Legenda Sawung Kampret

WYS Education will publish De legende van Vleermuisvechter (The legend of Batfighter), the Dutch translation of the Indonesian comic Legenda Sawungkampret.

The publication in the Netherlands is an initiative of Jolien van der Geugten and her father Tom van der Geugten. Subsidies have been awarded for this by vfonds (National Fund for Peace, Freedom and Veteran Care).

Indonesische stripboek Legenda Sawung Kampret. Een Indonesisch stripboek over het VOC-verleden.

Satirical comic about the past of the VOC

The comic De legende van Vleermuisvechter will be the Dutch translation of the Indonesian comic Legenda Sawungkampret. It is a satirical comic set in Java in the early 17th century when the VOC (Dutch East India Company), led by Governor General Jan Pieterszoon Coen, established its power in and around the small colony of Batavia.


Indonesian perspective

Dutch readers will be surprised how this piece of Dutch overseas history is told from an Indonesian perspective. In their fight against the Dutch, the Indonesian heroes of the story, Vleermuisvechter and Na'ief, resemble the Gallic comic book heroes Asterix and Obelix in their fight against the Romans.

De legende van Vleermuisvechter is the first part of this adventure series Legenda Sawungkampret of which seven parts have been published in Indonesia.


Dossier with background

The translated comic is supplemented with a 'dossier' with background information about the comic maker Dwi Koendoro, the Dutch and Indonesian perspective on the VOC, the facts between the fabrications in the comic, the humour. the translation and the place of the comic in the Indo-Dutch intangible heritage.

Foto van Tom van der Geugten initiatiefnemer Nederlandstalige uitgave De legende van Vleermuisvechter

About Tom van der Geugten

Historian drs. Tom van der Geugten (Bandung, 1952) was a teacher and lecturer in secondary and higher education and is specializes in Indonesian and Indo-Dutch history.

At VU-University Amsterdam he teaches the HOVO courses 'Indonesia and the Netherlands' and 'The Indonesian image of the past'.

As an educational author, he contributed to textbooks such as Gechiedeniswerkplaats. He also made publications about the attention paid to the colonial past in textbooks, such as the chapter 'The history of slavery in Dutch education' in the recently published book Staat en slavernij. Het Nederlandse slavernijverleden en zijn doorwerking (State and Slavery. The Dutch Slavery Past and its Impact).

Photo: Tom van der Geugten

Why this comic?

When Tom van der Geugten studied Dutch and Indonesian comics, he found out two translated Dutch comics have been published in Indonesia - Rampokan by Peter van Dongen and De Terugkeer (Tapak Tilas) by Eric Heuvel and Ruud van der Rol - but there is not a single Dutch version of an Indonesian comic, while in the Netherlands there is a growing interest in the Indonesian image of the colonial past.

Most Indonesian historical comics are very serious in tone. An exception to this is the very humorous series Legenda Sawung Kampret in which the Dutch (not all of them!) like Jan Pieterszoon Coen are ridiculed. That is why this comic seemed ideally suited for a Dutch publication.

Indonesische stripboek Legenda Sawung Kampret. Een Indonesisch stripboek over het VOC-verleden.
Afbeelding uit het originele stripboek Legenda Sawung Kampret. Een Indonesisch stripboek over het VOC-verleden.


Meanwhile, Governor General JP Coen exploded when he saw that his soldiers had failed.

Shame on you!!! That you have been defeated by such primitive people!! And also lost one bullet.

Two with the blank.

They are tough silat fighters, Your Excellency.

The most important thing is that no blood has been shed. We only have bumps on our heads, a crack here and there, dizziness and a few scorch marks.

Illustration: Image from the Indonesian comic Legenda Sawungkampret.

Book launch

Date: November 30th, 2023

Time: in the evening

Location: De Utrechtse Boekenbar, Utrecht, The Netherlands

Dutch will be spoken on this evening. This evening is open to interested individuals and guests. Registration is required.

Photo: De Utrechtse Boekenbar

Tom van der Geugten en Jolien van der Geugten staan te praten in De Utrechtse Boekenbar.

Guest speakers presentation

Dr. Mei Li Vos

Mei Li Vos is known as a politician, previously as a member of the Dutch House of Representatives and now of the Senate (GroenLinks/PvdA).

Prof. dr. Kees Ribbens

Kees Ribbens is professor of Popular Historical Culture of Global Conflicts and Mass Violence at the Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication of Erasmus University Rotterdam.

Prof. Dr. Pamela Pattynama

Prof. Dr. Pamela Pattynama is emeritus professor of Colonial and Postcolonial literary and cultural history at the University of Amsterdam.
Onderzoeker en schrijver Jolien van der Geugten

About Jolien van der Geugten

Dr. Jolien van der Geugten is senior researcher, writer and project leader.

W.Y.S. stands for What's Your Story? It is her mission to give people a voice and tell (hidden) stories through research and education.

When her father Tom van der Geugten came up with the plan to translate and publish this comic book into Dutch, she immediately was enthusiastic. The comic book gives the Indonesian perspective a voice, and in this form can also reach younger generations.

Photo: Carola Doornbos


This project is made possible in part by the vfonds (National Fund for Peace, Freedom and Veteran Care), thanks to donations from the National Postcode Lottery, the BankGiro Lottery and the Dutch Lottery.

The vfonds supports initiatives and projects that constantly remind the Netherlands how special peace and freedom are and how valuable our democracy is. By keeping the memory of war alive. By commemorating victims and valuing war veterans. But also by celebrating peace and freedom. Together we build a peaceful society.

Illustration: Logo vfonds


[vfonds invests in peace]

"The way in which the Indonesian perspective is highlighted and the comic is placed in context in this project can be of added value to an understanding of the Indo-Dutch dual identity. In addition, the project contributes to a polyphonic understanding of history by a wide audience, especially among younger generations."