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12 Long Term Effects of Imperialism in Indonesia

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Imperialism is a policy in which a large state can take control or governance over other regions so that the country can be nurtured or developed. It was noted, there are 3 major nations that first perform the activities of colonialism and imperialism in Indonesia. The three nations are Portuguese, Spanish, English and Dutch.

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Moreover, Japan also started to make a rule in Indonesia not so long after Dutch decided to leave Indonesia.

All of those colonialism and Imperialism activity of course gives some long term effects toward Indonesia. Here are the list of long term effects of imperialism and colonialism in Indonesia.

  1. The construction of Anyer – Panarukan become the national road until today

Highway Post is a road that with approximately 1000 km length, stretched from Anyer to Panarukan. This highway was built during the Dutch colonial period under the leadership of Governor General Herman Willem Daendels. Remarkably, the road that runs along the north of Java Island was built only within a span of 1 year in 1808.

Currently, the Highway Post is better known by the title of Jalan Pantai Utara (Pantura). This road is the way of the monumental work of Daendels because it can shorten the travel time from Surabaya to Batavia which was originally taken for 40 days, then can be shortened to 7 days. Despite the age of this road has been 200 years old, it is still in use today. In fact, this road became the only one access to Anyer.

  1. The start of education Indonesia

Through the imperialism, education in Indonesia was started to develop. Although in the early stage of Dutch colonialism it was just the upper class of Indonesians who could get the proper education, but the Japanese started to give the good early start for Indonesians. Step by step the education system started to increase after the imperialism. Up to now, the education system in Indonesia is still in a development. No matter what, it could happen due to the effect of imperialism in Indonesia.

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  1. The fortress become a historical tourism

History noted, the Dutch colonized Indonesia for approximately 350 years. While Japan colonised Indonesia for 3,5 years. The other imperialism were done by Portuguesse, Spain, and England that colonized some regions in Indonesia.

Besides leaving traces of unspeakable suffering, can not be denied  that the imperialism also left many buildings of high artistic value. One of them is the fortresses of defense. Not just one or two, there are dozens of imperialism heritage fort which is now widely used as historical tourism. The most popular fortress is Van Der Wick in Gombong and Vestenburg in Surakarta, Central Java.

  1. Skill in agriculture for Indonesia keeps improving through the Dutch imperialism

The system of forced cultivation was introduced slowly from 1830 to 1835. By 1840 the system had been fully operational in Java. The colonial government mobilized farmland, buffaloes, cattle, and all-free labor. The commodities of coffee, tea, tobacco, sugarcane which demand on the world market was good was cultivated.

For the Dutch East Indies colonial government, this system worked great. Because between 1831-1871 Batavia not only built itself, but had a net result of 823 million guilders for cash in the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Generally, more than 30 percent of the royal budget came from Batavia. In the 1860s, 72% of Royal Netherlands’s revenues were donated from the Dutch.

Directly or indirectly, Batavia became a source of capital. For example, finance a luxurious Dutch national railway. The Dutch royal treasury had a surplus. Up to now, Indonesia could develop the skill in agriculture.

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  1. Indonesia become popular in the world

Due to the imperialism, Indonesia becomes more popular since then. Many countries in the world recognized that Indonesia is a rich country with beautiful archipelago. Many foreigners come to Indonesia to do some researches.

Moreover, Indonesia has the beautiful nature that would make the foreign tourists being attracted to visit Indonesia. Fortunately, after the imperialism, Indonesia became really well known.


  1. Remaining the bad memory

It couldn’t be denied that the imperialism in Indonesia remained such a bad memory. Most of Indonesians people got killed due the imperialism. Some children lost their parents as well lost their home due to the war for the independence. Indonesian women were discriminated during the period of imperialism.

Moreover, they were forced to serve colonialist and become their wives. It left the saddest story ever toward the history Indonesia.

  1. The government house construction that still used

Although imperialism showed a sense of cruelty during some periods, they did a contribution toward the development of governor and some official states building in Indonesia. Most of the constructions were done during the Dutch colonialism era.

Moreover, the good quality of Dutch construction was become one of consideration that the buildings are still used up to now. Even when it was no longer being used, the building would become a museum that provides some magical stories of imperialism.

  1. The Dutch provides many abroad education scholarship for Indonesians

To cover up their mistake in the past, Dutch government provide many scholarship for those Inonesians who want to study abroad in Netherland. There are hundreds of scholarship that available every year.

Every year there are scholarships for short courses and magister program exclusively for Indonesian students only. It is special awarded for Indonesian students. There are no competitors from other countries, only Indonesian students only. (Read also: How to Study in Indonesia)

  1. The good bilateral relation between Indonesia-Dutch

The bilateral relations between Indonesia and Dutch are currently at a special level. Both countries now have Comprehensive Partnership Agreement (CPA), a form of the highest agreement in bilateral relations. The value of Indonesia-Netherlands trade in 2016 amounted to 4 billion US dollars with a surplus of 1.5 billion US dollars.

Indonesia’s largest export to the Netherlands is the non-oil and gas sector, such as CPO, textiles, and chemicals. While the Netherlands’s largest export to Indonesia goods for manufacturing needs such as heavy machinery due to Dutch technology is now progressing rapidly.

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  1. Ethical Politics as the start of education development in Indonesia

The Ethical Policy is a thought that states that the Dutch holds moral responsibility for indigenous prosperity. This thinking is a critique of the politics of forced cultivation.

The emergence of ethics pioneered by Pieter Brooshooft (journalist De Locomotief) and C.Th. van Deventer (politician) turned out to open the eyes of the colonial government to pay more attention to the fate of the underdeveloped natives. Due to ethical politics, some of educations in Indonesia spread really well.

  1. The unity of Indonesian

Through imperialism, Indonesians people who have a lot of diversities started to unite. They unite all of their power to get the independence without looking at any culture, religion, racism, even tribe. Together, they get stronger to fight for Independence. The youngsters from all parts Indonesia make a unity to make a war strategy of fighting to imperialism. Since then, Indonesia becomes a country with good tolerance. They could live happily together with various diversities.

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  1. Military skill through imperialism

Early 1943, the Pacific War situation began to change, the expansion of the Japanese army successfully stopped. Due to the exhaustion of manpower, the Japanese realized that they needed support from the inhabitants of each occupied territory, the Japanese military government began to think of mobilizing Indonesian youth to help fight against allies.

Japan then formed the defense units as a place for Indonesian young men in the military field. Youths who were members of various defense entities become educated and trained youth in the military. In the struggle for independence and the struggle to preserve Indonesian Independence in the future, this military trainer will be very useful.

Those are the long term effects of imperialism. Some of them might give positive effects although there would be the negatives too. However, the imperialism in Indonesia has been ended. As Indonesians, we should have moved on from the past.

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