Independence, decolonization, violence and war in Indonesia, 1945-1950 is a four-year research programme 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. Read more ›
On Monday April 1, five international scholars will join five Dutch historians to form the theme group Comparing the wars of decolonization: Extreme violence during reoccupation and counter-insurgency, 1945-1975 gathering at the NIAS for the coming three months. This project engages in comparative research in order to learn more about causes, forms and nature of (extreme) violence by Dutch military forces in their attempt to reoccupy the Indonesian archipelago (1945-1949). Project leader Thijs Brocades Zaalberg wrote a blog about the preparations.

On June 20, 2019, in Amsterdam Public Library the conference Comparing the wars of decolonization: Extreme violence during reoccupation and counter-insurgency, 1945-1975 took place.


Conference 'Comparing the wars of decolonization: Extreme violence during reoccupation and counter-insurgency,
 Thursday 20 June 2019 Amsterdam Public Library (OBA)


Memories exist in all shapes and sizes. This is also true of memories concerning the former Dutch East Indies, today’s Indonesia. They are not only painted in light, sunny tints. Elsbeth Locher-Scholten, a former senior lecturer at Utrecht University who specialises in the history of colonialism and decolonisation, wrote a column for Getuigen & Tijdgenoten (Witnesses & Contemporaries) about colonial violence and colonial memories, partly because of current discussion concerning Kester Freriks’ book Tempo Doeloe, een omhelzing.


How can or should colonial injustice be acknowledged? Anne van Mourik interviewed historian Nicole Immler, who wrote an article on the subject in BMGN. In 2011, the court in The Hague declared the Dutch state responsible for the mass executions that took place in 1947 in Rawagede (the present-day Balongsari) on West Java. The executions were carried out by Dutch soldiers during the Indonesian War of Independence (1945-1949), and the court’s ruling was followed by apologies and compensation. Nicole Immler travelled to Indonesia to investigate the effects of the lawsuits in Balongsari. What are the possibilities and limits of official apologies and financial compensation as instruments of recognition?


On 24 January 2019, a network meeting of the Witnesses & Contemporaries project was held in cooperation with Historisch Centrum Overijssel / IJsselacademie. The event was organised to present a website that contains interviews with fifteen veterans from of Overijssel, who fought in the decolonization war. The interviews were conducted by historian Ewout van der Horst. Stephanie Welvaart reports on the afternoon.