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Tulip Fields of Batavia

“It’s always about what you can do, not where you have been. However, who you are and what you can do is the result of where you have been.”


Table of Contents


TULIP FIELDS OF BATAVIA 10

MY STORY 13

EARLY YEARS IN AMERICA 26

MANOKWARI YEARS 34

MARIE ANTOINETTE 44

THE OCCUPATION 60

HERMAN CORNELIS LOUIS 64

BATTLE OF EAST JAVA 68

PRISONER OF WAR 71

THE MEETING 79

MANOKWARI TO AMERICA 83

IDA MATHILDA CHOMPFF 87

FROM PLANTATION 98

TO PRISONERS 98

HERMAN’S AUTO SERVICE 111

UNCLE RON 119

IMMIGRANT VIBES 125

INTERESTING PEOPLE 131



TULIP FIELDS OF BATAVIA


INTRODUCTION


The Dutch East Indies, or Netherlands East Indies, was formed as a colony of the Netherlands in 1800 when the country nationalized the Dutch East India Company. Expansion included the annexation of the Bird's Head Peninsula in western New Guinea in 1920.

Prior to World War II, the Dutch East Indies produced large quantities of coffee and tea (20% of the world's supply), cacao and coconut (25% of the world's supply), sugar, pepper, tobacco, rubber (35% of the world's supply), quinine (most of the world's supply), and oil (significant portion of the world's supply).

The islands were the Netherland's main source of raw materials. Very little industry existed in the Dutch East Indies. The main interest for the Dutch colonial administration for the colony was trade. The Dutch language was never forced upon the local indigenous population. Instead, the popular Riau dialect of Malay language was the official language so that trade would not be hindered. This official language would later evolve into the modern Indonesian language.

New Guinea is an exotic place, unspoiled and wild. This part of the world is primitive with animal and plant species found nowhere else in the world.

Here’s the number of species you will not find outside of New Guinea:


Mammal Species 92

Bird Species 114

Reptile Species 143

Amphibian Species 297

Swallowtail & Butterfly Species 45

Freshwater Fish Species 88

Marine Fish Species 50


The Raggianna Bird of Paradise is the national bird of New Guinea. It’s so beautiful; its image is part of the national flag of the country.


MY STORY


CHAPTER 1


It is 1954 and only 9 years after the close of World War II in the Pacific. I was born in a rustic clinic 90 miles south of the Equator in the Southern Hemisphere of the planet Earth in a small, undeveloped seaside town called Manokwari. This area in Western New Guinea was an outpost of the Dutch East Indies. In 1947, this area along the northern coast was settled by Dutch and Dutch Indonesian refugees from Java, Indonesia who fled political persecution and violence. They built a life from nothing.

My parents Herman and Marie Van der Upwich, were among this group. He was 36 years old. She was 19. He loved his “sweetheart” very much. She loved her strong protector man. Together they embarked on an adventure and a life that Hollywood could easily bring to the big screen. Their life illustrates the rewards of hard work, perseverance and true grit.

Fast forward 66 years. There’s some older guy cranking The Doors in a retro 1996 Ford Aerostar van. Oh … that’s me! I’m on the way home from another home improvement job with a check in my pocket. My windows are rolled up, but people who pull up at the light next to me look around to see where the music beat is coming from. My wife accuses me of not growing up and I can’t help but agree. Guilty!


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