Monarchy and visual culture in colonial Indonesia

Photographic subjects examines photography at royal celebrations during the reigns of Wilhelmina (1898–1948) and Juliana (1948–80), a period spanning the zenith and fall of Dutch rule in Indonesia. It is the first monograph in English on the Dutch monarchy and the Netherlands’ modern empire in the age of mass and amateur photography.

This book reveals how Europeans and Indigenous people used photographs taken at Queen’s Day celebrations to indicate the ritual uses of portraits of Wilhelmina and Juliana in the colonies. Such photographs were also objects of exchange across imperial networks. Photograph albums were sent as gifts by Indigenous royals in ‘snapshot diplomacy’ with the Dutch monarchy. Ordinary Indonesians sent photographs to Dutch royals in a bid for recognition and subjecthood. Professional and amateur photographers associated the Dutch queens with colonial modernity and with modes of governing difference across an empire of discontiguous territory and ethnically diverse people. The gendered and racial dimensions of Wilhelmina’s and Juliana’s engagement with their subjects emerge uniquely in photographs, which show these two women as female kings who related to their Dutch and Indigenous subjects in different visual registers.

Photographic subjects advances methods in the use of photographs for social and cultural history, reveals the entanglement of Dutch and Indonesian histories in the twentieth century, and provides a new interpretation of Wilhelmina and Juliana as imperial monarchs. The book is essential for scholars and students of colonial history, South-east Asian and Indonesian studies, and photography and visual studies.

have chosen their moment for the troonwisseling (‘throne change’) rather than vacating the throne by leaving the land of the living. After half a century, then, Wilhelmina's reign had finally come to an end – and Juliana was now Queen of the Netherlands. Van Baal's albums record the new date of Queen's Day: 30 April, Juliana's birthday. We know from Chapter 3 that he had been following her fortunes since his Indies career began in the late 1930s. Now he was Juliana's representative. His photograph albums show that it was her image on the

in Photographic subjects
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Photographic encounters between Dutch and Indonesian royals

Cosmos sitting on his medals, Pemberton deemed the act ‘quite plausible as an early twentieth century response to His Majesty's shrinking cosmos’. 2 He alludes here to the progressive Dutch incursion upon Central Javanese kings’ powers in the Princely States ( vorstenlanden ), which I described in Chapter 2. What we do know from photographs is that, throughout the 1920s and 1930s, Pakubuwono X sent many portraits of himself to Queen Wilhelmina and the Crown Princess Juliana that substantiate his

in Photographic subjects
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Portraits of the monarch in colonial ritual

In 1923 Queen Wilhelmina's brother-in-law, Adolf Friedrich von Mecklenburg (1873–1969), toured the Moluccas and Dutch New Guinea. It was the year of Wilhelmina's silver jubilee, and for the twenty-fifth year since her coronation, she was not touring her empire. In her absence, ‘ Hertog (Duke) Adolf’, as he became known on his travels, accrued celebrity status in the Netherlands Indies. 1 That he was German nobility and only related to the queen by her marriage to Hendrik made no difference

in Photographic subjects
Unity in diversity at royal celebrations

Where Wilhelmina embodied ‘the people’ without compromising her aristocracy, for Juliana the folk authenticity of her costumes eclipsed sartorial proof of her nobility. As I described in Chapter 3 , this shift was in keeping with the more democratised, ‘ordinary’ model of monarchy that Juliana's coming of age signalled in the late 1930s. For Juliana's firstborn, the future Queen Beatrix (b. 1938, r. 1980–2013), the imperative to appear in regional costume began very early. In 1944, while in wartime exile with Juliana's family in Ottawa, Beatrix was photographed with

in Photographic subjects
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Mass photography, monarchy and the making of colonial subjects

subjects around the world. The democratisation of the Dutch monarchy – or perhaps, more accurately, of its photographic representation – has its roots in the advent of mass photography during the early years of Wilhelmina's reign. However, it was not until the queen's heir, Juliana, reached her maturity that the vernacular shift in representations of the House of Orange was complete. Official photographs of the reproductive phase of Queen Wilhelmina's life emphasised the regal dignity of her family. In 1901 Wilhelmina married

in Photographic subjects
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Royal Indonesian visits to the Dutch court in the early twentieth century

. It was given in honour of Crown Princess Juliana of the Netherlands’ engagement to a German nobleman, Prince Bernhard of Lippe-Biestefeld. In this most unusual live recital, radio dramatically bridged the distance between the Netherlands and its oldest and most important overseas possession, the jewel in the modern Dutch empire. Juliana and her mother, Queen Wilhelmina (1880–1962), were so taken with the spectacle that they

in Royals on tour
The Dutch colonial world during Queen Wilhelmina’s reign, 1898–1948

preside over the modern Dutch empire in its most complete form, when it comprised Suriname in South America, the six Caribbean islands of the Netherlands West Indies (Sint Maarten, Sint Eustatius, Saba, Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao) and the archipelago then known as the East Indies, now Indonesia. It was during Wilhelmina's reign that Dutch sovereignty in this archipelago expanded to the borders that her heir, Juliana, inherited in 1948, and then ceded to the Republic of Indonesia the following year. Queen Wilhelmina was the figure who loomed large

in Photographic subjects
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Lights, camera and … ‘Ethical’ rule!

.2 Collection Max Foltynski, Bandung Technical College, 6 September 1923 Batavia, the capital of the Indies, also had vocational institutions like Bandung College, among them the Wilhelmina and Juliana schools. It was no coincidence that they were named after the Queen of the Netherlands and her daughter. The schools were the indirect outcome of the Ethical Policy, which was heralded by Wilhelmina herself in 1901 during her annual ‘speech from the throne

in Photographic subjects

Juliane camerarie mee sorori Roberti camerarii mei various lands in Spofforth (Yorkshire) to be held in feodo et hereditate libere quiete et solute.45 Juliana’s brother, described as Countess Matilda’s chamberlain, had previously received these lands from Adam, son of Copsi, confirmed by Matilda de Percy in 1175–c. 1184.46 It is possible that the lands which Countess Matilda conveyed by charter to Juliana devolved to her by right of inheritance as her brother’s heir. It is unclear whether this position of chamberlain in Matilda de Percy’s household was heritable and

in Noblewomen, aristocracy and power in the twelfth-century Anglo-Norman realm