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Dutch Totok couple wearing Dutch traditional clothing on New Year's Day 1926

Totok is an Indonesian term of Javanese origin, used in Indonesia to refer to recent migrants of Arab, Chinese or European origins.[1][2][3][4] In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries it was popularised among colonists in Batavia, who initially coined the term to describe the foreign born and new immigrants of "pure blood" – as opposed to people of mixed indigenous and foreign descent, such as the Peranakan Arabs, Chinese or Europeans (the latter being better known as the Indo people).[3][5][4]

When more pure-blooded Arabs, Chinese and Dutchmen were born in the East Indies, the term gained significance in describing those of exclusive or almost exclusive foreign ancestry.[1][3][4]

'Peranakan' is the antonym of 'Totok', the former meaning simply 'descendants' (of mixed roots), and the latter meaning 'pure'.[4][6]

Notable Dutch Totoks and descendants[edit]

Totok father with Indo wife and children and Indigenous nanny

See also[edit]



  1. ^ a b Ulbe Bosma & Remco Raben (2008). Being "Dutch" in the Indies: A History of Creolisation and Empire, 1500–1920 (11 April 1996 ed.). National University of Singapore Press. pp. 186–286. ISBN 978-0-89680-261-2.
  2. ^ Charles A. Coppel, "Diaspora and hybridity: Peranakan Chinese culture in Indonesia", in Routledge Handbook of the Chinese Diaspora, edited by Chee-Beng Tan, pp. 346-347
  3. ^ a b c Mobini-Kesheh, Natalie (1999). The Hadrami Awakening: Community and Identity in the Netherlands East Indies, 1900-1942. Singapore: SEAP Publications. ISBN 978-0-87727-727-9. Retrieved 3 December 2019.
  4. ^ a b c d Rush, James R. (2007). Opium to Java: Revenue Farming and Chinese Enterprise in Colonial Indonesia, 1860-1910. Sheffield: Equinox Publishing. ISBN 978-979-3780-49-8. Retrieved 3 December 2019.
  5. ^ Willems, Wim "Tjalie Robinson; Biografie van een Indo-schrijver" Chapter: Een Totok als vader (Publisher: Bert Bakker, 2008) p. 45 ISBN 9789035133099.
  6. ^ Tan, Mely G. (2008) (in English and Indonesian), Etnis Tionghoa di Indonesia: Kumpulan Tulisan [Ethnic Chinese in Indonesia: Collected Writings] (Jakarta: Yayasan Obor Indonesia, 2008) ISBN 978-979-461-689-5 p. 1
  7. ^ Rubber by Madelon Szekely-Lulofs on DBNL website.
  8. ^ Koelie by Madelon Szekely-Lulofs on DBNL website.


  • Bosman, Ulbe and Raben, Remco. De oude Indische wereld 1500–1920. (Bert Bakker, Amsterdam 2003) ISBN 90-351-2572-X (in Dutch)
  • Sastrowardoyo, Subagio Sastra Hindia Belanda dan kita (Publisher: PT Balai Pustaka, Jakarta, 1990) p. 21 ISBN 979-407-278-8 (in Indonesian)
  • Taylor, Jean Gelman. The Social World of Batavia: European and Eurasian in Dutch Asia (Madison: The University of Wisconsin Press, 1983). ISBN 9780300097092
  • Taylor, Jean Gelman. Indonesia: Peoples and Histories (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2003). ISBN 0300097093

External links[edit]