The Inventory Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) in the Netherlands contains ICH of which the communities, groups or individuals involved have written a safeguarding plan. Those plans are reviewed by an independent review committee. Every three years an evaluation of the safeguarding takes place.


The Indonesian rijsttafel (rice table) is a traditional combination of dishes from various Indonesian food cultures. The rice table consists of a number of perfectly harmonised dishes. All main and side-dishes are put on the table at the same time. Everyone composes his own menu from them. It is not only about the eating itself; socialising and togetherness are equally important. The Indonesian rice table is a traditional element of festive occasions like annual events, reunions, memorials and other gatherings. The recipes for the rice table are often family recipes from the former Dutch East Indies, passed on by granny, aunty or kokkie (the cook). The one who makes the dishes of the rice table, must have sufficient knowledge and the cooking skills of the Indonesian cuisine. An Indonesian rice table consists of rice with a number of meat, fish and vegetables dishes, flanked by a number of matching side-dishes. The flavours must be well-harmonised, requiring a carefully thought out composition of the rice table.



The Indonesian rice table is highly valued within the Indonesian community. There are also groups of people who have no link with the former Dutch East Indies, but yet actively practise the Indonesian culinary culture, for instance certain web communities. And finally, there are the restaurants where the real Indonesian rice table is still prepared and the suppliers of Asian products as sold in toko’s. Samenwerking Erfgoed Rijsttafel (SER, Cooperation Heritage Rice Table) is an alliance, set up with the sole objective to manage the Indonesian rice table and safeguard it for next generations.



The VOC trading and the later annexation of Indonesia by the Netherlands, made many Dutchmen decide to go to Indonesia. Many households had Indonesian servants, among whom a kokkie for the kitchen. Thus they were confronted with local ingredients and dishes. In the course of time mixed dishes evolved. The notion ‘rice table’ was introduced in the beginning of the nineteenth century, for a native guest meal that the Regent presented to the Governor-General. Some decades later meals from ‘rice with some side-dishes’, especially as a warm lunch, became in vogue with the Dutch people in Indonesia. The term ‘rijsttafel’ was used for this. These could vary from quite simple to very extensive at special occasions. As of 1854 Indonesian cookbooks have been issued. In 1922 the first special edition on rice tables, written by J.M.J. Catenius-van der Meijden, was published. After the repatriation at the end of the forties of the twentieth century, the Indonesian rice table became a tradition for returnees, and a symbol of the former Dutch East Indies, as part of their cultural identity. Of later date is the popular cooking programme ‘De reistafel’, in which TV-cook Lonny Gerungang brought the original rice table and other Indonesian recipes to the attention of a younger generation. The rice table has not remained without modern trends. The Indonesian rice table is still popular as ever, also with the younger generation. Convenience and less labour intensity, without loss of flavour and quality, are the trends now.



Stichting Indisch Erfgoed