#696 Franz Wilhelm Junghuhn – The True Representation of Dutch Creativity and Tolerance

We have heard about it all before, the Netherlands, they have it all. From the best universities in the world, nobel prize winners, world acclaimed architects, to legenderay artists. On a global scale, Netherlands is also one of the best places to live and work on Earth.

What is the secret ingredient? According to Mr. Ping in Kung Fu Panda, believing something is special is the key. However, that’s not the only one. Behind the glory of success there’s always a grueling process of hardwork, perseverance and dedication. A lot of fun too. The combination of an open mind to new ideas, innovation with passionate creative work? A nation full of ‘worka-frolics’. Not only that, the Dutch nurtures worka-frolics from other nations too, and they have learnt this for hundreds of years.

One fine example is Franz Wilhelm Junghuhn (1809-1864). Founder of the White Crater (Kawah Putih) in Ciwidey, Bandung, who, played a very important role of documenting Java and Sumatra in the botanic, geographic, topographic and cartographic fields. He was of German origin and was granted Dutch Citizenship in 1853.

 Franz Wilhelm Junghuhn

His key works were Die Bättalander auf Sumatra (Batak lands of Sumatra- 1847) and Java, seine Gestalt, Pflanzendecke, und sein innerer Bau (Images of Light and Shadow from Java’s interior – 1850-1854). Junghuhn was the first scientist to record and map out Sumatra and Java not only geographically but also etnographically in great depth.

 Junghuhn’s map in comparison with a current map of Java

 Junghuhn’s map displayed at the Erasmus Huis, Jakarta, and my sister. A pretty huge map right? He did it alone and by hand. No computers, Arcview and Photoshop back then.

As a botanist, Junghuhn’s milestone was during his first 13 years in Java. He compiled a comprehensive plant distribution study of the island of Java which remains valid to this day and is regarded as one of the best scientific documentations ever. Due to his observations, he saw the deterioration of nature caused by humans and advised the government to implement a planned reforestation programme back in 1856. Undoubtedly, Junghuhn was already into the ‘go green’ movement way ahead of his time. His love for land was unquestionable, even in his death bed he requested to view Mount Tangkuban Perahu and breathe in its clean mountainous air for the last time.

 Junghuhn’s sketches of plants

 Junghuhn’s image of Dieng

Nonetheless, Junghuhn’s genius came with a price. ‘His work was controversial at the time, because he encouraged socialism and criticized Christian and Islamic proselytization of the Javanese people’. At first, his volumes of research couldn’t be published in Europe. However, the Dutch published them eventually although his name remained anonymous. It was his 4th volume, published in 1866, 2 years after his death that his name was mentioned.

As cited above, even at the time, the Dutch has always respected the importance of information. Taking the risks, giving science a chance. These were the early steps to tolerance that the Dutch are renown for today.
In spite of all, Junghuhn is indeed the true representation of creativity, passion and perseverance. Defying the odds and going through the C.R.A.P. The Criticism, Rejection, Pressure and A…hmm, see for yourself what A stands for in the video by TED on success by analyst Richard St John below.

– ditulis oleh Diah Pratiwi


2 Komentar

Filed under entri, kompetiblog2012

2 responses to “#696 Franz Wilhelm Junghuhn – The True Representation of Dutch Creativity and Tolerance

  1. Seorang surveyor freelance

    Akhirnya ada yang bahas tentang Junghuhn~! xD Berkat beliau geografi di Indonesia (khususnya di Pulau Jawa) tingkat informasinya mendetail. Berbeda dengan artikel lain-lain dari entri kompatiblog lainnya, makasih banyak loh mau bahas tentang jernih payahnya seorang surveyor berkeliling demi data karena cintanya, terhadap menimba ilmu dan mau berbagi.

    Belanda enggak hanya terkenal karena arsiteknya dan seninya saja. Kurasa kalau para geograf-nya tidak pintar melihat medannya, arsitektur kota-kota di sana tenggalam dari kapan tau.

    Improvements for writing: explore more vocabs, expressions, and also try looking around how to make a fun tone in article writing. You’re doing great so far! 😉

    Thanks Mbak, for sharing the struggles of an avid researcher. Nice to know there are some English articles out there!

  2. Kalau melihat Peta Jawa-nya Junghuhn yg bikinan tahun 1860, wah… akurat banget yah. Luar biasa. Nggak kebayang seberapa dalam dedikasinya. Salut! [masih geleng-geleng kepala. 😀 ]

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