Fridus Steijlen studied anthropology, with a specialization in Indonesia and ethnic minorities, especially Moluccans, in the Netherlands, at the University of Amsterdam. After his graduation he worked at various institutions, particularly the University of Amsterdam and the Free University of Amsterdam. In 1996 he obtained his PhD at the University of Amsterdam with a doctoral thesis on the history of Moluccan nationalism in the Netherlands. After his completing his doctoral degree, he worked as a researcher at the Erasmus University, Rotterdam, until he became the coordinator of the Oral History Project on Indonesia at the KITLV (SMGI). In 2002 he became a researcher at the KITLV. On 17 Juni 2017 he was appointed endowed professor ‘Moluccan Migration and Culture in Comparative Perspective’ at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. This chair was established by the Foundation of the Moluccan Historical Museum.
Steijlen was a senior researcher in a government-sponsored research project on the history of Moluccans in the Netherlands, coordinated by the Moluccan Museum in Utrecht. This research resulted in 2006 in a standard work on the history of Moluccans in the Netherlands. Between 2005 and 2008 Steijlen was responsible for the Indisch Knooppunt project, combining a digital research guide with oral history on Indisch organization. Finally Steijlen is regularly involved in training programs on oral history in the Netherlands and Indonesia.
‘In and Out of Uniform. Moluccan Soldiers in the Dutch Colonial Army’, in: eds Eric Storm & Ali AL Tuma, Colonial Soldiers in Europe, 1914-1945; “Aliens in Uniform” in Wartime Societies, pp. 229-248. London, Routledge, 2015.
‘Indo-European Pasar Malam, Identity and Performance in the Netherlands’, in: eds Barbara Hatley & Brett Hough, Performing Contemporary Indonesia. Celebrating Identity, Constructing Community, pp. 203-220. Leiden, Brill, 2015.
‘Pasar Malam Indo-Eropa Identitas dan pertunjukan kebudayaan di belanda’, in: eds Barbara Hatley, G. Budi Subandar & Yustina Devi Ardhiani, Seni Pertunjukan Indonesia Pasca Orde Baru, pp. 245-266. Yogyakarta, Universitas Sanata Dharma, 2014.
‘Kollektief Muziek Theater’s Repositioning of Moluccan Issues’, in: B. Barendregt. & E. Bogaerts (eds.), Recollecting Resonances; Indonesian-Dutch Musical Encounters, pp.319-337. Leiden: Brill, 2013.
‘Closing the “KNIL chapter”: A key moment in identity formation of Moluccans in the Netherlands’, in: U. Bosma (ed.), Postcolonial immigrants and identity formations in the Netherlands, pp. 117-134. Amsterdam: IMISCOE/Amsterdam University Press, 2012.
(With Sheri Lynn Gibbings), ‘Colonial figures; Memories of street traders in the colonial and early post-colonial periods’, Public History Review 19:63-85, 2012.
‘To the memory of comrades; Personal remembrance of Dutch war dead in Southeast Asia, 1942-45’, Public History Review 16:64-77, 2009.
(With Henk Smeets), In Nederland gebleven; De geschiedenis van Molukkers 1951-2006. Amsterdam: Bert Bakker, 2006.