Decolonisation, violence and war in Indonesia, 1945-1950

Decolonisation, violence and war in Indonesia, 1945-1950 is a large-scale, joint inquiry carried out by the Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies (Koninklijk Instituut voor Taal-, Land en Volkenkunde, KITLV), the Netherlands Institute of Military History (NIMH) and the NIOD Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies. The project has been made financially possible by the Dutch government, due to its decision on 2 December 2016 to lend its support to a broad inquiry into the events of this period.

The programme comprises nine subprojects and aims to answer questions regarding the nature, scale and causes of structural transgressive violence in Indonesia, considered in a broader political, social and international context. In this context, detailed attention will be paid to the chaotic period spanning from August 1945 to early 1945 – often referred to as the Bersiap – and the political and social aftermath in the Netherlands, Indonesia and elsewhere.

The programme has a strong international character. The research group will work closely with researchers from Indonesia and other countries involved and will, more so than was previously the case, make use of sources originating from outside the Netherlands, Indonesian sources in particular. Furthermore, the programme explicitly includes the opportunity for witness accounts from the Netherlands and Indonesia to be presented. Witnesses can come forward themselves or will be traced by researchers, in order to allow them to document their personal testimonies for future generations.

The three institutes stress the importance of broad national and international support for the programme. In order to achieve this, the institutes have appointed an international scientific advisory board and a Netherlands societal focus group (Maatschappelijk Klankbordgroep Nederland).

The Decolonisation, violence and war in Indonesia, 1945-1950 programme will run until 1 September 2021.

February 2017



For the purpose of this inquiry, it is incredibly important that those involved are seen and heard. If you have material or more information about Indonesia in the 1945-1950 time period and are willing to contribute to our research, please contact us via:


Decolonisation, violence and war in Indonesia, 1945-1950
Herengracht 380
1016 CJ Amsterdam

+31 (0)20-5233850 (monday-thursday)

Decolonisation, violence and war in Indonesia, 1945-1950 is a project by the KITLV, NIMH and the NIOD.

Photo credit: KITLV, NIMH and NIOD.