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


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Columns of R.M.A. van der Schaar

  • Battle Jokowi-Prabowo; Democratic Future of Indonesia in Jeopardy?

    Battle Jokowi-Prabowo; Democratic Future of Indonesia in Jeopardy?

    More and more concerns have arisen recently regarding the democratic future of Indonesia. In fact, some media have reported that an impeachment of president-elect Joko Widodo, who will assume office on 20 October 2014, could become a reality as opposition in parliament - led by controversial and vindictive former army general Prabowo Subianto - is large. The Merah-Putih coalition, referring to the coalition of political parties that supported Subianto in the presidential election (which he narrowly lost to Widodo) will control 353 of the 560 seats in parliament.

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  • Indonesia Raya; the National Anthem of Indonesia

    Indonesia Raya; the Story of the National Anthem of Indonesia

    Since the Second Indonesian Youth Congress (held on 28 October 1928), the song “Indonesia Raya” (Great Indonesia) has been the most important song for the Indonesian people. The song, written by Wage Rudolph Supratman, was born at a time when Indonesia’s nationalist movement reached its peak. After a gradual 3-century long process of political and economic expansion, the Dutch colonizers had created a king-sized colony (containing roughly 17,000 islands) by 1928 that had taken the territorial boundaries of present-day Indonesia.

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  • SBY Declines but Joko Widodo Set to Curb Indonesia’s Fuel Subsidies

    SBY Declines but Joko Widodo Determined to Curb Indonesia’s Fuel Subsidies

    In the past days, Indonesia’s fuel subsidy policy has been in the spotlight of Indonesian media continuously. When it was reported that incumbent President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY) and newly elected president Joko Widodo would meet on the island of Bali this week to discuss various transitional matters, speculation emerged that the country’s generous fuel subsidies, which seriously burden the government’s budget as well as current account, might be wound down before the new government is inaugurated in October 2014.

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  • Indonesia Rupiah & Stock Update: Reacting to Fuel Subsidy Speculation

    The benchmark stock index of Indonesia (known as the Jakarta Composite Index, abbreviated IHSG) rose 0.36 percent to 5,162.25 points on Wednesday (27/08), effectively ending a three- day losing streak as positive US economic data and increased speculation that the Indonesian government will tackle the fuel subsidy issue. Meanwhile, the Indonesian rupiah exchange rate appreciated 0.22 percent to IDR 11,682 per US dollar based on the Bloomberg Dollar Index, particularly on high hopes that Indonesia’s fuel subsidies will be reduced.

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  • Current Account Deficit Indonesia at 4.27% of GDP; BI Rate Kept at 7.50%

    Current Account Deficit Indonesia at 4.27% of GDP; BI Rate Kept at 7.50%

    The central bank of Indonesia (Bank Indonesia) announced two important matters on Thursday (14/08). Firstly, the institution decided to maintain the benchmark interest rate (BI rate) at 7.50 percent, the overnight deposit facility rate (Fasbi) at 5.75 percent, and the lending facility rate at 7.50 percent. Secondly, it announced that Indonesia’s current account deficit widened to USD $9.1 billion, or, 4.27 percent of the country's gross domestic product (GDP) in the second quarter of 2014, a widening that is larger than initially forecast.

    Read column ›