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Rediscovery of Diponegoro's Saber in the Netherlands Sparks Anticipation

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Justice Nwafor
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Rediscovery of Diponegoro's Saber in the Netherlands Sparks Anticipation

A long-lost saber belonging to Indonesian resistance hero Diponegoro has resurfaced at Paleis Het Loo in the Netherlands after decades of obscurity. The weapon, with its cultural significance as the embodiment of Diponegoro's spirit or 'pusaka', is a symbol of the hero's resistance against Dutch colonial rule.

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Finding the Lost Saber

Dutch researchers unraveled the origins of the saber following the discovery of a 1956 letter from the descendants of General Hendrik Merkus de Kock, who apprehended Diponegoro in 1830, marking the end of the Java War. The family had proposed selling the weapon, identified as Diponegoro's, to the Bronbeek Museum, a repository of Dutch East Indies military history. However, due to insufficient funds, the museum was unable to make the purchase.

From 'De Kock's Weapon' to Diponegoro's Saber

The saber, known as 'De Kock's weapon', had been with De Kock's family for years before its true provenance was recognized. Since 1974, it had been on loan to Paleis Het Loo and was later sold to them. The saber's Indonesian origins were masked by modifications made to make it resemble a Dutch naval saber, but when unsheathed, its true Indonesian characteristics are revealed.

With Diponegoro revered as a national hero in Indonesia, it is expected that the country may demand the return of the saber. Paleis Het Loo has already informed the Indonesian embassy about the rediscovery, although no response has been received from Indonesia yet.

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