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
How it all started
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.