Empire is coming to America
And guess what? We won’t be making anything about the Henry Hudson-led VOC mission that brought New York City into existence. Instead, we’re headed to the West Coast to learn about Southern California’s twice-displaced “Indo” community.
In the 1940’s, 50’s, and even 60’s, some 300,000 people of mixed Dutch-Indonesian descent left behind the conflicts of their newly independent tropical homeland and relocated to The Netherlands. Not all of these new immigrants felt comfortable with the cold winds of Northern Europe, and so a small number immigrated to the States and settled in warm climates like Florida and California.
Despite encountering some early setbacks—including various straight up racist, quota-driven immigration policies—the US’s Indo population integrated and assimilated rather seamlessly into American culture. In the US, as in The Netherlands, they were considered to be a “model” immigrant population, with all of the baggage that that label implies.
For the new Empire story in California we’ll be investigating how multi-generational families in the Indo community resolve the friction between the congruent Dutch, Indonesian and American parts of their identity. With any luck, we may even meet the most American of Indos, Mr. Zack Morris himself, Mark-Paul Gosselaar (pictured above after a blond dye job).