Universiteit Leiden

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Katja Paijens

PhD candidate

Drs. K.M. Paijens MA
+31 71 527 1646

Katja Paijens is a PhD candidate at the Institute for History.

More information about Katja Paijens

Fields of interest

  • Colonial history of Indonesia
  • Indonesian Revolution of Independence
  • Indonesia's decolonisation
  • Federalism
  • Photos as a historical resource


The PhD research of Katja Paijens will lead to a political biography of Max Alkadrie, sultan Hamid II of Pontianak (1913-1978), with a focus on his significance to the federal state formation and independence of Indonesia (1945-1950).
During the Indonesian Revolution of Independence (1945-1949) Hamid became the head of the Indonesian federalists and he was their representative at the transfer of sovereignty from the Netherlands to Indonesia on December 27th 1949. Therefor this thesis will emphasize the federal side of this history.
Hamids background and upbringing were hybrid and his life was exceptional. He was born into an aristocratic Islamic Arabic-Malay family from western Borneo, but brought up European and Christian by British governesses. His education, military training and wife were Dutch. So Hamid was Indonesian, but connected to the Dutch. He was a proponent of an independent Indonesia founded as a federal state, not a unitary state as the Republicans aimed for. Hamid’s unique position provides important insights in Indonesia’s complex process of decolonization and the different stakeholders involved in it.

This PhD position is a cooperation between the Institute for History of Leiden University and KITLV / Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Carribbean Studies, Leiden.


She studied Economical and Social History at the University of Amsterdam and Swansea University in Wales. She has mainly specialized in the imperial history of Indonesia under Dutch colonial rule and photos as a historical resource. Later on her research focus extended to the decolonization of Indonesia.
Previously she worked at the Special Collections of the Leiden University Library, Museum Bronbeek, Tropenmuseum in Amsterdam and World Press Photo.

PhD candidate

  • Faculty of Humanities
  • Institute for History
  • Algemene Geschiedenis
  • Geen relevante nevenwerkzaamheden
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