Design drawing for a cover of the Algemeen Tijdschrift Holland – Indië (General Magazine Holland – East Indies). The magazine existed under this name from 1929 to 1932 and was published by the Dutch training institute Schoevers, which still exists today.
Schoevers trained many students for a job as an administrative assistant in the Dutch East Indies. In addition to its Dutch offices, the training institute also offered education in Batavia (Weltevreden), Bandung, Surabaya and Medan. The Dutch students were not only trained in subjects such as shorthand, typing, commercial correspondence, English, German and French, but also in Malay. Through the magazine, they could already get acquainted with colonial life and Indonesian culture.
Holland-Indië mainly contained illustrated stories about tourism, art, science, fashion, film, music, theater, but not about political matters. A trip by director Adriaan Schoevers to the Dutch East Indies was extensively reported. Other articles were about Javanese dance and wayang songs, for example. The magazine was further filled with information about the training institute and lists of graduates.
The black and white cover design by Edzard de Groot shows a romanticized image of the Dutch East Indies. A Dutchman in traditional costume with cap and clogs and an Indonesian farmer with skirt (sarong) and head cloth (kain kepala) together symbolize the unity of both peoples. In the background we see a windmill and factory for ‘Holland’ and rice fields, palm trees and a Sumatran house for ‘Indië’; cliché images that portray the Netherlands as an industrial country and the Dutch East Indies as an agricultural country.
The two men stand with their backs to each other. There is no contact between them. It is also striking that the Dutchman puts one hand in his pocket and that the Indonesian man looks very muscular, probably from the labour on the rice fields. This is perhaps the only realistic element of the design drawing: the Dutch filled their pockets over the backs of the hard-working Indonesians!