Greeting by the German Ambassador to Jakarta, Ina Lepel, at the opening of the exhibition Dipl.-Ing. Arsitek: German-trained Indonesian Architects from the 1960s on 12 December 2022.
The year 2022 has been an outstanding year for the bilateral relations between Indonesia and Germany. Not only are we celebrating 70 years of diplomatic relations between our countries. In addition, with Germany holding the G7 presidency, and Indonesia’s presidency of the G20, there has been a frequent exchange throughout the year including on the highest political level. Both our Federal President and Chancellor came to Indonesia, and President Jokowi attended the G7 summit in Germany.
These high-level visits are important: they illustrate the political importance that countries attach to each other. However, good bilateral ties are made of much more than high-level politics. What 70 years ago, in 1952, began with the establishment of the German embassy here in Jakarta, has grown into a close partnership with strong ties between people, businesses and politics. The cultural exchange, including exchange in education is an important cornerstone of this bilateral relationship. This is why I am excited that tonight we are celebrating an exciting exhibition here at Taman Ismail Marzuki, which is dedicated to one important aspect of intercultural exchange.
The exhibition “Dipl.-Ing. Arsitek” tells the fascinating stories of Indonesians that came to Germany as students in architecture and graduated in the 1960s with the degree of Diplom-Ingenieur, or Dipl.-Ing. for short. After graduation, some of them stayed on in Europe, but many returned home. They applied what they had learned abroad, and became protagonists of modern Indonesian architecture. Thus, one could even say that every building, every work created to their designs is a part of the ongoing intercultural dialogue between Indonesia and Germany. Of course, this dialogue not only reflects in their professional work. This is why I am looking forward to explore the many artefacts and tokens from the personal lives of the architects showcased in this exhibition.
The artistic team behind the exhibition, most of them from Indonesia, have meticulously collected these items over many months. Every single one of them tells its own story about German-Indonesian cultural exchange. I am grateful to the architects and their families for sharing these precious souvenirs. It is important to realise that looking back is not the same as being stuck in the past. I am convinced that from the stories told by this exhibition, we can also learn a lot about intercultural dialogue and cooperation in the future.
An important aspect of this is the question about how we archive and preserve the knowledge of yesterday in order to use it to solve the problems of tomorrow. In the field of architecture, this extends to pressing urban challenges about the management of natural resources and sustainability, as well as social cohesion.
With this in mind, I wish to thank everybody involved in this exhibition for their initiative and support. I look forward to a fruitful exchange not only on the past and present of our cultural relationship, but also on how to shape the coming 70 years of German-Indonesian bilateral relations.
Terima kasih. Salam sukses dan salam sehat selalu.