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Layered loyalties: the Natuurkundige Commissie in the Netherlands Indies (1820-1850)

This dissertation, Layered Loyalties: The Natuurkundige Commissie in the Netherlands Indies (1820-1850), studies the Natuurkundige Commissie.

P.T. van Wingerden
10 oktober 2023
Thesis in Leiden Repository

The Commissie was established by Royal Decree on May 2, 1820, by King Willem I and its purpose was to ‘to promote the knowledge of the natural condition and the products [of nature] of our possessions in the East Indies.’ Between 1820 and 1842, eight members and six assistants were appointed and sent to the Dutch East Indies. An additional two members and 14 assistants were appointed in the East Indies. These 30 naturalists mapped the nature of the Netherlands Indies over a period of 30 years until the Commissie was dissolved in 1850. 
The main goal of this dissertation is to find out how the Natuurkundige Commissie functioned across space (between the Netherlands and the Indies) and time (over a period of thirty years). Studying the relationship between the participants and the three main stakeholders (the Dutch government, the natural history museum in Leiden, and the colonial government) of the Commissie leads to a new understanding of how the Commissie functioned and fulfilled its intended purposes.

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