Guus Rozendaal about his grandfather who went to the Dutch East Indies in 1920
The Rozendaal family in the garden of their house in Meester Cornelis near Batavia
The Church Council of the Reformed Church in Solo (Grandpa far left)
the ss Tabanan of the Koninklijke Rotterdamsche Lloyd
Somewhere in this crowd Grandpa waves goodbye to his family as they leave by ship for the Netherlands.
Opa van 1939 tot begin 1940 tijdelijk vrijgezel ,
(rechts een collega):
The Zomerluststraat in Haarlem now
Grandpa Lijbert and Grandma Teuntje with my father and his sister Nannie just before leaving for the Dutch East Indies
Brother Jaap was the first child born in the Dutch East Indies, in 1922 in Meester Cornelis, a suburb of Batavia (later known as Jakarta). Seven more children followed suit. The family lived successively in the suburbs of Meester Cornelis and Weltevrede near Batavia, in Soekabumi (West Java) and in Surakarta (Solo, Central Java). Grandpa Lijbert taught at the Mulo's in those places and later became headmaster of the school in Solo.
It was a happy time for everyone. My father, Uncle Jaap and their brothers and sisters have had a very happy youth, which included holidays and outings in the mountains, being around the swimming pool, playing tennis etc. Sinterklaas and Christmas were of course also celebrated there.
This was a good illustration of the reason that many called it Tempo Doeloe (The Good Old Days).
Grandpa was also very active in the Reformed Church in the Indies:
They went to the Netherlands on leave twice (in 1927/1928 and in 1933) for a number of months. The first time they stayed with relatives in Oud-Beijerland in the old mansion "Iependaal" at the bottom of the dyke on the road to Rotterdam and the second time they stayed in a rented house in Heemstede. As the family had grown rather large it was impossible to stay for a few months at home with relatives.
Aunt Jeanne's daughter Elsbeth wrote me the following when asked about her mother's general experiences as a little girl in the Dutch East Indies and an adolescent:
"She always talked about her youth in the Dutch East Indies with some nostalgia. When the aunts were together, they often returned to stories about their youth. All the Malay words they could remember would then be recalled; it was a delight! Our grandmother was pregnant almost continuously in the Dutch East Indies. This was very hard for her; she suffered a lot from migraines but...fortunately she had her staff to take care of things.
Grandpa was headmaster of the school there and thus a person of some standard. The children enjoyed themselves in and around the house and of course accidents sometimes happened. One of the children almost drowned in a pit (dug by one of the uncles) that had filled up during a huge downpour. The holidays were spent in the mountains because of the pleasant temperature there. They also came to Holland several times "on leave" and stayed with relatives in Oud-Beijerland.
There were contacts with other Dutch families and later these contacts were continued in the Netherlands. This is the general information I can give you. For the rest it is personal experiences with girlfriends, school, sisters, brothers and the journey back to Holland. My mother has never been back to Indonesia. That is something I have never understood. When I asked her "Why not?" she answered that her memories were enough for her".
In Surakarta the basis was laid for the later passion of both my father and his brother Jaap: steam trains. As children they often played near a railway, under and on a viaduct. Since then, an interest in steam locomotives has always lain dormant in both of them.
Grandpa Lijbert (far right back) with one of his classes in the Rotterdam area
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