Saying farewell to Indonesia, Bhinneka Tunggal Ika, Unity in Diversity

Ferdinand Lahnstein, Deputy Chief of Mission of the Dutch embassy in Jakarta, is saying farewell to Indonesia and shares some examples of his work in the last month.

Ferdinand Lahnstein naast schilderij

After four fantastic and happy years I will leave Indonesia with my wife and son. We are excited to re-unite with our two daughters and family in the Netherlands. We had a really great time and will miss Indonesia and its people dearly. This country has a lot to offer and our work at the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Jakarta is diverse and meaningful. I would like to share with you some examples of my work in my last month.

Visit to East Indonesia: focus on business opportunities

On the fourth and fifth of July I visited Makassar with an EU Head of Missions delegation. With a growth rate around 7 procent the economy of South Sulawesi is booming. We had a cordial meeting with the Governor of South Sulawesi, Nurdin Addullah. His election in June 2018 delivered a major shakeup of entrenched dynastic politics in South Sulawesi. He has garnered a positive reputation on working to reform the bureaucracy and increase transparency. As Bupati he has won several awards and distinctions, including the prestigious Bung Hatta Anti Corruption Award. Nurdin Addullah is a Japanese trained agricultural academic. I experienced him as an inspiring person with a mission.

We discussed with him extensively on the business opportunities in South Sulawesi, nicknamed 'Pintu Gerbang Kawasan Timur' or 'the gate to Eastern Indonesia'. The economic structure in South Sulawesi is dominated by Agiculture, Forestry and Fisheries (19 procent), Construction (15 procent), Wholesale and retail (15 procent) and Manufacturing (14 procent). But the fastest growing business sectors are Services (13 procent), Tourism (13 procent) and Information and Communication (12 procent). Commencing full commercial operations as of April 2019 the deep sea Makassar New Port, the biggest port in east Indonesia, will boost development and trade even further in South Sulawesi.

During this visit we also met with members of Kadin, had a field visit at the new port of Pelindo IV and the land reclamation project of Ciputra World. The EU selected Makassar for one of their five pilot cities to receive technical assistance under the International Urban Cooperation Programme ( The Government for Indonesia is investing heavily and has allocated 27 nationally strategic development projects in Sulawesi. This will lay the groundwork for further developments. This is also why in April 2019 our Economic Department organized a trade mission including 9 Dutch companies to Makassar. Some Dutch companies already established business deals in South Sulawesi on their own.

The Embassy will continue to keep a focus on East Indonesia and this will be facilitated by establishing a Netherlands Business Support Office in Surabaya.

Education programmes: unity in diversity

My last example I want to share with you is attending the closing ceremony organized at the Erasmus Training Centre  (ETC) for their Pre Departure programme for Indonesian bachelor and master students who are going to study in the Netherlands for some time. Perhaps one of my most favorite things to do. For me students embody the future relationship between Indonesia and The Netherlands.

As an Embassy we will continue to invest a lot in those young leaders. They will be the ones with whom we will deepen, strengthen and broaden the relationship between Indonesia and the Netherlands. In Jakarta we are very fortunate to have organizations as Nuffic/Neso and ETC at the premises of the Embassy. Together we can build an even better and diverse relationship with Indonesia. My experience here in Indonesia convinced me that Indonesia has a lot to offer for the Netherlands and vice versa. Both our countries unite in diversity.

Stay tuned

Thank you all for your cooperation over the past four years. Stay tuned on Happenings and the social media outlets of the Embassy. You can follow me in my new adventures via Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.

Terima Kasih Banyak,

Ferdinand Lahnstein