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Professor Teeuw Award

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Hans Teeuw was Professor of Indonesian Language and Literature at the University of Leiden from 1955 – 1976. Many know his name from the famous Bahasa Indonesia/Dutch dictionary. In 2012 Professor Teeuw passed away, aged 91 year.

The Professor Teeuw Foundation was launched in 1991, under the auspices of the learned society KITLV, at the occasion of Professor Hans Teeuw’s retirement from the Dutch Government funded Indonesian Studies Programme. Hans Teeuw played a crucial role in this Programme, which ran between 1975 and 1992. The Professor Teeuw Foundation thus honoured Professor Teeuw for his work, and through the Professor Teeuw Award, expresses its appreciation of the many shared, mutual and diverging cultural initiatives, in which Indonesian and Dutch culture meet, influence and merge. The Foundation has awarded the Professor Teeuw Award irregularly, each time alternating between an Indonesian and a Dutch nominee. By awarding creative people for their achievements, it has intended to contribute to the continuation of a network of exchange, beyond the boundaries of language and history.


Since the start, thirteen laureates have been awarded. The first Professor Teeuw Award, in 1992, was for Goenawan Mohamad, the famous Indonesian writer, poet and journalist who also founded the journal Tempo. After Goenawan, the Dutch historian Harry Poeze, at the time also Editor-in-Chief of the KITLV Press, received the Award in 1994.

In 1996 writer, poet and philosopher Y.B. Mangunwijaya was awarded. Two years later, in 1998, the Award was received by Ellen Derksen, Director of the Pasar Malam Besar in The Hague (now Tong Tong Fair). In 2000 the Award was for to the Jakartan anthropologist and journalist Mulyawan Karim; in 2002, F.X. Suhardi Djojoprasetyo was awarded. He worked since 1975 as a teacher of Javanese dance and gamelan in the Netherlands. In 2004 the Award was for Ajip Rosidi, writer and journalist in Indonesia, who, over a period of more than 40 years, has made an invaluable contribution to the study, publication, documentation and promotion of Indonesian literature in the broadest possible way.

In 2007 the Professor Teeuw Award has been presented in the Netherlands as well as in Indonesia. The Award was given to laureates who have contributed to the cultural relationships between Indonesia and the Netherlands in the field of architecture and the study of architecture. In the Netherlands the Dutch architect and architecture-historian Cor Passchier shared the award with the Dutch anthropologist Freek Colombijn. In Indonesia three laureates were selected to receive the Award: the architects Han Awal, Wastu Pragantha Zhong and Soedarmadji J.H. Damais.

In 2011 the Dutch musician Elsje Plantema received the Award for her dedication to gamelan music, both playing, teaching and conducting the gamelan orchestra Widosari, while also founding the ‘Gamelan House’ in Amsterdam.

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On 27 August 2015, the Professor Teeuw Awards were awarded for the last time. In Jakarta, anthropologist and archeologist Hedi Hinzler and translator, editor and publisher John McGlynn received the prestigious prize in recognition for their significant role in advancing the appreciation of Indonesian culture and intercultural understanding. Over the years, they have brought a wide range of cultural creations and interpretations to an international audience.

To mark this last award the Teeuw Foundation has published a booklet that offers a short history of the Teeuw Award and written portraits of all the laureates of the last twenty-five years: Professor Teeuw Foundation 1991-2015: Awarding the creative and scholarly in the cultural exchange between Indonesia and the Netherlands.

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