The Budi Utomo , or Boedi Oetomo in his old spelling (“Supreme Intelligence” in Javanese , from Sanskrit Buddhi , बुद्धि, and Uttama , उत्तम) was the first organized indigenous movement of the Dutch East Indies . Its founder was a retired doctor of the colonial government, Dr. Wahidin Soedirohoesodo. Coming from a priyayi family , the nobility of Javanese dress , Wahidin felt that Javanese should receive a modern education like him. The first congress of the association was held in May 1908 1. It brought together Javanese students from government schools.

The first members were also from the Javanese gentry, civil servants and intellectuals. Another doctor, Dr. Tjipto Mangunkusumo, opens the association to the working class and the Indisch of the other islands 2 . In 1910, it has 10,000 members and 40 branches 1 . It is then officially recognized by the colonial government.

The initial goal of Budi Utomo was therefore not political. However, he soon gets representatives at the Volksraad (“People’s Council”) and in the regional councils in Java. The organization was dissolved in 1935.


  1. ↑ a and b cf. Vandenbosch (1931)
  2. ↑ Indisch , “Indians” was the official term for natives of the Dutch Indies


  • Kahin, George M. 1952. Nationalism and revolution in Indonesia . Ithaca: Cornell University Press .
  • In ) Amry Vandenbosch, ” Nationalism in Netherlands East India ” , Pacific Affairs , vol.  4, o 12,p.  1051-1069 ( read online  [ archive ] )