News & events > Brunei-Netherlands Borneo exhibition
21 Jan 2013 - 21 Feb 2013

Brunei-Netherlands Borneo exhibition

Portret van een Dajak vrouw, Borneo, 1917, foto, onderdeel van een kwartetspel, collectie: Tropenmuseum
Exhibition "Borneo cultures in Brunei and Dutch collections" signals start of long-term collaboration Dates: January 21, 2013 - February 21, 2013

The Tropenmuseum in Amsterdam and the Brunei Museum in Bandar Seri Begawan, both Asia-Europe Museum Network members, opened the exhibition "Borneo cultures in Brunei and Dutch collections" during the Dutch state visit on 21 January 2013. Queen Beatrix, Prince Willem-­Alexander and Princess Máxima were the first visitors to this exhibition, which signaled the start of a long-­term collaboration between the two museums.

From start to finish, the exhibition Borneo cultures in Brunei and Dutch collections was collaboratively developed by the staff of both museums, presenting a true dialogue, both literally and figuratively. Even the texts in the exhibition were written jointly. The choice was made to focus on shared heritage, featuring objects with a story to tell about the cultures of Borneo, the island of which Brunei is a geographical part. The exhibition makers eventually chose nearly sixty objects: photographs and maps from the Amsterdam collection and artefacts from the Brunei Museum. A fine example is shown in the form of a richly decorated shield which can be seen both in a photograph from the Tropenmuseum and in real life from the Brunei Museum collection.

Portret van een Dajak man met een met haarlokken versierd schild, eerste helft 20ste eeuw, Borneo, foto, collectie: Tropenmuseum

Long­term collaboration

Following this exhibition, the Brunei Museum and the Tropenmuseum will be embarking upon a multi-year collaboration to exchange museum ­related, archaeological and cultural-historical knowledge and experience and to develop new activities. The exhibition was made possible with the support of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport in Brunei Darussalam. Philips installed new LED lighting in the Brunei Museum as a material contribution to the project.

Tropenmuseum over the border

The Tropenmuseum is very active outside the borders of the Netherlands and is keen to develop international collaborative projects which are mutually beneficial to both parties. Such projects include assistance with the establishment of a degree programme in museology at the local university in Yogyakarta.

For more information download the PDF press release "Borneo cultures in Brunei and Dutch collections" (96kb) or please contact Nanja Ruiter, tel. +31 (0)20 – 568 8418, or by e-mail:

View all Asia-Europe Museum Network members from the Netherlands and Brunei