Lodewijk Wagenaar, born in Alkmaar, the Netherlands, in 1945. Ph.D. from Leiden University, Lecturer of History at the University of Amsterdam.
Fellow (1 September 2009 – 31 January 2010)
CULTURAL DIMENSION OF DUTCH COLONIAL SETTLEMENTS IN SRI LANKA AND ITS IMPACT ON SRI LANKAN CULTURE, 1700-1800
Participation in the NIAS ‘nucleus’ encouraged me to further explore the nature of the impact of the Dutch colonial administration on Sri Lankan society during the 17th and 18th centuries. Research of Dutch East India Company documents, kept in the national archives in Colombo and Jakarta, provided a lot of material which I used to reflect on the ‘Dutchness’ of Dutch Colonial Ceylon. Based on this, I developed the concept of ‘Cultural Implant’, in order to explain the transient character of the Dutch colonial presence on the island. The urban settlements of the Dutch East India Company (VOC) were rather isolated pockets within a vast territory of Sinhalese (and in the north: of Tamil) society. The ‘Dutch’ cultural lifestyle was limited to those urban places, and after the British take over in 1796 most of it faded away. The ‘cultural implant’ was a temporary one, of which only some ‘echoes’ still can be heard – a few Dutch words absorbed in Sinhala and Tamil vocabularies.