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Spreading the love for Indonesian football culture

Dutch players with Indonesian roots

Belanda X Indonesia connection The Netherlands are quite famous when it comes to their national team, but did you know…

By Awaydays Asia , in Football Culture , at July 28, 2020 Tags:

Belanda X Indonesia connection

The Netherlands are quite famous when it comes to their national team, but did you know many Dutch players have Indonesian roots? Indonesia only ranks 173th in the official FIFA rankings and it’s fair to say their national team isn’t one with international allure. But that doesn’t mean their DNA doesn’t bring forward many talented football players.

Many of those players that have Indonesian blood running trough their veins were born and raised in The Netherlands or former Dutch-East Indies, but from parents with Indonesian, Malukan or Surinam-Javanese roots. Due to the historical connection between The Netherlands and Indonesia, many of those professional football players represented the Dutch national team and their national top teams like Ajax, Feyenoord and PSV. Ever wondered what kind of team you could compose out of these players? Well it’s your lucky day!  As we created the best possible team with Dutch players with Indonesian roots for you! 

Football team made of Dutch football players with Indonesian roots
From right to left: Just Göbels, Jaïro Riedewald, Sonny Silooy, John Heitinga, Giovanni Van Bronckhorst, Nigel De Jong, Denny Landzaat, Demy De Zeeuw, Robin Van Persie, Roy Makaay and Simon Tahamata.
1. Just Göbels
The goalie between the posts, is Dutch-East Indian born, Marius Jan “Just” Göbels. Born on 21 November 1891 in Soerabaja He earned his stripes for Vitesse between 1910-1922, where his talent was recognized as he stood out as one of the first goalkeepers that tried to catch balls, instead of blindly stomping them out. In total he played 22 matches for the Dutch national team.
Dutch Indonesian keeper Just Gobel sitting on the field
2. Jaïro Riedewald

On the rightback position we’ve got Jaïro Riedewald. The former Ajax defender, currently defends the colours of Crystal Palace in the English Premier League. His father is from Suriname while his mom is of Indonesian descent. So far Riedewald has played 3 international games for the national team of Holland.

Jairo Riedewald - Dutch Player With Indonesian Roots
3. Sonny Silooy

In the hearth of the center you find Ajax legend Sonny Silooy. He knew quite some successes with the club from Amsterdam, back in the 80’s. He managed to rack up 7 national championship titles, 4 national cups, 3 European supercups, 1 Champions League title, 1 UEFA cup title, the UEFA Super Cup and the World Cup for clubteams! Besides that he represented Holland 25 times as an international. Unfortunately for him, he missed out on winning the European Cup due to a broken eye socket.

Sonny Silooy passing a ball on behalf of Ajax Amsterdam - Dutch Player With Indonesian Roots
Picture by Soccer King
4. John Heitinga

Complementing the centre of defence with Silooy, is John Heitinga. One of the players in the team that has an outspoken, positive relationship with his heritage. His father was born in Jakarta and he was given lontong before international games. Heitinga had an impressive career in which he represented Ajax, Atlético Madrid, Everton, Fulham and Hertha BSC. Besides that he played 87 games as an international and came close to becoming a World Cup winner in 2010. He retired in 2015-2016 and is currently the coach of Ajax Youth teams.

John Heitinga as a defender for the Netherlands national team, clapping for the fans - Dutch Player With Indonesian Roots
5. Giovanni Van Bronckhorst

Who doesn’t remember Van Bronckhorst’s magical goal versus Uruguay in the semi-final of the 2010 World Cup. As a captain and valuable leftback, he played 106 games as a Dutch international. Besides that, he played for impressive clubs like Feyenoord, Glasgow Rangers, Arsenal and Barcelona where he became League Champion with Glasgow and Arsenal and the absolute highlight of his career was lifting the Champions League cup with Barcelona in 2005-2006. He couldn’t be left out on this list as a son of a mother from Malucan origins. 

Giovanni van Bronckhorst as a Dutch international and captain versus Iceland - Dutch Player With Indonesian Roots
6. Nigel De Jong

Next up is Nigel “Karate Kid” De Jong. A nickname he adopted after high-hitting Xabi Alonso during the 2010 World Cup Final against Spain. But this nickname doesn’t serve right to the career of Nigel De Jong as he played for big clubs like Ajax, Hamburger SV, Manchester City and AC Milan during his career. A steady, defensive midfielder who does everything needed to secure a win for his team! Just like Van Bronckhorst his Indonesian blood stems from Maluku, as his mother was born in Ambon. He wore the orange jersey a respectable 81 times during his career. 

Nigel De Jong - Dutch Player With Indonesian Roots
7. Demy De Zeeuw

Another player on the list that finds his roots in Maluku is Demy De Zeeuw. The Apeldoorn born De Zeeuw played most matches in his career for Alkmaar’s AZ before representing Ajax, Spartak Moscow, Anderlecht and closing off at NAC Breda. He played 27 international games for Holland between 2007-2010.

Demy De Zeeuw versus Uruguay - Dutch Player With Indonesian Roots
8. Denny Landzaat

The list of players from Moluccan descent just doesn’t stop. Denny Landzaat played most of his career in the Dutch Eredivisie for clubs such as: Feyenord, Willem II, AZ & FC Twente. Besides that he was lined up to sing the Dutch national anthem for a total of 38 games.

Denny Landzaat - Dutch Player With Indonesian Roots
9. Robin Van Persie

Perhaps the biggest star in our starting eleven is the all time top scorer for the Netherlands national team, The “Flying Dutchman” Robin Van Persie. With 50 goals in 102 matches he played a big role in his nation football history. A graceful striker who managed to score many beauty’s for Feyenoord, Arsenal, Manchester United and Fenerbahçe during his career. 

Robin Van Persie's Flying Dutchman goal against Spain - Dutch Player With Indonesian Roots
10. Roy Makaay

The deadly striker nicknamed as “Das Phantom” because of his ability to score out of nowhere has Molucan blood running trough his veins as his mom is from Ambon. He is the current record holder for the fastest Champions League goal in history(10,12 seconds). A consistent goal scorer for Vitesse, Tenerife, Deportivo La Coruña, Bayern Munich and Feyenoord. His international career was less successful with 6 goals in 43 appearances. 

Roy Makaay as Dutch International celebrating a goal - Dutch Player With Indonesian Roots
11. Simon Tahamata

The final player that made the starting 11 is former Ajax left winger Simon Tahamata. Just like many other players in the squad, the roots of Tahamata are on the Moluccas. A player who was loved among fans for his attitude and charism, during the years he played for Ajax, Standard Liège, Beerschot and Feyenoord. On the international stage he made 22 appearances for the Dutch Lions. 

Simon Tahamata as a striker for Ajax Amsterdam - Dutch Player With Indonesian Roots
Coach: André Wetzel
On the sideline you will find coach André Wetzel to take care of managing the team. The former footballer of clubs like Haarlem, FC Amsterdam, FC Den Haag and Telstar was born in Surabaya on 3 November 1951 and has been the manager of clubs like VVV-Venlo and ADO Den Haag.
Andre Wetzel in formal clothing - Dutch Player With Indonesian Roots
Goalkeeper: Dennis Gentenaar
Defense: Jeffrey Leuwakabessy, Kenny Tete and Wilfred Bouma
Midfield: Navarone Foor, Sergio Van Dijk
Striker: Michael Mols and Beb Bakhuys
Honorable Mention – Radja Nainggolan

Because the team only consists out of players with Dutch nationality who have Indonesian roots he didn’t make the team. But as one of the star midfielders in the Italian Seria A, he deserves a honorable mention, as Radja Nainggolan is a Belgian citizen, but if he was from Holland he would have definitely made it into the starting 11. Nainggolan’s father is an Indonesian of Batak background, an ethnicity group mostly found on the island of Sumatra. He was one of the star midfielders of AS Roma before making a move to Inter Milan and currently plays on loan for Cagliari. He has 30 caps for the Belgium national team

Radja Nainggolan as a international for the Belgian national team

Do you think this team had good chances on winning the World Cup? Or do you feel we missed any important players? Let us know in the comment section below! Besides that we made a top 10  of Remarkable Foreign players in the Liga 1 Indonesia. Curious? Click on the link.


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