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A considerable amount of the existing buildings, towns, roads, waterworks, etc. in Asia were designed and realised under European colonial rule. Over the last two to three decades, as scholars increasingly started to pay attention to these physical remains of the colonial past, a fair amount of information has become available about the architects, town planners, civil engineers, entrepreneurs and administrators who were involved in the realisation of the built environment.

Although the collected information is valuable, what we need now are comparative studies: studies where the developments in one colony or town, say Indo-China or Saigon, are compared with developments in other colonies or towns, say British-India and the Dutch East Indies or New Delhi and Bandung. It is this approach that I would like to carry out in addition to a revision of my dissertation about town planning in the Dutch East Indies between 1905 and 1950.

Examining the work of Indies colonial  planners in the broader context is interesting for two reasons. The first reason is that an Asian perspective enables me to determine and rank the importance the developments in the Dutch East Indies in a broader context. The second reason is that a comparative study enables me to determine whether and if so, how and why European professionals (architects, town planners, civil engineers, administrators) in Asia exchanged knowledge beyond their geographic boundaries. In other words, the additional research will make it possible to consider the work in the Dutch East Indies in an international setting.