chapter  8
A comfortable home: Architecture, migration and old age in the Netherlands
ByMarcel Vellinga
Pages 18

In 2005, reports appeared in the Dutch media about plans to build a so-called ‘Indonesian village’ in Almere (e.g. De Volkskrant 2005; Leidsch Dagblad 2005). Developed by the Foundation Rumah Senang (Indonesian for ‘comfortable home’), the plans involved the construction of a distinct neighbourhood that, by means of its architecture and facilities, aimed to provide a setting where members of the Indisch community (descendants of mixed Indonesian and Dutch relationships) were reminded of ‘the olden times’ (Indonesian: tempo doeloe) as experienced in the former Dutch East Indies (the present-day Indonesia).1 The proposals included the construction of 190 homes; a communal building in which social and recreational activities were to take place; and a restaurant and supermarket. A main building comprising of 46 apartments, four psycho-geriatric units, a communal kitchen and living room, and small enterprises including a hairdresser and pedicure, was meant to act as the focal point of the village. This main building was to be built in the style of a traditional Minangkabau house, as found in the Indonesian province of West Sumatra (see Vellinga 2004), complete with colourful woodcarvings and upsweeping roof spires. The other buildings were to be built in a ‘more modest’ Indonesian style, inspired by the architecture of the Karo Batak people in North Sumatra (Domenig 2003), adding to the Indonesian character of the village, whilst simultaneously meeting Dutch building requirements.2