Jakarta and Paramaribo Calling

Return Migration Challenges for the Surinamese Javanese Diaspora?

The Surinamese Javanese diaspora includes distinct Surinamese Javanese communities living in Suriname and the Netherlands. Inspired by the success of diaspora policies launched by the Indian government recently the Indonesian and Surinamese governments have started to consider the introduction of similar initiatives. As a result the Surinamese Javanese diaspora has been confronted with requests to contribute more substantially to their homeland and contemplate “going back home.” This article argues that the Indonesian and Surinamese governments have no reason to set their expectations too high. Jakarta and Paramaribo are reluctant to take necessary legal action which negatively impacts the effectivity of their diaspora policy. Overall Surinamese Javanese in Suriname are unwilling to settle in Indonesia, whereas Surinamese Javanese in the Netherlands contemplating return to Suriname carefully weigh their chances. For most of them, family, friendship and community ties and concomitant socio-cultural, spiritual and religious motives override economic motives as pull factors.

Keywords: Surinamese Javanese; diaspora; return migration; Indonesia; Suriname

Author: Peter Meel

Source: Brill

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Afbeelding credits

Header afbeelding: Javaanse contractarbeiders in Moengo (Suriname) 1929 - 1930. Via