Nearly fifteen years VOC service in Bengal: Jan Albert Sichterman

February 8, 2019

Not much personal information from Dutch life in Bengal or any other of Dutch settlements in India can be found in the VOC archives in the State Archives. The reason for that is that the VOC correspondence only covered official and business information written by VOC employees and shared with the local head office and the central office in The Netherlands, The VOC also censored all letters. An exception can be made for Jan Albert Sichterman (1692-1764), who spent nearly 15 years in Bengal. In 1742 he used his own money to build a church tower near the river in Chinsurah.

That we know a bit more about his and his family’s life is due to a personal history dug up by a descendent in the Sichterman family. Wiet Kühne-van Diggelen.

Wiet wrote the book in Dutch. For my research for the Indian specialists working on the revamp of the Dutch heritage in Chinsurah I summarized her book about Jan Sichterman. See Nearly fifteen years VOC service in Bengal: Jan Albert Sichterman.

Next Dutch heritage tour

January 7, 2019

In February and March Chris and I are going to do another heritage tour in India. We’ll be visiting Bheemunipatnam (Bimilipatnam in earlier days) on the Coromandel coast.

Later we’ll revisit the Dutch cemeteries in Surat and Bharuch that I visited once in 1989. We are curious to find out what is left of our shared heritage there.

Jan Albert Sichterman in Bengal

December 22, 2017

Not much personal information from Dutch life in Bengal or any other of Dutch settlements in India can be found in the VOC archives in the State Archives. The reason for that is that the VOC correspondence only covered official and business information, written by VOC employees and shared with the local head office and the central office in The Netherlands, The VOC also censored all letters. An exception can be made for Jan Albert Sichterman (1692-1764), who spent nearly 15 years in Bengal.

I translated this information from Dutch using selections mainly from a recent book written by a descendant and various other sources.

Jan Albert Sichterman (1692-1764)

My VOC in India bibliography

December 22, 2017

My annotated collection on VOC in India started in 1988 and comprises nearly 450 titles. I have grouped them on the various regions and on two interesting VOC employees. The last category gives interesting views from esteemed Indian historians about the Dutch presence. They include comparisons between the Portuguese, Dutch and British actions in India.

Bharoch/Surat/Gujarat
Chinsurah/ West Bengal
Cochin/Malabar
Coromandel (Sadras/Pulikat)
Ceylon
General
Haafner
Sichterman
Indian views

What is left in Nagapatnam

October 31, 2017

In December 2013 Christiaan and I drive some 65 kilometres from Tranquebar (with Danish heritage) to Nagaptanam. There we drifts ask our driver to go to the beach and harbour are, with the help of Bauke Van der Pol’s VOC in India book we find the Dutch heritage.

Cochin: best preserved Dutch heritage

October 7, 2017

Cochin, the old town, Fort Cochin, Bolgatty Palace and Vypeen provide the best preserved Dutch heritage in India.  Here old Dutch remains are being integrated in Cochin by making them part of life in this Kerala harbour town. Municipalities, INTACH and private Indians have teamed up to turn then into commercial viable operations for tourism and cultural development.

Three old Dutch houses formed the basis of David Hall that is now a cafe art house. Bolgatty Palace turned into a hotel, so did a few other old colonial buildings in old Cochin. A new promenade has many visitors strolling past the revamped Dutch bastion. From one of the hotels one can do a Duct heritage walk that has been developed by Bauke van der Pol.

There are other Dutch remains that are worth exploring, including on Vypeen.

 

Students from Kolkata college visit Dutch heritage in Chinsurah

June 15, 2017

On 21 April 2017 31 students and 4 teachers of the Mrinalini Datta Mahavidyapith college in Birati Kolkata visited Chinsura for one day educational visit. This has been made possible by my idea and motivation, and the cooperation rendered by the India Netherlands Friendship Society. Mr. Ganesh Nandy has constantly remained in touch to welcome the students of our college.

The students saw five Dutch related historical places such as the Dutch cemetery, Dutch artillery building, pillar, Mandal’s House. Students have also administered questionnaires with some local people.

They have prepared a project report about how Chinsura’s people thought about the contribution of Dutch and its restoration.

 

Conserving Dutch-Indian shared heritage

March 14, 2015

Yesterday afternoon I had a nice session with Erik Roskam about maintenance of the Dutch-Indian shared heritage (DISH) website. Erik gave the push for the start of the DISH platform in the Netherlands in 2014. He had approached me through my VOC in India web page that I have since 1997 asking help to find archive material on one of his ancestors who was buried in Chinsurah. I could only help him by linking him with the India Netherlands Friendship Society there. Since then Erik took his family twice to Chinsurah and did more research.

Read the rest of this entry »

Highlights from my Manikganj trip early 2013

October 7, 2013

Here is a Trip Wow series of pictures from my trip to Manikganj in January 2013 with my good friend Najma Haque.

Powered by TripAdvisor

Great film on cyclone victims Bangladesh

November 18, 2012

From the 300 films in the 25th International Documentary Film festival i Amsterdam I have selected to watch six films in the first days of the festival.  For the first tim since retiring I could select films during daytime, and I thoroughly enjoyed that. It was also nice that for most of them I saw the premiere that came with a Question and Answer session with directors and sometimes lead actors. Most impressive for me? Are you listening, a film on a family struggling to survive after their village was washed away by a cyclone in coast Bangladesh.

Read the rest of this entry »


%d bloggers like this: