Harry studied Political Science at the University of Amsterdam, where he graduated in 1972. In 1976 he obtained his PhD in Social Sciences at the University of Amsterdam with a thesis on the biography of the Indonesian political leader Tan Malaka. At that time Harry was an alderman in the local government of Castricum. Later he became head of the KITLV Publications Department (1981), which has since developed into the KITLV Press. Since 2010 he was senior publisher with the Press, and now, in retirement, a senior researcher at KITLV.
His research interest is in the developments in the Indonesian political world since 1900, during Dutch colonial rule, the Japanese occupation, and the Indonesian Revolution in particular. He published a three-volume history of the Indonesian Left during the Indonesian Revolution, concentrating on the role of Tan Malaka, in 2007. Currently he is working on a publication about Indonesian political songs (1925-1965), the (revised) biography of Tan Malaka till 1945, and a monograph on Boven-Digoel, the Dutch colonial internment camp for political prisoners.
‘From foe to partner to foe again: The strange alliance of the Dutch authorities and Digoel exiles in Australia, 1943-1945’, Indonesia no. 94 (October 2012):57-84.
‘The Cold War in Indonesia’, Journal of Southeast Asian Studies 40:497-517, 2010.
Verguisd en vergeten; Tan Malaka, de linkse beweging en de Indonesische Revolutie, 1945-1949. Leiden: KITLV Uitgeverij, 2007. (Three volumes; these volumes are published in a revised edition in Indonesian translation. Of the six volumes projected, five now have appeared; the last one will be published in 2015).
In het land van de overheerser; Indonesiërs in Nederland 1600-1950. Dordrecht: Foris, 1986. [Verhandelingen KITLV 100.] [Translated into Indonesian.]
Politiek-politioneele overzichten van Nederlandsch-Indië 1927-1941; Bronnenpublikatie. Leiden: KITLV Uitgeverij, 1982-1994. [Four volumes.]
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