Language: English / Indonesian

Study in the Netherlands and Political Activism

Tan Goan-Po studied economics at Erasmus University (formally Nederlandse Economische Hogeschool) in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, and graduated with a doctorandus degree(Drs.) in 1942. Among Indonesian notables who graduated from Erasmus University were Vice President Mohammad Hatta, and Tan Goan-Po's friends Sumitro Djojohadikusumo and Saroso Wirodihardjo.

During the Erasmus University years, Tan was politically active in promoting the idea of independence by lecturing in meetings and writing in the newspaper Semangat Baroe. He was a member of the organizations Association of Indonesian Citizens (Verbond van Indonesische Burgers) and the Chinese Association (Chung Hwa Hui). Apart from analyzing post war economic conditions in Indonesia, Tan was also concerned about race relations between indigenous Indonesians and the minority ethnic Chinese Indonesians. In 1946, he wrote in Semangat Baroe, urging all ethnic Chinese Indonesians to fight side-by-side with indigenous Indonesians to help Indonesia rise among the ranks of independent nations.

Tan Goan-Po met his Dutch wife-to-be Florentina Petronella Geise (29 October 1919 - 15 December 2006), known as Tineke to her friends, in a rally for Indonesian independence in her birthplace Rotterdam. Tineke, idealistic and fearless, accompanied her husband to Indonesia during a time when most Dutch citizens were leaving the turbulent country. She quickly learned the Indonesian language, made friends, and volunteered at the Sumbangsih school in Jakarta. Tan Goan-Po and Tineke Geise raised five children together.