How to write about an historical object, that is not in fact an object?
Lisa Vanderheyden (Utrecht University)
In 1927, a little boy was born at a hospital in Semarang, Java. He had a congenital defect and died after three days of living. We can’t be certain of how - and whether - his emotional story continued, but his physical story did: his body was preserved as a specimen and transported to The Netherlands, where it remains at the Museum Vrolik today. Not every object that is historical should be used as a gateway to look into the past, especially human remains, which is why there is no picture of the baby's body included here. However, their stories should be told.