Vendutie, The Great Dutch Auction

Budiman BM
8 min readFeb 27, 2021

“When Satan wants to deceive, he carefully hides his horns and masks his hooves and tail. … And now there is a really sophisticated system in Deli. It is generally the custom for any inspector who is going to be transferred to another department in the region to hold a vendutie.” Van den Brand (1902).

Vendutie in Het Kamerlid Van Berkenstein in Nederlandsch-Indië.

Vendutie is a public auction. In the Netherland Indies, when a civil servant or officer or someone had to leave or move to another place, they would sell their furniture and household items as it would be too expensive to move them. It is a public event, and one can view the items for sale a day before the vendutie.

Some Dutch officers found it to be a useful way for legitimising incomes.

Mooie Vendutie

P.J. Kooreman was appointed the Resident of the East Coast of Sumatra in 1894. He proved to be a corporate-friendly resident that supported the Deli planters and its coolie ordinance.

At the end of his residency in 1899, a Vendutie was held. The Sultan of Deli also held a big reception for him.

The reception for Kooreman by the Sultan of Deli

De Sumatra Post on April 5, 1899 reported the results of the vendutie:

The Vendutie of Resident Kooreman has raised NLG 35,685 today and will be continued tomorrow. Among the fancy prices we noted:

  • 1000 guilders — for the writing table of the resident, bought by the sultan of Langkat
  • f510 for an ink set, buyer Hugo Loudon from the Royal Dutch company in Pangkalan Brandan
  • f150 for three paperweights, bought by the captain of the Chinese at Medan, Tjong A Fie;
  • f120 for a ruler, purchaser Mr. Swan of the Bombay Burma Trading Cy .;
  • f350 for a cigar-squeezer, purchaser Mr. v. Schmid, principal administrator of the Deli Batavia Mij
  • f650 for a globe, purchaser Mr. Tweer, principal administrator of the Senembah Mij
Budiman BM

Soil Scientist, interest in Colonial history.