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Knighthood for Professor Henk Schulte Nordholt

Professor Henk Schulte Nordholt was made a Knight of the Order of the Netherlands Lion on Friday 6 September 2019 for his services to the study of Indonesia. Mayor of Leiden, Henri Lenferink, presented him with his medal. This was at the end of a valedictory symposium for and a valedictory speech by Schulte Nordholt at Museum Volkenkunde, the National Museum of Ethnology.

Schulte Nordholt is held as an authority in the area of Southeast Asia and Indonesia in particular, not only in the Netherlands but all around the world. He has devoted his academic career as a historian and anthropologist to the study of Indonesia – in both the colonial and postcolonial period – and to fostering collaboration.

Henk Schulte Nordholt knighthood
Henk Schulte Nordholt expresses his gratitude.

Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Leiden

Schulte Nordholt taught anthropology and history of Asia at the University of Amsterdam from 1985 to 2005, where he was Associate Professor in Modern Asian History from 1999 to 2005. He was Professor of Asian History at Erasmus University Rotterdam from 1999 to 2007 and Professor of Southeast Asian Studies at VU Amsterdam from 2007 to 2014. He joined the Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies (KITLV) in Leiden in 2002, becoming its Head of Research in 2005, and was made KITLV Extraordinary Professor of Indonesian History at Leiden University in 2014.


Schulte Nordholt played an important role in the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences’s (KNAW) Scientific Program Indonesia Netherlands (SPIN). SPIN supports long-term collaboration between researchers and research consortiums in Indonesia and the Netherlands. It does this by funding bilateral research programmes and supporting activities that benefit both parties, with themes such as food, health and socioeconomic development.

Wide range of publications

Schulte Nordholt has numerous publications to his name. From articles about banditry and politics in our former colony to books about the reforms in Indonesia after the fall of Soeharto and the history of Southeast Asia. He also increased the academic collaboration between Indonesian universities and research centres on the one hand, and the KITLV on the other.

Chinese Indonesian Heritage Center

Schulte Nordholt was one of the founders of the Chinese Indonesian Heritage Center in 2011, which aims to preserve the heritage of the Chinese from Indonesia, who are an essential part of postcolonial and migration history in the Netherlands.

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