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Street name tour Lombok

You're now at: 11 Bankaplein

Lombok as a multicultural district has many meeting points. One of those points is the Bankaplein. The square is located between Malakkastraat and Billitonkade and has a large playground and an indoor stage where events are regularly organised (1). The name of the square refers to an archipelago known for its tin mines in the South China Sea. However, it also refers to a story of betrayal between two brothers.

The story starts after the discovery of tin on Banka in 1710, which led the Sultan Anom of Palembang to build mines. The Sultan had a conflict with his younger brother regarding the ownership of the mines. The younger brother came up with a plan to defeat Anom and sent a messenger to the Governor-General of the VOC in Batavia. The plan was accepted by the VOC who sent weapons to the younger brother. Sultan Anom was defeated and, according to agreement they had with the younger brother, the VOC were granted a monopoly over the tin mines of Banka. This meant that the extracted tin from the mines could only be sold to the VOC, making the company the largest tin trader in the world. (2)

Until the late twentieth century, the tin mines remained in the possession of the Netherlands. For a long time, Chinese workers ('coolies') worked in the mines under very poor conditions. As a result of this labour migration, a large proportion of the Banka population today is of Chinese descent. (3)



On the other side of the Oudenrijn Bridge, there are more references to the Dutch colonial past, such as the Molukkenstraat. If you have the time, then this is definitely worth visiting. From the Bankaplein you walk back to the Kanaalstraat and cross the Ouderijn Bridge. By turning right on the Tanminbarkade you will arrive at the Molukkenstraat.

Shared history

On 21 March 1951, the first Moluccans arrived in the Netherlands. The archipelago of the Moluccas lies between Celebes, Timor and New Guinea. In the seventeenth century, the VOC provinces of Banda and Ambon were also included in the Moluccas. The newly arrived Moluccans were mainly ex-soldiers of the KNIL. In the first years of their life in the Netherlands, they lived in areas including former concentration camps such as Westerbork and Vught. There is a long history between the Moluccas and the Netherlands that stretches further back than 1951 (1).

Spice trade

One of the most important products for the VOC was the various spices that could be harvested from the colonies. This led to the relationship between the Moluccas and the Netherlands that was characterised by the trading of clove and nutmeg. From the beginning of the VOC presence on the island, the company tried to limit the local population's ability to cultivate these precious goods. Coastal areas were raided and plantations were burned, resulting in the monopoly of the clove trade by the VOC. The company's expeditions were accompanied by bloodshed, such as Banda and Ceram (2).

Plantation slavery

The VOC and its violent policies had a flaw when it came to workers for the plantations. Initially, there was an effort to encourage Dutch settlers to come to the archipelago, but few did. To make up for the shortage, enslaved people were brought in between 1620 and 1630 through a slave route stretching from Asia, East Africa, and the spice islands.

Linking Lombok

is an important part of the community art project Linken Leggen Lombok. This project was started on the initiative of Kosmopolis Utrecht. They worked together with Museum Maluku, the Papua Cultural Heritage foundation, artists, neighbourhood organizations and entrepreneurs in Lombok. Nancy Jouwe led the project in 2009. The work of artist Fieke de Roij in 22 the Molukkenstraat is an example of the project. The facing brick can still be seen on the corner of Molukkenstraat and Groeneweg.

One of the 'shameful examples' on the lack of historical awareness about our colonial past is the wrong spelling of the Utrecht Sapoerahof. This is one of the new building sections in the street Laan van Nieuw Guinea. The correct spelling is: Saparoeahof (3). Bankaplein hosts an annual event on liberation day (5 May). On this day activities take place throughout the neighbourhood: street orchestras, flea market throughout Lombok and a large stage on Bankaplein. It is a party for everyone from the neighbourhood, where 'gezelligheid' and togetherness are paramount.

Lombok Anders was initiated in the 1980s and 1990s as a festival with, among other things, a free market for local residents on liberation day. Nowadays, Lombok Anders is more than just the festival and has become an important intermediary in the organization of neighbourhood parties as the 'Lombok Anders Foundation'. The foundation organizes social and cultural events in Utrecht. Recently, the Lombok Anders Foundation started an event for the victims of the earthquakes in Indonesian Lombok. This project was called 'Lombok for Lombok'.


Directions to: 12 Van Riebeeckstraat

At the end of Bankaplein turn left to Bilitonkade and then right onto Abel Tasmanstraat. On Abel Tasmanstraat turn left in the direction of Van Diemenstraat. Continue along Van Diemenstraat and after 200 meters turn left on to J.P. Coenstraat. Walk 40 meters and turn right onto Van Riebeeckstraat.
The tour covers 12 points in the Lombok neighbourhood. It begins at Molen de Ster. Click on the map for more information about this point...

De Bitterzoete Route
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