Indonesia Emigration and Immigration

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Online Records[edit | edit source]

Naturalization Records[edit | edit source]

Finding the Town of Origin in Indonesia[edit | edit source]

If you are using emigration/immigration records to find the name of your ancestors' town in Indonesia, see Indonesia Finding Town of Origin for additional research strategies.

Indonesia Emigration and Immigration[edit | edit source]

"Emigration" means moving out of a country. "Immigration" means moving into a country.
Emigration and immigration sources list the names of people leaving (emigrating) or arriving (immigrating) in the country. These sources may be passenger lists, permissions to emigrate, or records of passports issued. The information in these records may include the emigrants’ names, ages, occupations, destinations, and places of origin or birthplaces. Sometimes they also show family groups.

Immigration into Indonesia[edit | edit source]

  • The first Europeans arrived in the archipelago in 1512, when Portuguese traders, led by Francisco Serrão, sought to monopolize the sources of nutmeg, cloves, and cubeb pepper in the Maluku Islands.
  • Dutch and British traders followed. In 1602, the Dutch established the Dutch East India Company and became the dominant European power for almost 200 years. The VOC was dissolved in 1800 following bankruptcy, and the Netherlands established the Dutch East Indies as a nationalized colony. For most of the colonial period, Dutch control over the archipelago was tenuous. In December 1949, the Dutch formally recognized Indonesian independence.
  • In 1930, Dutch and other Europeans, Eurasians, and derivative people like the Indos, numbered 240,000 or 0.4% of the total population. Historically, they constituted only a tiny fraction of the native population and remain so today. The Dutch colonial empire's primary purpose was commercial exchange as opposed to sovereignty over homogeneous landmasses.[1]

Indos[edit | edit source]

  • The Indo people or Indos, are Eurasian people living in or connected with Indonesia. In its narrowest sense, the term refers to people in the former Dutch East Indies who held European legal status but were of mixed Dutch and indigenous Indonesian descent as well as their descendants today. The European ancestry of these people was predominantly Dutch, but also included Portuguese, British, French, Belgian, German and others.[2]
  • In the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia), the Dutch heavily interacted with the indigenous population, and as European women were almost non-existent, many Dutchmen married native women. This created a new group of people, the Dutch-Eurasians also known as 'Indos' or 'Indo-Europeans'.
  • During the 1620s, Jan Pieterszoon Coen in particular insisted that families and orphans be sent from Holland to populate the colonies. As a result, a number of single women were sent and an orphanage was established in Batavia to raise Dutch orphan girls to become East India brides. There was a large number of women from the Netherlands recorded as marrying in the years around 1650. Almost half of them were single women from the Netherlands marrying for the first time. There were still considerable numbers of women sailing eastwards to the Indies at this time.
  • Few European women came to the Indies during the Dutch East India Company period. There is evidence of considerable care by officers of the Dutch East India Company for their illegitimate Eurasian children: boys were sometimes sent to the Netherlands to be educated, and sometimes never returned to Indonesia.
  • In the 1890s, there were 62,000 civilian "Europeans" in the Dutch East Indies, most of them Eurasians, making up less than half of one per cent of the population. Indo influence waned following World War I and the opening of the Suez Canal, when there was a substantial influx of white Dutch families.
  • During World War II the European colonies in South East Asia, including the Dutch East Indies, were invaded and annexed by the Japanese Empire. The Japanese sought to eradicate anything reminiscent of European government. Many of the Indies Dutch spent World War II in Japanese concentration camps. [2]

Emigration from Indonesia[edit | edit source]

"Indonesian diaspora" refers to any ethnic in Indonesia living outside of their homeland. The majority of Indonesian expatriates live in Malaysia, the U.S., Japan, the U.A.E., Australia, and the Netherlands, esp. South Moluccans, a predominantly Christian ethnic group found asylum and religious freedom by the thousands in the Netherlands since the 1950s.

  • Over a million Minangkabau people live outside of Indonesia, mainly in Malaysia and Singapore, but they recently joined the Indonesian emigration to Australia, China, Europe, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and the Philippines.
  • In the Dutch colonial era, vast numbers of Javanese were sent to other Dutch colonies as coulies. Most of them were sent to Suriname, New Caledonia, and East Sumatra.
  • In the late 20th century, the Javanese were introduced to the island of New Guinea by Indonesian government endorsed settlement programs in Papua and West Papua provinces.
  • Other Javanese live in Malaysia, Europe, North America, the Middle East, South Africa and Australia.
  • During and after the Indonesian National Revolution, which followed the World War II, (1945–1965) around 300.000 people, pre-dominantly Indos, left Indonesia to go to the Netherlands. This migration was called repatriation. The majority of this group had never set foot in the Netherlands before.[3]

Moluccan Diaspora[edit | edit source]

  • As the result of the end of its occupation over the Dutch East Indies in the 1950s, the Netherlands government decided to transport around 12,000 Moluccan soldiers of the Royal Netherlands East Indies Army and their families to Europe, as they had fought on the Dutch side during the Indonesian National Revolution. They were then discharged on arrival, not allowed to work, given pocket money, and 'temporarily' housed in camps.
  • Moluccans are the predominantly Melanesian, Austronesian-speaking ethnic group indigenous to the Maluku Islands, also called the Moluccas and historically known as the Spice Islands.
  • A small population of Moluccans still live in the Netherlands. This group mainly consists of the descendants of KNIL soldiers who were originally told to come the Netherlands only temporarily before being sent back to their own independent republic, but were eventually forced to stay due to the Dutch government giving up control of the islands. The remainder consists of Moluccans serving in the Dutch navy and their descendants, as well as some who came to the Netherlands from western New Guinea after it too was handed over to Indonesia.\However, the vast majority of Moluccans still live in the Moluccas and the other surrounding regions such as Papua, East- and West Timor, North Sulawesi, Bali and Java.[4]

Records of Indonesian Emigrants in Their Destination Nations[edit | edit source]

Dark thin font green pin Version 4.png One option is to look for records about the ancestor in the country of destination, the country they immigrated into. See links to immigration records for major destination countries below.

Types of Records[edit | edit source]

Immigration, naturalization and foreigner registration (Imigrasi, pewarganegaraan, kewarganegaraan)[edit | edit source]

These records are very valuable for making proper connections to place of origin in other countries, and for pinpointing place of residence in Indonesia. Many researchers do not know their ancestor's place of origin. They are generally available from the 1700s to the present. Records can be found at the National Archives, municipal archives, and Chinese community kapitans.

They generally include the immigrant’s name, age, occupation, birth date and place, former residence, destination; wife’s name, childrens’ given names and ages or number of children; religion, race, nationality, sometimes picture. Chinese immigration records give names and places in Chinese characters.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. "Indonesia", in Wikipedia,, accessed 7 July 2021.
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Indo people", in Wikipedia,, accessed 24 April 2021.
  3. "List of diasporas", in Wikipedia,, acessed 7 July 2021.
  4. "Moluccans", in Wikipedia,, accessed 13 July 2021.