Welcome to the Dreamland
Website of Joachim van Gendt

Pulau Samosir, Sumatra Utara, Indonesia

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You are visiting my main page on the internet.
From here you can visit my other pages which each contain a description of different places, their people and culture.

    First of all I like to tell you something about the background of this site. What is the reason why I want to make a site on the internet about places that are situated on the other side of the world. Well, it is not so strange as it seems when you know that I have studied cultural anthropology at the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands.
    During that study I have developed a great interest for the diversity of cultures in Indonesia, especially on the island of Sulawesi. Because of that interest I have done research among the Mamasa-Toraja for a period of three months in 1991. In describing their social life I was confronted with their religion. The dedication to and explanations of their religious meanings brought me a great affection for this subject. For my graduation project I choose therefor a study of religion.
    In reading books about other cultures in Indonesia I became interested in the society of the Minahasa people. I read that through a lot of influences the traditional society of the Minahasa people changed drastically. Questions came to me why people change certain social practice together with the underlying meaning, while other social practice with their meanings survive in traditional way. In this perspective I have done research among the Minahasa people for a period of three months in 1994. During that research I especially looked at the religious transformations within the society.
    In a wider perspective I wanted to compare these transformations with the changes that took place in the traditional religion of the people of Surigao. This latter region is situated on the island Mindanao, which is in the far south of the Philippine archipelago.
    The relation with the Philippine region developed through contact with a fellow student who did research in the Philippines, also in 1991. In discussions with him I thought that a comparison of the religious transformations of the people in both regions was relevant.
    My interest in the culture of the Batak people grew when I met my wife Triciani, who is from Batak origin. In 2005 we went to the Batak Highlands on the island of Sumatra. I am now writing an article about the rites of passages of the Toba Batak people after they changed to Christianity in the late 19th century. On the Batak page I will give a summary of this article.

The Death rituals of the Sa'dan-Toraja (in Dutch)
The Minahasa page
The Surigao page
The Toraja page

New to come:
The Batak page
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