Note From the Ambassador

One of the questions members of the Dutch community who left Indonesia at the start of the Corona crisis most frequently ask is ‘when can I go back?’

Of course we cannot look into a crystal ball, but compared to mid March we see some improvements: although much less frequent, flights to and from Indonesia remained available and now seem to increase, whereas we feared initially that they would completely disappear; no significant social unrest, violence or riots in spite of clear warnings, and a slight improvement in local health care capacity regarding COVID-19 (including tests and treatment).

©Eko Herwantoro

On the other hand, although Indonesia hasn’t seen the same severe epidemiological impact as some European and (Latin-)American countries, we do not see any clear flattening of the curve either. Actually, according to some sources, Indonesia still has to reach its peak. Medical evacuation to Singapore or Kuala Lumpur is still not possible. You can read more about the current situation and what this means for the Embassy’s services here. Over the last months the embassy team kept working and in particular our consular department has been quite busy – we even had our first virtual naturalization ever! But we also see increasing activity at the economic/trade, political and cultural side. Even though ‘real’ Erasmus Huis is closed until 31 August 2020, the team prepared ‘e-rasmushuis’,  a virtual programme. You will find some information here!

Over the past few weeks I spent my holiday in the Netherlands. I was impressed by the discipline with which most people followed health instructions. That attitude clearly paid off: as you could read in the news, the Netherlands is now reopening to a large extent, while –for the time being- maintaining low infection rates. Schools and sport facilities are reopening, even mass gatherings are allowed – on one condition: people have to behave responsibly and respect social distancing in particular (in the NL: 1,5 meter distance but also masks in public transport and try to work from home). It is, in fact, quite an optimistic and inspiring story to tell: when everybody cooperates the virus can be contained.

This is the message I’d like to echo in Indonesia, knowing that in this country many people have already sacrificed their jobs, their social and family life, their personal space in order to beat the virus. I wish in Indonesia, all of us will be triggered and inspired by the positive examples from elsewhere. That we can all continue our efforts for a bit longer, knowing that in the end it will pay off. Beating the virus is a common responsibility – together we can.

Lambert Grijns,