Nyai Stories: Our Ancestral Women.

"Nyai Stories: Our Ancestral Women."

🎟️ Admission: €15 (Includes Indonesian food)
🌍 An English-Spoken Event
👇 Tickets available down below this page

What do you know about your Ancestral mothers?

Join us for an afternoon of creativity and reflection around the diversity of stories around our Ancestral Women, focusing on the Women also known as ‘Nyais’ - The Ancestral Mothers and an important anchor between Indonesia and The Netherlands.

Under guidance of professional artists we invite you to participate in a variety of workshops to transform your own stories and emotions into art in the context of your ancestors. Through various creative expressions such as spoken word, music, dance, literature, visual art and videography, we will honor, commemorate and continue the legacies of our ancestral women.

More information beneath about the alternatives of workshops.

During the event you will have time to participate in one of these.
Please note that we can not guarantee that you will get your first pick as every workshop can take on a limited number of participants.


  • 1. Speak about the unspoken with Sacha Verheij - Spoken word

Sacha Celine Verheij is a writer, photographer and spoken word artist. A queer creator with Surinamese-Moluccan roots, she specializes in social issues such as mental health, sexuality, cultural identity and inclusion. During the ‘Indisch Zwijgen’ movie tour, she gave spoken word workshops. Through language she captures forgotten, lost and repressed stories.

Sacha is the co-founder of Bersama Collective, the communication officer at The Hague Humanity Hub and a Democracy Fellow at Humanity in Action.

Speak about the Unspoken through Spoken Word, is an interactive workshop where you explore where you come from through wording and writing.

How do you form your identity? How do you relate to your ancestral mothers? Do you need to know where you come from in order to know where you want to go? Through approachable writing assignments, you will explore these questions, engage in conversation with each other and find your own language to give words to your identity.

  • 2. Writing letters with Lara Nuberg

Through a brief introduction and reading of letters, this workshop will introduce you to Kartini and her thinking. What do her letters mean to you and to the world we live in today?

Using a ‘pen pal’ of your choice, for example one of your ancestors, we will write letters and start a conversation.

Lara Nuberg writes, speaks, and creates audio stories about (colonial) history, identity, and the culture of remembrance. She is currently working on her debut novel, GADO GADO, which will be published by Das Mag. In collaboration with Feba Sukmana, she is also working on a book about Kartini that will be published by De Geus.

  • 3. Trace your roots with Yvette Kopijn

In this workshop, Yvette Kopijn, initiator of ‘Tracing Your Roots’  and the joint IGV/TYR project “10,000 Asian Foremothers” will introduce you to the power of family research, and the search for roots and ancestors.

Do you want to discover what it can do for you to get in touch with your ancestors and family history? Then join this workshop and play the Tracing Your Roots game! After exchanging stories and experiences, you will receive tips on doing family research and building your own Family Archive!

Program workshop
14.30-14.45: Welcome and introduction: What is Tracing Your Roots?
14.45-15.15: Play the Tracing Your Roots Game!
15.15-15.30: Join our project ’10.000 Asian foremothers’!
15.30-15.45: Tips! Build your own Family Archive

Yvette Kopijn (Aruba, 1966) is a researcher, heritage and education specialist, and the child of an Indonesian father and a Dutch mother. She is affiliated with the Amsterdam School for Historical Studies , where she will obtain her PhD this autumn for an oral history research on the Javanese-Surinamese history of double displacement, seen from the perspective of (grand)mothers and (grand)daughters. As part of the VerhalenOverleven Foundation, Yvette is committed to making relatively unheard (colonial) stories and histories visible to a wide audience, in publications, exhibitions, and oral history projects such as ’10.000 Asian Foremothers, as well as through the educational program Tracing Your Roots.

Tracing Your Roots invites young adults with roots in the Dutch East Indies/Indonesia to explore their ancestors and family histories. By encouraging the participants to interview their (grand)parents about the (colonial) past, Yvette hopes to break the silence and restore or strengthen the bond between generations.

  • 4. Batik collage with Shelly Lapré

“The Batik is drawing with light, which stands for for connection between past, present and future”

Through the making of collages with your own photo(copies), batik and drawing you are invited to create your own family memory on cardboard. (please bring photo(s) you would like to use) The batik wax creates the light in your artwork.

Everyone, from any background, can participate and have their own memorable family history. For future generations, it is a valuable and evocative story, for greater understanding and respect for your own family history and memories.

The workshop is held and developed by Shelly Lapré. She was born in the Netherlands, but with roots in the former Dutch East Indies, where her parents and ancestors were born. Her interest in colonial history derived out of respect for what her grandparents and parents experienced during the times of war in the Dutch East Indies.

After years of collecting old photographs, documents, books and family belongings, she has found a lot of information to incorporate into her art. Through performances, drawings, collages and paintings with original documents and letters. Her work is a transmission to future generations, so that our memories may live forever.

"Our colonial history is part of our identity and has shaped us into who we are, with all that goes with it. Art is a way to express the loaded and sensitive history in a positive way, in whatever way we can. Knowledge of the past is awareness. Then it can be healed for the future."

  • 5. ‘Memories of the body’  with Aafke de Jong and Ferdinand van Duuren 

During this workshop we will investigate how memories nestle in our bodies. Do you also recognize that when you talk about a memory from the past, it seems as if you, for a second of two, really are in that moment again? We don’t just talk and communicate with words. We use body language, gestures, facial expressions or sometimes we get goosebumps when we think about a specific event.

Dance maker/choreographer Aafke de Jong (AFK/Away From Keyboard, The Hague) will take you through a number of accessible assignments to your own ‘movement memento’ — a tribute to your ancestors. With the help of a photo or object * that you brought with you, we go back in time. We will work both individually and collectively.

The workshop is accompanied with live music by musician and composer Ferdinand van Duuren (The Hague). This workshop is accessible to everyone with or without earlier dance experience!

*Preferably a photo/object that refers to the past of you or your family from Indonesia or the former Dutch East Indies.

Aafke de Jong (dancer and choreographer)

After her dance training in Western dance styles at the Rotterdam Dance Academy (now Codarts), Aafke studied dance in Indonesia (Bali) for five years. Now she makes dance performances in which she is often inspired by (cultural) elements from Indonesia. She also makes visual work and often gives workshops within the intersection of movement and visual art.

Ferdinand van Duuren (musician/composer)

is a multi-instrumentalist and composer who translates his Indo-European inner journey of discovery and family history into poetry and songs.

  • 6. ‘The Nyai’s and me’ with Dagmar Rijgersberg and Indisch Herinneringscentrum

During The Nyai Stories, Indisch Herinneringscentrum will host a workshop and talk in collaboration with artist Dagmar Rijgersberg. Her work comes together in photography,

book form and spatial (digital) installations where she uses different disciplines such as text, image and soundscapes. The work touches on themes such as: displacement, identity and power relations such as being a woman in the present but also in the (de)colonial discourse.

Especially for this program, Dagmar will share her personal research with the participants and she will show how important it is to learn from all the information you have found about, for example, your foremothers, can create additional layers in which they are not only recognized and acknowledged but where your foremothers also stays alive in our memories. And that her influence will echo to this day and also into the future.

In the workshop, participants will receive tips and examples from Dagmar. Feel free to bring a photo, diary, written stories or sound clips. We will share our stories and together make the first step towards your special quest.


12.30 Inloop
13.00 - 14.15 Welcoming
Performances by Nathalie Smoor & Eef van Breen, Alfian Emir Aditya & Francesca Vincentie and Sacha Verheij.
Panel discussion with Lara Nuberg, Akbar Yumni, Yvette Kopijn and Denise Aznam, led by Elsbeth Vernout.

14.15 - 14.30 Break
14.30 - 15.45 Workshops
6 different workshops running simultaneously.
More information and mandatory reservation.

15.50 - 16.20 Completion and summary
16.20 - 17.30 Networking
Indonesian snacks, DJ NEMS and mingle in the Cafe.


A collaboration between Bersama Collective, Theater Dakota, Riboet Verhalenkunst, Indisch Herinneringscentrum and The Indonesian Embassy. This event is made possible thanks to The Hague - Koloniaal en slavernijverleden, ‘Fondsen voor cultuurparticipatie’ and Landecker - Humanity in Action.


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  • Za 14 Sep 13:00
    Normaal: €15,00