THE HIKAYAT OF NEIRABATIJ: A Unique Story of the History of the Banda Islands

Research and presentation of a rare manuscript & launch of a podcast series.

From 3rd July the Maritime Museum in Amsterdam commemorates the account of the violent conquest of the Banda Islands by J.P. Coen 400 years ago. Part of this is the investigation of a manuscript about the history of the Banda Islands from the collection of the museum, which has long been thought lost by researchers. The manuscript, also known as hikayat (story, saga), was written in 1922 by M.S. (Saleh) Neirabatij written in Malay. Neirabatij was an influential person in the village of Lonthoir on the island of Lontar. Historical sources written by local residents during the Dutch colonial rule in Indonesia are very rare. The hikayat offers a Bandanese perspective on the (maritime) history of the Banda Islands. As far as is known, this is the oldest written source of the oral history of the Banda Islands. It will be presented in Het Scheepvaartmuseum from 3rd July to 7th November 2021, together with the research results.

The exhibition Banda & Beyond continues at Het Scheepvaartmuseum until 7th November 2021