Dutch Affairs / Dutch East Indies / English / History / Indo / Indonesia

Indië herdenking

15 August 1945 marked the end of World War II in Asia. Japanese emperor Hirohito officially issued a capitulation declaration. This date is the day of Indië herdenking or Indies memorial in The Netherlands. Dutchies commemorate those who died during the war every year.

Why is this called Indies memorial? Because Japan occupied Indies (now Indonesia) at that time which was in turn Dutch colony before Japan took over.

Below is the timeline of events during World War II in Asia which are relevant to this post:

  • 7 December 1941 Japan attacked Pearl Harbour, Hawaii USA.
  • 8 December 1941 The Netherlands declared war against Japan.
  • 1st March 1942 Japan attacked Java, Dutch Indies.
  • 8 March 1942 Dutch troops capitulated to Japan at Java.
  • 16 March 1942 Western education in Java was stopped.
  • April 1942 – September 1943 Dutch and European nationalities, civilians, in Java were sent to camp.
  • April 1943 Start registration of Indo’s, some of them were also sent to camp.
  • 6 August 1945 USA dropped a nuclear bomb in Hiroshima, Japan.
  • 9 August 1945 Another city was bombed, Nagasaki.
  • 15 August 1945 Japan capitulated. The war was ended.
  • This declaration of Japanese capitulation is in Bahasa Indonesia. It was spread by the Dutchies for the locals in Indonesia after 15 August 1945.
    Pic courtesy of Koninklijke Bibliotheek

    Japanese propaganda poster in Bahasa Indonesia. This was addressed to Indonesian farmers, they had to work hard for optimal crops.
    Pic courtesy of WikiCommons

    During its 3,5 year occupation Japan tried to ban everything which had to do with Western countries. This is why Dutch and other European nationals were sent to camp. By doing this and with massive war propaganda Japan gained sympathy from Indonesians. The propaganda was for Japan to establish a grand Asia, independent from western countries.

    A propaganda poster from the Dutchies; it says ‘Indies must be freed from Japan’.IMG_3235.JPG
    Pic courtesy of Koninklijke Bibliotheek

    2 days after Japan surrendered during the vacuum of power Soekarno and Hatta declared Indonesian independence at 17 August 1945. This is Indonesian official Independence Day while up until now Dutch government does not acknowledge it. According to Dutch history Indonesia became independent at 27 December 1949.

    Interested in this history? I wrote about Japanese driven military brothels and the comfort women who were forced to work as a prostitute during the war, read I wish I was ugly. I will write another post about the Japanese camp otherwise this post would be too long.

    Indië farewell
    Het verborgen verhaal
    Various articles in Moesson
    History schoolbooks

    19 thoughts on “Indië herdenking

      • Ngga salah kamu juga sih Christa, banyak info yang ngga ada di buku sejarah Indonesia. Sayangnya pelajaran sejarah di Indonesia hanya hafalan tahun.

    1. Hahaha. I don’t get why they still not acknowledge it. I mean who are they to decide our independence day. Pfft. I mean it is the same with the British. “Here you go, little people we grant you your freedom” Such arrogance. The posters are great find mba.

      • It is a delicate matter here in The Netherlands. Dutch secretary of state Ben Bot offered an opening in diplomacy for 17 August acknowledgment in 2008. In October 2010 this official acknowledgment was going to be signed by Indonesian president SBY but unfortunately he cancelled his visit to The Netherlands last minute because of the RMS issue https://chezlorraine.wordpress.com/2010/10/06/sby-rms/

        Yes, propaganda posters are interesting. They use mostly primary colors with strong message.

    2. Very interesting! I also once read that the Dutch government never consider themselves as “negara penjajah Indonesia”, it was the VOC that occupied Indonesia, or Indies in this case.
      Is that true, Lorraine?

      • It is not that Dutch government never consider themselves as the colonisator but country history shows that VOC indeed colonized Indonesia. My explanation would be sufficient for one post Emmy. To cut a long story short: VOC was a chamber of commerce with state support. At that time it was not unusual for chambers of commerce to have their own army. So did VOC.

        The Netherlands kingdom as we know now has been existed since 1813 while VOC set foot on the ground in Dutch Indies in 1602. Between 1602 – 1813 The Netherlands had had many state forms; under Spanish administration (80 years war, look for Siege of Antwerp for more info), Republic of Seven United Netherlands (with Belgium, Luxembourg & North France), under Napoléon and United Netherlands Kingdom (now Benelux).

        VOC was taken over by the state The Netherlands in 1798 after mismanagement and corruption.

        The recent Oranje – Nassau dynasti is descendant of king Willem I, prince of Orange, who established Koninkrijk der Nederlanden in 1813.

        So to answer your question; Dutch government did not colonized Indonesia from 1600 – 1942. They did it from 1813 – 1942. This information is also not what Indonesians have been told at school namely that the Dutch had ruled the country for 350 years.

        • Thank you for such information! Very interesting! Really appreciate that you took your time writing this much to answer something that I thought was just a simple question..☺️
          Yes, it’s definitely different to what’s been told at schools in Indonesia. I guess at the end of the day, there’s always his story behind history😏
          Thanks, Lorraine!

          • You are welcome Emmy. I am a history nerd 🙂 Living in The Netherlands gives me access to history books. I can compare and study it well especially Dutch Indies and Indonesian history. Perhaps I will write about this in Bahasa Indonesia; to explain the false information; 3,5 centuries of colonisation.

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