Collecting Colonial Nature: European Naturalists and the Netherlands Indies in the Early Nineteenth Century

Andreas Weber*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Abstract

The sheer variety and size of Dutch scientific collections of Indonesia’s flora and fauna are unique in the world. Gathered over the last two hundred years, they represent a shared European legacy of natural historical research and its colonial context. To understand how the entanglement of transnational and trans-imperial networks and actors within the field of natural history shaped the study of nature, this essay focuses on the history of the Natuurkundige Commissie voor Nederlandsch-Indië (Committee for Natural History of the Netherlands Indies), one of the main state-funded collecting enterprises in the early nineteenth century world. Similar to other colonial powers, the Dutch made extensive use of local informants and naturalists from other European countries. By studying the Committee’s fieldwork, this essay contributes to an entangled history of natural history and collecting in the emergent Dutch empire.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)72-95
JournalBMGN : the Low Countries historical review
Volume134
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 26 Sep 2019

Keywords

  • History of Science
  • history of natural history
  • Natural History Collections
  • Indonesia
  • Colonial history
  • science and empire
  • global history
  • Biodiversity Heritage

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