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The Royal Dutch Geographical Society and the Dutch East Indies, 1873-1914: from colonial lobby to colonial hobby
Paul van der Velde
published in Geograpy and Imperialism 1820-1940, edited by Morag Bell, Robin Butlin and Michael Hefferman, p.80-92


With the exception of one article about the history of the Royal Dutch Geographical Society which was written on the occasion of its centennial in 1973, nothing has been written about the society from a historical point of view.1 In my research into Dutch colonial policy during the age of modern imperialism (1870-1914), the Geographical Society has been an important agent. In this chapter I will try to clarify the attitude of the society towards Dutch colonial policy and also assess its influence on that policy against the background of modern imperialism. First, however, I will evaluate the present-day historical debate about modern imperialism; and the place it occupied by Dutch imperialism. I will then discuss the the nature of the society and finally provide a brief description of two scientific expeditions which it equipped: the first to Sumatra in the years 1877-79 and the second to New Guinea in the years 1904-05.

The Netherlands and modern imperialism

During the last quarter of the nineteenth century the appearance of the world changed dramatically under the influence of the industrial and technological revolutions which were then fast gaining momentum. Territories which had little or no contact with the world system, were indiscriminately incorporated into that system.2 In most cases these territories were appended to the metropolitan cores as colonies. The imperialist process was initiated by several European countries in the 1870s, and Japan and the United States joined their ranks in the 1890s. Modern imperialism reached its zenith in the last two decades of the nineteenth century. For some European nations such as Great Britain and France this entailed the extension of already existing colonial possessions. For other countries such as Germany, Belgium, Japan and the United States; which did not yet have colonial possessions, it marked their emergence as imperial powers.
Notwithstanding the decline in its political power since the begin-ning of the eighteenth century, The Netherlands still possessed the major part of its seventeenth-century empire. It can be defined as a commercial empire, in contrast with the British empire, which was based on territorial power over vast stretches of land. In 1820 effective Dutch control of the Dutch East Indies was limited to a minor part of Java. The rest of the Dutch East Indies, refered to as the Outer Territories, was only nominally under Dutch control. In fact, the Dutch East Indies were at this stage an ambitious territorial claim which did not mirror global political realities. The Dutch government was perceptive enough not to join in the race for new territories in the 1870s. Nevertheless, from 1830 onwards it had marginally increased Dutch control in the Indies. According to the current historical debate two periods can be distinguished in this process of the extension of territorial control.
During the first or informal period, from 1830 to 1894, the marginal tightening of control may be attributed to the resident colonial officials, while the government officially observed a policy of non-intervention in the Outer Territories - the so-called `abstention policy' (onthoudings-pollitiek). The second or formal period, from 1894 to 1914, was initiated by a successful military expedition to Lombok in 1894, which touched a responsive nationalistic chord in The Netherlands 3 In 1896 the formulation of the pacification policy put an end to the abstentionism to which the government had tenaciously adhered for so long. From now on it was the central government which took the initiative in extending its control over the Outer Territories. The pacification policy was made palpable for all in 1901, when ethical arguments were adduced in sup-port of a colonial policy or'mission civilisatrice', and which cured the Dutch of their phobia of colonialism which they had nurtured for three-quarters of a century. In 1904 the Aceh war, which had lasted thirty years, was ended and at the close of the age of modern imperialism in 1914, the Pax Neerlandica prevailed in the whole archipelago.
This sweeping change in the relationship between mother country and colony was in part effected by the abolition in 1870 of the so-called `Cultuurstelsel' of forced crop deliveries which paved the way for a liberalisation of this relationship. Private initiative, no longer hindered by official restrictions, was then free to take root in the archipelago, especially in Java. By contrast, the government was limited in its free-dom of action by the Aceh War, which devoured a large part of the Dutch Indies budget. Furthermore, it was empeded from extending its control over the Outer Territories by an international economic crisis, which lasted until 1895.
In spite of, or maybe because of this economic crisis, a strong growth trend can be traced in the number of private enterprises which founded subsidiaries in the Dutch East Indies. The increasing inter-meshing of the economies of The Netherlands and the Dutch East Indies and the increasing nationalisticc involvement between them - 'Indies lost, disastrous cost' - brought about the collapse of the abstention policy in the mid-1890s. In short, national and economic motives were the cause of its collapse. At the same time imperialism was globalised when Japan and the United States started to compete in the imperialist race at the beginning of the 1890s. It was imperative that the Dutch government strengthen its position in the Dutch East Indies in order to remain a credible coloniser. In the current debate about modem imperialism The Netherlands are conspicuously absent.4 On the face of it, this seems to be a paradox. Did not the Dutch possess an empire whose territorial extent was exceeded only by Britain, Russia and France? The fact that the concept of modern imperialism is strongly related to the expansion of the European powers in the last quarter of the nineteenth century, especially in Africa, perhaps helps to explain the absence of The Netherlands from the historical debate. In the Second Sumatra Treaty signed with Great Britain it 1872, it exchanged its last possession in Africa-Elmina on the coast of Ghana - for freedom of action in Sumatra. This was to plunge both countries into costly colonial wars: namely, the Ashanti war and the Aceh war. As a basis of a reassessement of The Netherlands within the framework of modern imperialism, I propose to divide modern imperialism into two phases: the appropriation phase, 1870-95, during which the great powers occupied vast territories; and the perpetuation phase, 1895-1914, during which the grip on these newly acquired territories was strengthened. The Dutch Geographical Society, which was founded in 1873, has a role in such a reassessment, and it is also possible to view the foundation of the society within the framework of the increase of private initiative in the Dutch East Indies.

The nature of the Royal Dutch Geographical Society

In February 1873 our geography teachers from grammar schools founded a geographical society based on principles in line with the broad geographical movement in Europe at that time. In their view, the foundation of such society could stimulate and channel the nascent interest in geography. This awakening interest in geography was not surprising in an age in which 'La geographie est devenue la philosophie de la terre [in which geography had become the philosophy of the earth]' 5 The increase in geographical knowledge resulting from these explorations would benefit trade, industry, shipping and plans for colonisation. The founders informed like-minded people of their intentions and this resulted in a meeting in the rooms of the Diligentia dub in Amsterdam on 2 March 1873.
The meeting was presided over by Professor P. j. Veth, who, with the first secretary of the society, C. M. Kan, can be considered to be the founders of modern scientific geography in The Netherlands. Veth was already well known for his standard works in the field of colonial geography, which at that time included anthropology and ethnography of the Dutch East Indies.6 The discussions about the goals of the society during that first meeting centred on the question of whether the society could restrict itself to increasing geographical knowledge or whether it should also engage in disseminating that knowledge. In other words: should the organisation be of a practical or of a scientific nature? The practical path was chosen unanimously: 'Even the semblance of a learned society should be avoided.' 7 In this manner the society followed the pragmatic tendency which had manifested itself from 1870 onwards in other European geographical societies.
The meeting also decided that education should be a goal of the society but this should not be explicitly stressed. Nevertheless a lobby launched by the Geographical Society for the founding of the first chair of geography in The Netherlands bore fruit in 1877 when this was established at the University of Amsterdam, which was founded the same year. Until the beginning of the twentieth century, Kan, the first professor of geography, devoted his courses to colonial geography.8 Examination of a collection of eighty letters written by Kan to Veth, reveals that all attempts by Kan to theorise were stifled by Veth, who stressed the practice ~ nature which he believed geography should have.9
This is why there was not much theorising about geography in The Netherlands until the beginning of the twentieth century. Dutch geographers leaned heavy on theories developed in France and Germany. It may be interesting to note that ten years later, in 1887, the Royal Geographical Society succeeded after much lobbying in establishing a Readership in geography at the University of Oxford. In a report of the society drawn up in 1886 it came to the conclusion that:

there is no country that can less afford to dispense with geographical knowledge than England . . . [yet] there are few countries in which a high order of geographical teaching is so little encouraged. The interests of England are as wide as the world. Her colonies, her commerce, her emigrations, her wars her missionaries, and her scientific explorers bring her into contact with all parts of the globe, and it is therefore a matter of imperial importance that no reasonable means should be neglected of training her youth in sound geographical knowledge. 10

The same strictures could have been applied to the Dutch situation. One of the other questions addressed by the Dutch Geographical Society concerned the encouragement of emigration. Only a slight majority was in favour of this policy. The opponents argued that by encouraging emigration the society would be considered to be one of colonisers. As will be seen, this strong anti-colonisation lobby would decline in less than a year. The foundation meeting of the Geographical Society on 3 June 1893 was attended by forty-four people. In his inaugural address the president, Veth, reviewed the two main goals of the society, which followed naturally from each other: the nationalistic goal of striving for and maintaining ancestral pride; and the dual scientific-economic goal of increasing and propagating geographical knowledge. Drawing his inspiration from Darwinism, Veth rejected the idea that The Netherlands would not be able to survive competition with the big powers. He focused the attention of his audience on the vast colonial heritage of The Netherlands, which, according to him, was respected by every civilised nation. This colonial heritage - the Dutch East Indies, in particular - offered excellent opportunities for adding to the sum of geographical knowledge. The geographical knowledge thus acquired should then be disseminated in order to increase the possibilities for opening up new trade routes.11
After the inaugural address the board members were chosen. In a commemorative lecture on the occasion of its tenth anniversary, Veth commented on the composition of the board: 'that representatives of trade, industry, the army and navy were represented on the board together with teachers of geography . . . guarantees the interests of science and pragmatism . 12 The closing address at the foundation meeting, again given by Veth dealt with the Aceh war, which had broken out at the end of March 1873. His talk was based on his booklet' Acehnese-Dutch relations' which had been published in May. In this booklet Veth spoke his mind freely: 'It is my conviction that in our struggle with the Acehnese, we represent civilisation and humanity in the face of barbarism and cruelty . . let there be no doubt that we must pursue this just war.'13
During the first months of its existence the society concentrated on Aceh as a future field for research. It petitioned the colonial secretary very energetically and after the first expedition had turned out to be a complete failure, it pressed strongly for a second military expedition to Aceh. The society blamed the failure of the expidition, and previous expeditions to other territories, on a lack of geographical knowledge: 'If only we had possessed geographical knowledge of these territories blood and treasures could háve been spared.'14 In this very argument lay a basis for the growing popularity of geographical science, because in coming to terms with their defeat at Sedan at the hands of the Germans, for example, France had also blamed its defeat on the lack of geographical knowledge of its officers.
The interests of the society were by no means limited to the Dutch Esst Indies but extended to other parts of the world.15 The Polar region, the Congo River and southern Africa also enjoyed the attention of the society. A predominantly nationalist motive accounted for its interest in the North Pole. The society was under the impression that Spitsbergen was still a Dutch possession. This is understandable in view of the fact that before the Berlin Conference of 1885, actual occupation of territory was not a precondition of ownership. An acknowledged claim sufficed. The economic motive concentrated on reviving the once flourishing whaling industry. The society's interest in the Congo River was governed by an economic motive. The Rotterdam-based Afrikaansche Handelsvereeniging [African Trade Society) had a large network of trading posts along the Congo River which comprised a sort of informal empire. The society's interest can also be explained from a strategic point of view, since the territory bordered on the colonial possessions of other countries in southern Africa. The society's special interest in southern Africa was dictated by national sentiments due to kinship with the southern African Boers. The society viewed the Boers as the torchbearers of national Dutch vitality, in which their brethren in The Netherlands were completely deficient. In the view of the society, southern Africa with its enormous economic potential was the ideal region for Dutch emigration. Would this be the opportunity to create a Dutch-speaking cultural and economic empire, an opportunity which it had missed in the seven-teenth century? leaving aside the pan-Dutch dream which continued to linger in the background, it transpired that the society's other ideas met with wide response in upper-class bourgeois circles, which is borne out by the number of such persons who became members of the society. Prince Hendrik, nicknamed the Seafarer, gave his support by becoming patron of the society. He expected good results for trade and industry from the society. This royal support was made evident when in 1888 the society was granted the right to call itself the Royal Dutch Geographical Society. In the space of three years the Geographical Society had become in effective colonial lobby, which bore overt witness to its imperialist nature. Equipping a scientific expedition to the land of economic promise, Sumatra, was a concrete expression of this nature.

The Sumatra expedition (1877-79)

The economic goal of this expedition- the discovery of a transportation route for the coal of the: Ombilin Field, which had been discovered in the 1860s - was inextrically interwoven with the underlying political goal: expansion of effective control in that part of Sumatra through which the society expected to find a transportation route. This area was controlled by Sultan Taha, who had been driven out of Palembang in 1858 and had sworn to kill every Dutchman who tried to set foot on his territory. Everybody with some knowledge of the political conditions prevailing in Sumatra should have been aware of the risks the expedition members were running. Furthermore, in the past it had frequently been the case that the murder of a Dutchman by natives had given impetus for military expeditions which had sometimes led to expansion of effective control.
Since the majority of the Dutch in the Dutch East Indies were opposed to these kinds of provocation, they also opposed the scientific expedition of the society because they viewed it as a veiled attempt to extend control over Sumatra in an amoral way. 'It is evident that this private expedition ... will have to be backed up by a military expedition ... but in extending our control moral means should prevail over military violence."' 16 Although under pressure from Governor-General J. W. van Lansberge, the Council of the Dutch East Indies had decided to fund the expedition, but it was opposed to the extension of effective control in the Outer Territories as were the government of the interior and the army. Their fear of creating a second Aceh was deep rooted because of its possible military and financial consequences. Notwithstanding the support of the Governor-General, the provincial government and the navy, their room for manoeuvre was limited by the non-cooperation of the aforementioned branches of government. Van Lansberge was quite clear about what was at stake: 'The expedition will not only enhance our scientific knowledge but will also increase our political influence in the heartland of Sumatra. In the course of time it can eliminate the distrust of the natives for the Europeans and give them the correct view.' 17
In The Netherlands the expedition received much support from influential members of the society. Also by partly funding the expedition, the Dutch parliament backed the society's initiative. More significant still was the support of the two colonial secretaries involved in the planning and execution stages of the expedition. Nevertheless, both secretaries, W. van Goltstein and F. Alting Mees, continued to reiterate in a somewhat hypocritical way that the private character of the expedition should be maintained at all times. However, they were fully aware that the so-called private character of the expedition meant little in an environment in which every white man was looked upon as a representative of Dutch authority. Therefore one can draw the conclusion that Dutch colonial secretaries were prepared to run the risk of an unnecessary military expedition.
Disregarding staunch opposition in the Dutch East Indies, Van Lansberge planned to create an incident on the basis of a tried and tested recipe. After the first attempt by the expedition members to penetrate into Jambi had failed because one of the vessals of Sultan Taha, the Roja of Singuntur, had barred the way, the Governor-General gratefully accepted the'proposal' of the Governor of Palembang, A. Pruys van der Hoeven. The latter proposed sending a gunboat up the Batang Hari River to a rendezvous where he would await the arrival of the expedition members. Citing one of the provincial officials, Van Canne: 'If Pruys van der Hoeven succeeds in steaming up river, I think the malevolent Roja of Siguntur will back down."' This hope remained unfulfilled because the Roja managed to stop the expedition members for a second time. They failed to reach the rendezvous and the Governor of Palembang was forced to return to Palembang due to a fall in the water level of the river. Neither did the showing of the flag have the desired intimidating effect, since the gunboat was spotted by only a few natives. In the absence of a direct confrontation between the Governor and the Sultan, no incident occurred which would have warranted the launching of a military expedition. An attempt later that year by expedition members to penetrate the Limun territory was doomed to failure due to a lack of military support which, it turned out, was a precondition to any successful attempt to penetrate the heartland of Sumatra. The telegram from the leader of the expedition to the president of the organising committee in The Netherlands, Veth, bears testimony to the failure of the expedition. 'Armed people-,stop-forced us-stop-leave Limoen-stop-travel Djambi impossible-stop-ask instructions-stop.' 19
The unrest created by the expedition in Sumatra (and Java) inspired the third colonial secretary involved - Van Bosse (a wealthy sugar plantation owner) - to let the expedition die a natural death. In his opinion the extension of effective control should be accomplished gradually by provincial officials. 'I think it would be an advantage if our provincial officials are able to act when they think the time is ripe and that their actions should no longer be complicated by the peregrinations of the scientific expedition of the Geographical Society.'20 If Van Bosse had lived longer-he died at the beginning of 1879- the political aim and its concomitant economic goal might eventually have been realised, albeit in a roundabout way.
But Van Bosse's successor, O. van Rees, a repatriated member of the Council of Dutch East Indies, was a staunch supporter of the abstention policy. Van Lansberg whose tenure was drawing to a close, could not but concede to the point of view of the new colonial secretary. The same was true for the society, whose president attributed the failure of the expedition to the fact that the political conditions in Sumatra had been completely misrepresented by the colonial government. According to him the most important outcome of the expedition was that it had disclosed the true nature of the prevailing political conditions in Sumatra, which he and the society would like to have imagined other-wise.21

The society in the 1880s and 1890s

The attempts by the society to organise similar expeditions to other parts of the Outer Territories at the beginning of the 1880s, for example to New Guinea at the height of the Berlin Conference, failed due to lack of support from parliament and the Colonial Ministry. Nevertheless the society funded a one-man expedition by the son of its president to Benguela in southern Africa. It was a complete failure and resulted in the death of Veth's son. In contrast to government circles, the trade and industry sector continued to support the society's expedition plans. At the end of the 1880,. the society succeeded in obtaining support from the government for one-man expedition to Flores.
A. Wichmann, a geologist, was sent to Flores by the society to verify the rumours about rich tin deposits on that island. The expedition did not bear fruit but Wichmann's remark that the Kokka tribe had shown itself very friendly towards the Dutch nation began to take on a life of its own. On the basis of Wichmann's remarks, both the Resident of Timor, G. G. de Villeneuve and the director of the Department of Education and Religion, W. P. Groeneveldt, a future president of the society, were in favour of sending a government expedition to the tribal area of the Kokkas. The mining engineer, R. van Schelle, who was sent to Flores at the end of 1889 barely escaped with his life after his expedition was attacked by the 'Dutch-loving' Kokka tribe. This incident provoked a military expedition, which was sent to Flores in May 1890 and resulted in the pacification of the Kokkas. Again the aspirations of the society had been served in a roundabout manner. 22
The society's pioneering role in promoting an imperialist policy was taken over by the Society for the Advancement of Scientific Research in the Dutch Colonies, founded in 1890. It operated from The Netherlands as well as from the Dutch East Indies, which had obvious advantages. Its many expeditions to the sensitive Borneo region played a crucial role hi extending effective control there.23 In the meanwhile the decline in membership of the society which had set in in the middle of the 1980s continued. In these years the society gradually embraced a more scientific course, thus narrowing its support base. At the end of the century the membership had dropped by 30 per cent in comparison to the 1885 figure of nearly one thousand members.

As mentioned earlier, economic and social interrelations between The Netherlands and the Dutch East Indies were multiplying. Thus, pressure on the government to abolish the abstention policy continued to mount. This internal pressure was stepped up by external pressure arising from the participation of Japan and the United States in the imperial race, which forced the Dutch to strengthen their position in the Dutch East Indies: an archipelago that bordered the spheres of influence of both newcomers. Therefore the abstention policy was definitively replaced by the pacification policy. Aceh served as guinea pig for the implementation of this policy which was vigorously pursued by General J. B. van Heutsz. The strong nationalist upsurge resulting from the outcry of indignation about the imperialism of Great Britain at the outbreak of the Boer War paradoxically cleared the way for an active imperialist policy, which, in 1901, was given the misleading label of 'ethical'.

The south-west New Guinea expedition (1904-05)24

The Society thrived on the surge of nationalism. The new president, J. W. Ijzerman, and the new secretary, A. L. van Hasselt, capitalised on this trend and the membership surpassed the 1885 level, reaching 1,200 members. Due to a financial reorganisation by the Amsterdam banker, A. W. van Eeghen, the Society re-emerged ready for the fray. Its attention now was directed both to east and west. Between 1900 and 1914 it co-sponsored seven expeditions to Surinam. Furthermore it was a ready tool in the hands of the Colonial Secretary, A. F. W. Idenburg, who within the framework of the 'ethical' policy, strove to fill the many blank spots of the map of New Guinea. In choosing between the expedition plans of the Society for the Advancement of Scientific Research in the Colonies and the Geographical Society, the colonial secretary opted for the plan of the latter because it was aimed at a topographical survey of the island. Idenburg gave the expedition military support. Only one socialist protested about the expedition plans when these were brought before parliament, but, apart from this, there was no opposition whatsoever. This was symptomatic of the change in attitude which had taken place in Dutch and Dutch East Indies societies in the space of thirty years.
The expedition was a failure. There were conflicts between the representative of the society and the commander of the troops and the accessibility of the terran had been over-estimated. Furthermore the protracted digestion of the meagre results lasted until 1908 when a book about the expedition was published.25 This made it clear that the society could not be used as an instrument of policy. On the advice of H. Colijn, a future prime minister, a government team was established which, by the time it was disbanded in 1915, had mapped 80 per cent of New Guinea. Thereafter, he society resigned itself to purely scientific pursuits.


Due to the emphasis in the debate on modem imperialism in its first appropriation phase, historians are still of the opinion that Dutch imperialism did not exist. However, when we take the perpetuation phase into consideration, it becomes clear that the Dutch with their pinnacle of Dutch imperialism can be located in the period 1900-1914. The subjection of the whole archipelago, 'From Sabang to Merauke', the Dutch equivalent of the British influence from 'the Cape to Cairo', meant that the Dutch had become the fourth largest imperial power.
The foundation of the society in 1873 occurred in the initial years of the appropriation period. Within a few years the society became the rallying place for pro-imperialist forces in Dutch society which were nationalistically, culturally and economically motivated. Thus the society metamorphosed into a colonial lobby which denounced the conservative colonial policy of the government. Under the veil of a scientific expedition to Sumatra, it tried to torpedo the government's policy. The conservatives held the upper hand until 1895, when under external and internal pressure which had been building up during the appropriation period, their policy was replaced by an agressively imperialistic one.
During the latter period, the society helped to lay the foundation for the new imperial policy - the pacification policy which the society wholeheartedly supported during the perpetuation stage. However, its expedition to New Guinea proved to be a political failure. It turned out that the society could not be used as an instrument of policy. The society would resign itself during the last years of imperialism (1914-40) to purely scientific pursuits in an empire which it had helped to found.


1 R. Schrader, 'Honderd jaar Koninklijk Nederlands Aardrijkskundig Genootschap, 1873-1973', Geografisch Tijdschrift, 8, 1974, pp. 1-164.

2 I. Wallerstein, The Modem World System: Capitalist Agriculture and the Origins of the European World Economy in the Sixteenth Century, New York, 1974.

3 C. Fasseur, 'Een koloniale paradox. Nederlandse expansie in de Indonesische archipel in het midden van de negentiende eeuw, 1830-1870', Tijdschrift voor Geschiedenis, 92, 1979, pp. 162-86. See also, M. Kuitenbrower, The Netherlands and the Rise of Modem Imperialism, New York, 1991.

4 H. L. Wesseling, 'Bestond er een Nederlands imperialisme?' Tijdschrift voor Geschiedenis, 99, 1986, pp. 214-25.

5 H. Brirnsehwig, Mythes et réalitiés de ]'imperialisme colonial Francais, Paris, 1960, p. 24.

6 P. G. E. I. J. van der Velde, 'De projectie van een Groter Nederland. P. J. Veth en de popularisering van Nederlands-Indie, 1848-1895', Tijdschrift voor Geschiedenis, 105, pp. 367-82. P. G. E. I. J. van der Velde, 'P. J. Veth (1814-1895/ as empire-builder', in R. Kirstner (ed.), The Low Countries and Beyond, Los Angeles, 1993, pp. 13-27. It is interesting to learn that Veth had just flnished his translation of A. R. Wallaces, The Malay Archipelago, which would inspire him to write his three-volume standard work on Java.

7 Tijdschrift van het Aardrijkskundig Genootschap (TAG), 1, 1876, p. 5.

8 J. van Beurden, C. M. Kan (1837-1919). Zijn opvattingen over de geografie in relatie tot die van zijn tijdgenoten in het buitenland', Nijmegen, 1988 (MA thesis).

9 Universiteitsbibliotheek Leiden. Collectie Westerse handschriften, BPL 1756

10 D.R. Stoddart, On Geography and Its History, Oxford, 1986, p. 87

11 TAG, 1, 1876,p.6. i

12 TAG, 2 (second series), 1885, p. 144.

13 P. J. Veth, Atchin's betrekkingen tot Nederland, Leiden, 1873, p. 132.

14 TAG, 1, 1876, pp. 11-12.

15 The following is based on my MA thesis: P. G. E. I. J. van der Velde, 'Een vergeten koloniale lobby. Het koninklijk Nederlands Aardrijkskundig Genootschap en Sumatra, 1874-1879', Univrsity of Leiden, 1986.

16 Java Bode, 16 augustus 1877.

17 Dutch State Archives, The Hague. Archives of the Ministry of Colonies, 1850-1900. Letter of Van Lansberge to Van Goltstein of 24 June 1876.

18 State Archive, Utrecht. Arcives of the Royal Dutch Geographical Society. Letter of Van Canne to Van Hasselt of 2 March 1878, in a map on the Sumatra expedition.

19 Ibid., Telegram of Van Hasselt to Veth, 22 July 1878.

20 General State Archive, The Hague. Archives of the Ministry of Colonies, 1850-1900. Letter of Van Bosse to Van Lansberge of 2 November 1878.

21 Midden Sumatra. Reizen en onderzoekingen der Sumatra expeditie, uitgerust door het Aardrijkskundig Genootschap, 1877-79, Leiden, 1881, p. 8.

22 P. Jobse, 'De tin-expeditie naar Flores, 1887-1891', University of Utrecht, 1980 (MA thesis).

23 A. A. Pulle, 'Overzicht van de lotgevallen en werkzaamheden van de Maatschappij ter bevordering van het Natuurkundig Onderzoek der Nederlandse Kolonien', Bulletin ter bevordering van het Natuurkundig Onderzoek der Nederlandse Kolonien, 99, 1940, pp. 1-84, 22.

24 P. G. E.I. J. van der Velde, De Zuidwest Nieuw-Guinea expeditie van het Koninklijk Nederlandsch Aardrijkskundig Genootschap, 1904-05, Leiden, 1983

25 De Zuidwest Nieuw-Guinea Expeditie 1904-05,van het Koninklijk Nederlandsch Aardrijkskundig Genootschap, Leiden, 1908

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