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The label of the Nieuwenhuizen nasi goreng looks vibrant and colorful. Although the label was designed to catch the attention of the consumer and to sell the product, it also contains a lot of information about the history of a Leiden company that in 100 years’ time grew from a small family business to a big player on the international (and mainly colonial) market, from Suriname to Indonesia.

Thanks to the preserved vegetables and meals produced by Nieuwenhuizen, the flavor of the Netherlands reached the Dutch Indies. After Indonesia’s independence, Nieuwenhuizen brought the Indonesian flavor to the Netherlands. The Javanese servant can be considered as a metaphor for the ease with which the canned nasi goreng can be prepared. The keys on the gong symbolize the interconnectedness between local and colonial history. But it also shows us that twenty years after the independence of Indonesia, both manufacturer and consumer still could not say goodbye to the colonial world.