To my dear Pieternelletje describes a ten-year period in the lives of Pieternella van Hoorn and her grandfather Willem van Outhoorn, former governor-general of the Dutch East Indies. Eleven years old, Pieternella left for Amsterdam and the only contact possible was by mail.
Numerous letters have survived and combined with contemporaneous documents, most of them never published before, they offer a vivid and clear picture of their private life and feelings, forming a most welcome addition to official VOC-history.
Van Outhoorn not only acted as Pieternella’s mentor while she tried to adjust to her new but unknown fatherland, but also sent her numerous exquisite presents, the greater part of which has been traced and described in full, thus offering new insight in the cultural history of Asia.
Bea Brommer, former museum director in the Netherlands, is a specialist on Dutch colonial history and cartography. Recent publications, as main author, include two volumes on respectively Dutch South Africa and the West Indies in the series
Comprehensive Atlas of the Dutch East India Company (vol. V), and
West India Company (vol. I), (Asia Maior and National Archive, The Hague, 2009 and 2011).
Brommer’s remarkable volume shows us that awareness of global connections, of the varieties of ethnic groups and respect for individuals across divides of class and caste are not peculiar to our contemporary world. She brings the immediacy of entwined personal lives to histories of “European expansion”. Jean Gelman Taylor, University of New South Wales. In:
Asian Studies Review, Vol. 41, No. 1 (2017), pp. 163-164.
Table of contents
PART I. PIETERNELLA VAN HOORN AND WILLEM VAN OUTHOORN
1. MY LONG-STANDING REQUEST FOR MY RELEASE
The first letter
2. SING THE WATCH SONG
3. FLEES AND HOTTENTOTS
The Cape of Good Hope
4. YOUR VERY DEAR AND BELOVED FATHER
5. WHAT A WONDERFULL COUNTRY
6. TO INVEST OUR PENNIES SECURELY
7. TIED WITH A CHINESE SILKEN BOW
Presents for Pieternella
8. RAISED IN MY SMALL COUNTRY GARDEN
Country estates around Batavia
9. SOME PINS, NEEDLES AND THREAD
10. BECOMING QUITE AN AMSTERDAM YOUNG LADY
11. THOSE GENTLEMEN!
12. NOT WITHGOUT AILMENTS
Medication, Dutch and Asian
The cordial stone
13. MY BELOVED GRANDPAPA
Grandfathers’s burial and estate
PART II. THE DRAMATIS PERSONAE
1. THE HAIR GROWN GREY
The Van Outhoorn family
Japanese lacquer dishes
2. MY DEAR SON JOHANNES
The Van Outhoorn family
3. THE COLD I CANNOT STAND VERY WELL
The Van Riebeeck family
Letters of Willem van Outhoorn
Willem van Outhoorn, Batavia
Joan van Hoorn, Amsterdam
The Van Hoorn Collection
All interested in Dutch colonial history, social history and Asian art history of the early 18th century