From 1970 until 1988 I was busy with and in Indonesia: research for the PhD on pesantren and teaching in Jakarta and Yogyakarta. After returning to the Netherlands I wrote a first book for the Dutch market with the title De Islam bekeken door Koloniale Nederlanders. ('Islam in the eyes of Dutch Colonials')
Islam was a new issue in Dutch society and I wrote from my experience of Indonesian studies. The book was published in 1991. An English translation followed in 1993 and an Indonesian one in 1995 thanks to the translator Drs (now professor) Suryan A. Jamrah.
The English edition was reprinted in 2006 with a new concluding chapter about the last 50/70 years. Times are changing quickly. Now again the translation by Suryan Jamrah has been published with a new concluding chapter and prefaces by Azyumardi Azra and Mujiburrahman. The latter wrote a nice poem for me here:
Steenbrink bukan sarjana menara gading;
Masalah antar agama dia turut
Di Belanda dan Indonesia dia pontang panting;
isterinya yang selalu menggandeng.
In English translation it can be read as:
Steenbrink is not a scholar of the ivory tower
he is always concerned with interreligious things
active in Indonesia and the Netherlands
supported by his loving wife
Thank you, Suryan Jamrah, Mujib and Azyumardi, as well as Farid Wajdi of Gading Publishers for this edition. Mujib wrote me that he considers it the proper gift for the end of Ramadan this year. To all readers: Mohon maaf lahir batin: I ask for all the mistakes made in this book and elsewhere in my life! May it contribute to peace and understanding.