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On 19 January 2023, the public programme ‘Dekoloniale Dialogen@Humanities’ (Decolonial Dialogues@Humanities), in and around the room that is known as the 'VOC zaal' (Dutch East India Company room), will kick off with a symposium.

During the symposium, the context and objectives of the project will be discussed with experts from inside and outside the UvA from scientific as well as artistic perspectives. The programme will focus on the reconstruction of the room in the 1990s, previous programmes and research and teaching projects within the faculty on the room and colonisation issues in general. Broader UvA research on the university's colonial past will also be discussed.

The symposium will take place on 19 January 2023 from 13:00 to 16:15 in the Bushuis. There will be drinks afterwards. 
The maximum number of participants has been reached. You can no longer register.


13:00: Coffee and tea


13.15: Introductionfilm and welcome speech by the dean (Marieke de Goede)

13:25: What to expect and how to participate (Margriet Schavemaker & Ghanima Kowsoleea)

13:45: Interview with Machiel Keestra, Chief Diversity Officer (moderator: Ghanima Kowsoleea)

13:55: round table: Historical Context of the VOC room(s) (Eric Jan Sluijter, Lodewijk Wagenaar and Judith Noorman) (moderator: Margriet Schavemaker)

14:15 Coffee and tea (minibreak)

Art & Research

14:25: Interview with Suze Zijlstra and reading of De Voormoeders. (interviewed by Ghanima Kowsoleea)

14:40: Interview with Jennifer Tosch and Sites of Memory performance featuring Jörgen Gario (interviewed by Margriet Schavemaker)

15:10: mini-break

The Future (PechaKucha-style)

15:20: Yonah Sint Nicolaas
15:25: Chiara de Cesari
15:30: Mirjam Hoijtink
15:35: Jouke Turpijn
15:40: Mia Lerm-Hayes
15:45: Sanjukta Sunderason

15:50: questions from the audience

16:10: closing remarks

16:15 (to 17:00): closing reception and drinks  

About the project

In the so-called ‘VOC-zaal’ in the Bushuis, a historical reconstruction of the Dutch East India Company past can be seen, which was devised and created in the 1990s. In recent years, there has been growing unease among staff and students about the way in which the colonial past of the Netherlands and Amsterdam is presented/represented at this location. The Faculty Board therefore decided in August 2022 to temporarily close the room, which was used for meetings, symposia and the presentation of degree certificates.

As part of the public programme Dekoloniale Dialogen@Humanities, lectures, performances, podcasts and small exhibitions will be organised during the year 2023. The aim of the programme is to work with researchers and students from the Faculty of Humanities, partner institutions and interested parties, to consider what the future of the so-called 'VOC Zaal' should be and how to deal with the building's colonial past. In addition, this project aims to provide an open, safe and inspiring place where expertise on decolonisation can be shared.

The programme will be put together by Ghanima Kowsoleea (project manager of VOX-POP) in consultation with an interdisciplinary team of UvA experts chaired by Margriet Schavemaker (professor of Media and Art in Museum Practice and artistic director of the Amsterdam Museum). This team will give feedback and input on the programming during the project and publish an open call to submit ideas and to participate.

Bushuis/Oost-Indisch Huis

Kloveniersburgwal 48 (main entrance)
1012 CX Amsterdam