Independence, decolonization, violence and war in Indonesia, 1945-1950 is a large-scale 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. 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 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 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 societal focus group for The Netherlands (Maatschappelijk Klankbordgroep Nederland).

Most of the nine sub-sections of the research will result in one or more publications in September 2021. The Dutch researchers will frequently publish articles and books in both Dutch and English. The Indonesian research group will issue its own publications and will work with Dutch colleagues to contribute to collections of articles. A synthesis of the research programme will also be published.

 British tanks patrolling the streets of Batavia. On the tram independence slogans. (Recording: 29-10-1945) BeeldbankWO2 / NIOD
British tanks patrolling the streets of Batavia. On the tram, independence slogans. (Recording: 29-10-1945) BeeldbankWO2 / NIOD