Workshop on Historical Data for Inner-City Development

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Workshop participants looking at a historic map

On 27 and 28 October 2014, the National Archives of Indonesia (ANRI) in Jakarta hosted 'Collecting and Connecting', a workshop organized by the Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands (RCE), the National Archives of the Netherlands (NA), Pusat Dokumentasi Arsitektur (PDA) and ANRI. Participants of the workshop were policy makers from various Indonesian cities, representatives of of Indonesian heritage organizations and architecture students.

Revitalizing old city centers by finding new uses for inner city buildings is a challenge that many Indonesian cities face. Following a request from Indonesia, the workshop was organized to discuss and explain how and why historical research can help these processes.

During the first day of the workshop representatives from ANRI, RCE, NA and PDA discussed various aspects of inner city revitalization. They also presented examples and methods on how to address inner city revitalization. In addition to these presentations Pauline K.M. van Roosmalen, an architecture historian specialized in late colonial and post-colonial architecture and town planning in Indonesia, discussed the digital repository for sources on European colonial architecture developed by Delft University of Technology.

Together with colleague architectural historian Huib Akihary, Van Roosmalen devised, prepared and tutored the second day of the workshop. The second day was very practical and hands-on experience for the participants. After they spend the morning conducting desk-top research, the participants were invited to study and use archival documents from the ANRI collection in the afternoon. Consulting the original documents and thus being eye to eye with tactile sources about the past thrilled many of the participants.

Following the workshop, Akihary, Van Roosmalen and Nadia Purwestri were invited to write a tool kit about the architecture historical methodology. The result, Digging4Data:How to do research on the built environment in Indonesia, 1620-1950, was published in 2016.

The Indonesian version of the tool kit is available online and in hard copy. Hard copies are distributed by and via PDA. The English version of the tool kit is available online via

The tool kit was presented in Jakarta in 23 November 2017. Following the presentation, ANRI hosted another ‘hands-on’ workshop organized by RCE, NA and PDA: 'Historical Data for Heritage Conservation'.

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