The Indo people (or Indos) are Eurasian people living in or connected with Indonesia. In its narrowest sense, the term refers to people in the former Dutch East Indies who held European legal status but were of mixed Dutch and indigenousIndonesian descent as well as their descendants today.
In the broadest sense, an Indo is anyone of mixed European and Indonesian descent. Indos are associated with colonial culture of the former Dutch East Indies, a Dutch colony in Southeast Asia and a predecessor to modern Indonesia after its proclamation of independence shortly after World War II. The term was used to describe people acknowledged to be of mixed Dutch and Indonesian descent, or it was a term used in the Dutch East Indies to apply to Europeans who had partial Asian ancestry. The European ancestry of these people was predominantly Dutch, but also included Portuguese, British, French, Belgian, German and others.
The term “Indo” is first recorded from 1898, as an abbreviation of the Dutch term Indo-Europeaan. Other terms used at various times are ‘Dutch Indonesians’, ‘Eurasians’, ‘Indo-Europeans’, ‘Indo-Dutch’ and ‘Dutch-Indos’.
In the Indonesian language, common synonymous terms are Sinjo (for males), Belanda-Indo, Indo-Belanda,Bule, and Indo means Eurasian: a person with European and Indonesian parentage.Indo is an abbreviation of the term Indo-European which originated in the Dutch East Indies of the 19th century as an informal term to describe the Eurasians. Indische is an abbreviation of the Dutch term Indische Nederlander. Indische was a term that could be applied to everything connected with the Dutch East Indies. In the Netherlands, the term Indische Nederlander includes all Dutch nationals who lived in the Dutch East Indies, either Dutch or mixed ancestry. To distinguish between the two, Eurasians are called Indo and native Dutch are called Totok. In the Dutch East Indies (today’s Indonesia), these families formed “a racially, culturally and socially homogenous community between the Totoks (European newcomers) and the indigenous population”. They were historically Christians and spoke Dutch, Portuguese, English and Indonesian. They were compared to Afrikaners from South Africa, who also share Dutch ancestry and culture, but are not mixed-race.
In the 16th-18th centuries, Eurasians were referred to by a Portuguese term mestiço (Dutch: Mesties) or as coloured (Dutch: Kleurling). Additionally, a wide range of more contumelious terms, such as liplap, can be found in the literature.