22 Jan 2021

Since the beginning of 2020 the COVID-19 pandemic confronts us with the robustness of nature and also with its vulnerability. As human beings, we are inextricably linked to nature. Didn’t we get the coronavirus to us by cutting down excessive amounts of trees from the tropical rainforests? The pandemic reminds us that nature needs our awareness and sustainable care. We can’t live and survive without a well-functioning ecosystem. Trees and forests, the tropical rainforests are indispensable for a healthy ecosystem and for the future of planet earth.

In the spring of 2020 these thoughts inspired Joty ter Kulve-van Os (1927) to compose a commemorating program ‘75 Years of Freedom’ related to sustainable forestry in Indonesia. This program gives The Borneo Initiative a platform to start a primary school education project ‘Forests for our Children’ in the Netherlands. Since twelve years and on an ever growing scale The Borneo Initiative promotes sustainable forestry and reforestation projects in Indonesia. Founder of the Borneo Initiative is Jesse Kuijper, who is also chair of INS.

Jesse Kuijper, founder of The Borneo Initiative

In the context of the commemoration of 75 years of freedom local and national newspapers issued interviews with elderly people, among whom Joty ter Kulve, one of the founders of INS. The story of her life in the Dutch Indies, her experiences during the Japanese occupation and her view on the Indonesian independence and current relationship between Indonesia and the Netherlands attracted much attention. When the municipality of Wassenaar invited her to propose a commemoration program, she came up with the plan to celebrate the 75 years of freedom of the Netherlands, Indonesia and the United Nations together. ‘After World War II intervention by the United Nations was needed to help the Netherlands and Indonesia to negotiate a new international relationship. By planting three freedom trees in Wassenaar for the Netherlands, Indonesia and the United Nations we underscore our mature relationship’, Joty explains.

Read more about the initiative “75 Years of Freedom, Three Freedom Trees Wassenaar”

Joty ter Kulve – van Os in front of the Three Freedom Trees on the De Paauw Estate / Foto Ernst de Groot


Article written by Monica Bouman