During the seventeenth century, philanthropy offered the Dutch a self-disciplinary opportunity to expend their globally attained fortunes. As Janus-faced emblems of the wealth and poverty generated by a merchant society, monumentally scaled almshouses, hospices, orphanages, and reformatories in both the Dutch Republic and its colonies commemorated leadership that privileged moderation over extravagance. In Disciplining Otherness in the Tropics: Dutch Philanthropic Sites and the Urbanization of Indonesian Ports, 1640–1730, Sim Hinman Wan considers buildings for organized philanthropy as integral to the Dutch settlement of Batavia and Amboina in Indonesia, arguing that the presence of philanthropic establishments in the peripheral territories of Asian inhabitants served to subject these neighborhoods to colonial power. Dutch builders configured architecture and urban space in these cosmopolitan port cities to reinforce an ethnoculturally determined social hierarchy.

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