tanjung Morawa. In the letter dated January 5, 1921, Tan Malaka said that he no longer felt at home in Senembah because he often had conflicts with plantation administrators. He also said he wanted to move to another city. Tan Malaka said there was hope for him if he moved to Medan or Java Island.

Tan Malaka was very active in the struggle for independence. But his name is not recorded in the history books that we read in the old school days. He was labeled a communist. Even though he was the one who introduced the concept of the republic. Unfortunately he died in the hands of his fellow soldiers. He was executed by Indonesian soldiers in Selopanggung, Kediri on February 21, 1949. Sad. Al-Fatihah for the nation’s heroes.

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