Pencak Silat Recognized as Indonesian Cultural Heritage in the Netherlands

Photo: Indonesian Embassy in the Hague

Amersfoort, MINA – Director of the Dutch Center for Intangible Cultural Heritage (Kenniscentrum Im Materieel Erefgoed Nederland/KIEN), Marco van Baalen signed a certificate that inventoried Pencak Silat as an intangible cultural heritage in the Netherlands.

The signing was carried out on the sidelines of the opening of a joint exercise with the Dutch Pencak Silat Federation (Nederlandse Pencak Silat Federatie/NPSF) in Amersfoort, the Netherlands on Sunday (Sept 19).

The NPSF joint exercise was attended by more than 200 fighters from 22 universities throughout the Netherlands. It was also attended by the Indonesian Ambassador to the Netherlands, Mayerfas.

According to the Director of KIEN, the proposal for Pencak Silat to be inventoried as a cultural heritage in the Netherlands was submitted directly by the NPSF.

“Based on the submission from the community (NPSF), we conducted research on Pencak Silat and obtained Pencak Silat as a shared intangible cultural heritage in the Netherlands related to Indonesia.

Apart from Pencak Silat, there are also three other intangible cultural heritages, namely Javanese gamelan, Chinese-Indonesian restaurant, and Rijstafel,” explained Director Marco.

Ambassador Mayerfas on the occasion expressed pride in seeing Pencak Silat, which is rich in Indonesian values, traditions, and culture, being widely taught in the Netherlands.

“This is the first time I have seen a pencak silat practice that was attended by more than 200 people abroad. This number is only a small part of the total number of fighters in the Netherlands. We will continue to work to promote Pencak Silat and other Indonesian culture in the Netherlands,” said the Ambassador.

KIEN is an institution tasked with taking an inventory of the cultural heritage found in the Netherlands in accordance with the UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage.

The President of NPSF, Olivier Blancquaert explained, his party applied for the registration of Pencak Silat as a cultural heritage considering that Pencak Silat is not only a sport but also an Indonesian cultural heritage that has always existed in the Netherlands.

“With this recognition, Pencak Silat can be promoted more widely in the Netherlands, with the hope that Pencak Silat can be proposed to be part of the curriculum at schools or universities in the Netherlands,” said Olivier.

NPSF is a Pencak Silat federation that oversees more than 50 martial arts colleges in the Netherlands with more than 500 fighters.

The Indonesian Embassy in The Hague has collaborated with NPSF several times to promote Pencak Silat in the Netherlands, including by bringing trainers from Indonesia to train in the Netherlands. (T/RE1)

Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)