At first glance a visitor to our meetings may think that we are a Chinese association. Indeed by far the majority of our members are Peranakan Chinese. Peranakan culture is a mixture of Chinese, Indonesian and Dutch elements. The Dutch East Indies have seen a steady trickle of immigrants from Fukien and Kwangtung during five centuries. Through intermarriage and socializing with Europeans and Indonesians their descendants created a unique culture, quite distinct from that of 20th century newcomers. After WW2 many Peranakan families left their homeland and settled in Holland. Yet membership of Inisiatip is open to people of every descent and from every walk of life. The bylaws of our association say that its purpose is to „promote recreational, cultural and social activities in the broadest sense … through stimulating, organizing and coordinating actions and other legal means that may be beneficial thereto“. Our members have Chinese, Javanese, Dutch, Surinamese, Iraqi, Antillean and a host of other names. The origins of this variety are to be found in the history of our association.
How it all started
In the early seventies Mr. and Mrs. Siem Tjing Djien, of the International Patent Research Office, used to play tennis with a large group of friends and relatives. Colleagues of Mr. Siem’s joined in, as well as friends of his children. Soon they were playing badminton too and before long they were making music, singing, dining, dancing, playing bridge. From the very beginning the group counted both Asians and Europeans among its members. The earlier meetings were held in sports parks and at home but they outgrew the scope of a family get-together and one felt the need for an organized framework for these activities. Mrs. Siem and Mrs. Sie Khwan Djioe came up with the name 'Inisiatip' , a committee was formed, bylaws were drawn up and approved (1982). Inisiatip remains to this day - and is increasingly - an international association of people who share one characteristic feature: they are, directly or through their partner, familiar with and interested in the Dutch East Indies and Indonesia. At present the Inisiatip Choir and the Bridge Club are the most active sections. Excursions and lectures are organised. Our Music Day in November, started by the late Mrs. Emma Thio, has become a tradition, as have celebration of the Chinese New Year with ball and Dragon Dance.
We are indebted to Mr. S. Widjojoatmodjo for information on our early history.