He has been fascinated by Indonesian cultures and history since the very first time he stepped foot on Indonesian soil in mid-1998, just one month after Indonesia's second president, Suharto, was forced to step down from office at a time when the Asian Crisis ravaged through the country. He decided to do his Bachelor and Masters degrees in Southeast Asian Studies at Leiden University (the Netherlands) with a major focus on Indonesian society, history and linguistics.

After successfully finishing his MA degree he temporarily taught Indonesian languages and cultures at the Volksuniversiteit in Rotterdam (the Netherlands), while increasingly becoming aware of the economic potential of Indonesia in a world where the economic gravity point was rapidly shifting to the East. With having had a profound training in Indonesia's macroeconomic history at university, he started to delve into the contemporary economic conditions of the country and through frequent visits to Indonesia established a network within businesses and government circles.

Since 2013 he has been permanently based in Jakarta and is frequently contacted by international media to share his views on economic, political and social developments in Indonesia. Journalists can reach him through +62(0)8 788 410 6944 (including WhatsApp). He can also act as speaker at events or give presentations to boards/workers in companies.

"One of the most important aspects of doing business in Indonesia is to comprehend Indonesia's culture of business. It amazes me how often this cultural aspect is neglected when foreigners invest in Indonesia, but it is certainly critical to achieve success. Also in-depth knowledge about Indonesia's business and investment environments is critical when preparing an investment project here. This too is sometimes underestimated by investors. Even investment projects in Indonesia carried out by foreign governments (and supported by the local embassy in Jakarta) sometimes lack expertise on Indonesia, meaning future results will be far from optimal, while public money (usually tax money) is squandered."

Organization Indonesia Investments
  Private Investment Company
Position Managing Director
Expertise Investment & Business Strategies | Investment & Business Environment | Macroeconomics & Politics | Cultural Studies


Columns of R.M.A. van der Schaar

  • Thriving Modest Fashion: Can Indonesia Become the Mecca of Islamic Fashion?

    Thriving Modest Fashion: Can Indonesia Become the Mecca of Islamic Fashion?

    Indonesia is in a great position to become the world’s leading nation in terms of Islamic fashion. Why? Well, with a population of around 265 million people (with nearly 90 percent adhering to Islam) Indonesia has a (potentially) huge customer base. Secondly, prosperity in Southeast Asia’s largest economy is rising as evidenced by growing per capita income and the expanding middle class. As more and more Indonesians escape poverty and rise in the ranks of the middle class, they have less need to focus solely on basic needs and have (more) money to spend on non-basic needs, such as fashion.

    Read column ›

  • Are Foreign Workers Required to Learn the Indonesian language?

    Are Foreign Workers Required to Learn the Indonesian language?

    Presidential Regulation No. 20/2018 on the Use of Foreign Workers continues to be a controversial regulation. In essence the new regulation aims at simplifying the permit application process for foreign workers, hence making the process more efficient and faster. As a result, foreign direct investment (FDI) realization in Indonesia should rise, thus encouraging overall economic growth in Southeast Asia's largest economy.

    Read column ›

  • Presidential Election Indonesia 2019: Another Jokowi-Prabowo Battle?

    Presidential Election Indonesia 2019: Another Jokowi-Prabowo Battle?

    Indonesia's 2019 presidential election is likely to become another battle between incumbent President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) and Gerindra party Chairman Prabowo Subianto. Both men had already been engaged in a fierce contest in 2014, one that was only narrowly won by Jokowi. On Wednesday evening (11/04) Subianto formally accepted the mandate of the Gerindra party to compete as presidential candidate in the 2019 presidential election (scheduled for 17 April 2019).

    Read column ›