On Saturday, 7 November 2009, Ineke de Vries passed away. Ineke was one of the most prominent founders of PACE (Papua Heritage Foundation). Ineke had a passionate interest in Papua and an enormous commitment to the Papuans and their culture. Because of this passion, she became involved with setting up PACE right from the very beginning. In 1999, when the Dutch Association for Pacific Studies (NVOS) expressed their concern about the future of the Dutch heritage collections from Papua, Ineke de Vries was immediately willing to join in to come up with some strategies.It was largely her commitment that ensured that the initiatives were not only limited to maintaining the Dutch collection, but that it included making it accessible to Papua.It was largely her commitment that ensured that the initiatives were not only limited to maintaining the Dutch collection, but that it included making it accessible to Papua.
With her signature on the foundation document of PACE, she became its first chairman on 18 September 2001. She took her work very seriously and in subsequent years she was not only a director but also a very active and tireless volunteer, endlessly involved in the work of the foundation. She visited individuals who could contribute to the heritage by means of their private collection, described artifacts that were donated, made contact with relevant institutions, and generally enthused her family , her friends and people she met through her work. An important part of this work for PACE were her journeys to Papua.
From 200 onwards, she regularly travelled there to explain to people what PACE was all about, she explored the possibility of working together with local universities and colleges and eventually set up agreements to start working together.
In 2004, Ineke decide to resign from her position as chairman and withdrew from her activities for PACE. She was as forthright in this decision as she had been with everything she did. We were sad at her leaving but we understood and respected her need to take a step back. However, albeit at a distance, she remained interested in the work being undertaken by PACE. Her knowledge of the Papua area, the Papuan community in the Netherlands and of the individuals, who had lived and worked there, remained very useful. At the end of 2008, she travelled to Papua for the very last time, as it turned out.
In October 2009, Ineke informed those around her that she was terminally ill. At the end of October, she said farewell to her friends and family and on this occasion re-showed her documentary ‘Paikeda- Mens in Steen (people of the Stone Age)’. This work stresses the importance of Papuan cultural heritage and demonstrates how she functioned during her quest. After her farewell ceremony, she retreated to a hospice where she died soon after. Despite her announcement, her death still came as a shock and leaves a void. Ineke de Vries was a very special person and a tireless pioneer. She will be sadly missed.
Ineke de Vries - * Hilversum, 1 november 1939 – † Amsterdam, 7 november 2009
The photos are from Ineke's documentary "Paikeda - people of the Stone Age"