As the Dutch and European populations in Java grew it became clear that certain fundamental aspects needed for a good quality life were absent. Boredom, especially for women, contributed to many ultimatums and early return voyages to the Netherlands. It was simply not enough to live in paradise, as the shipping and immigration posters had advertised it, but rather a sense of purpose, culture and sophistication also had to be developed in order to maintain this population that had traveled half way around the world in search of a better life.
Batavia and Bandung especially, began a campaign to deliver European culture to the Indies. Society clubs, concert halls and theaters were built in haste. Performers and entertainers in music, dance, stage, and opera, were brought to the Indies to provide an opportunity for certain residents to elevate their social standing; for most though it was a way to enrich the lives of those who now made the Indies their home…a morale boost for its citizenry.
© Written and photographed by Tim O’Callaghan, Indo Discovery Travel