Dutch war crimes in Indonesia, 1945-1949

This 13 April 2015 video says about itself:

Indonesian War of Independence 1945-1949 (true story)

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

“Time is running out for compensation for ‘police action’ crimes”

Today, 05:20

The Dutch government must hurry with compensating victims of Dutch war crimes during the war of decolonization in Indonesia. It is high time that the Dutch state recognizes what has happened, says Jeffry Pondaag of the Dutch Debts of Honour Committee. Many relatives of people who were executed are old, says Pondaag. He has been doing research in the former Dutch colony for years.

Today will be a court case in The Hague to discuss compensation for a woman who in 1949 in the village Peniwen was allegedly raped by soldiers of the Dutch army. Also, a claim will be discussed by eighteen widows and five children, relatives of men who were killed by Dutch soldiers.

Lawyer Liesbeth Zegveld, assisting Indonesian next of kin legally, will at the court in The Hague ask for information from the Dutch state, among other things, lists of the national archives with names of men who were executed. Zegveld calls for independent inquiry into the actions of Dutch soldiers during the so-called police actions.


The thesis of historian Remy Limpach must be made public according to the lawyer. In his study “Die brennenden Dörfer des Generaal Spoor. Niederländische Massengewalt im Indonesischen Unabhängigkeitskrieg 1945-1949” Limpach concludes that extreme violence by Dutch soldiers did not happen occasionally but structurally.

The violence was widespread and the military leadership did not prevent it. This conclusion differs greatly from those of previous reports, such as the Note on Excesses in 1969. Then, Dutch violence was described as excesses and incidents.

Limpach is now working for the NIMH, the Dutch Institute for Military History, a part of the Ministry of Defence. There, the claims of Indonesian relatives are investigated. Limpach will only publish his research in mid-2016. Zegveld wants to have the information earlier.


After a long court case, the Dutch state in 2010 reached a settlement with the widows of men who were executed by Dutch soldiers in Rawagade. Also a group of widows from South Celebes, Sulawesi received compensation a few years later. The women were given a sum of 20,000 euros and an apology from the Dutch state.

Jeffry Pondaag of the Dutch Debts of Honour Committee hopes that the struggle for the relatives will not be long. It’s not about the money, he says. “The important thing is that the Dutch state admits guilt.”

Rare Javan rhino calves, video

This video says about itself (translated):

September 11 2015

On the Indonesian island Java camera traps have made extraordinary images of three new-born calves of the Javan rhinoceros, one of the rarest animals on earth. Images: WWF.

See also here.

‘Ten thousands of Dutch war crimes in Indonesia’, new research

This 2012 video about the 1945-1949 Dutch-Indonesian war is called War memory of Indonesian freedom fighter.

Translated from Leiden University in the Netherlands:

Leiden research confirms: structural and excessive violence in Indonesia

Dutch troops were using structural and extreme violence against the Indonesians, according to new research. In his book Soldaat in Indonesië (published end of October) historian Gert Oostindie, basing himself on other sources, draws the same conclusion. He presents new findings and makes clear what moved the soldiers.

100,000 Indonesians were killed

The question of whether Dutch were guilty of structural and excessive force during the period 1945-1950 was never properly answered. The conclusion of historian Remy Limpach, who will get his PhD this fall at the University of Bern, was front page news in the run-up to the commemoration of 70 years of independence in Indonesia. In his book Soldaat in Indonesië Gert Oostindie, Leiden Professor and Director of the Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies (KITLV), describes the war on the basis of testimony from Dutch soldiers. In the struggle for independence, roughly estimated, 100,000 Indonesians and nearly five thousand Dutch soldiers died, in addition to a higher but unknown number of European civilians.

What is your reaction to the conclusion of Remy Limpach?

“I largely agree with his conclusion that ‘excessive violence’ was not as exceptional as has long been asserted also by the Dutch government. It is good that Limpach has thoroughly investigated the context of this violence. He relies, I understand, especially on government archives. … From my research together with KITLV colleagues about personal documents of Dutch soldiers and veterans also emerges the picture that frequently war crimes were committed.”

Where do you rely on?

“We examined 700 published testimonials, together by about 1,400 soldiers, diaries, correspondence, memoirs and biographical sketches. We found in these personal documents about 700 individual cases of war crimes. That is staggering. Especially if you extrapolate this, then I fear that one, though one should be cautious, should think in terms of tens of thousands rather than in thousands of cases. Indeed, over the period there were 220,000 soldiers on the Dutch side. ”

“Some explain the violence with an attitude of ‘better safe than sorry’, saying it is better to deal ruthlessly with the opponent than becoming a victim oneself. Others write that also purely out of revenge war crimes were committed.”

“But most soldiers do not write about violence, and there are those who explicitly state that they oppose brute force, or afterwards regretted the actions of the armed forces.” …

Oostindie conducted the research with colleagues from the KITLV, especially Ireen Hoogenboom and Jonathan Verwey. Also Leiden students and trainees worked on this.

You call for more investigation into the violence in Indonesia. What questions are there?

“In 2012, the KITLV, the NIOD and the NIMH (Dutch Institute for Military History), called for a broad investigation into this war. The argument has not changed: this is the biggest war ever fought by the Dutch armed forces, but a balanced view of it is not there. We want to understand the war and come to a balanced judgment on how the armed forces acted. That includes questions about war crimes and the manner in which the military leadership and ultimately the politicians coped with it. It’s not moralizing. But the Netherlands owes it to its own position and foremost ambitions to allow unprejudiced research: for we are often the first to let others know how important respect for human rights is“.

Soldaat in Indonesië, 1945-1950 1945-1950 Getuigenissen van een oorlog aan de verkeerde kant van de geschiedenis
Gert Oostindie m.m.v. Ireen Hoogenboom and Jonathan Verwey
(Prometheus, Bert Bakker, 2015)

The book will be presented on October 31 during History Night at the Rijksmuseum.

(August 18, 2015 – LVP)

Dutch war crimes in Sumatra, Indonesia investigation

This video says about itself:

Shocking story of Dutch war veteran in Indonesia

12 January 2012



In Tabee Toean – meaning ‘Goodbye Sir’ in Indonesian – five veterans of the Indonesian War of Independence (1945-1949) share their recollections, telling us how they as young soldiers, unprepared for guerrilla warfare, found themselves in a devil’s circle of excessive violence and cruelty.

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

Investigation into war crimes in Sumatra

Today, 10:18

The Netherlands has possibly committed war crimes on the Indonesian island Sumatra. The foundation Committee Dutch Debts of Honour (K.U.K.B.) now does research on that.

The foundation is investigating an air strike on Bandar Buat in 1947, the ANP news agency reports. In bombardments by fighter aircraft on the market there many civilians are said to have been hit.

For the research, witnesses and survivors are being sought who can provide more information about what happened at that time. If enough people will turn up, then the foundation will be able to bring a lawsuit in order to get compensation and recognition for the victims.

The Netherlands guilty

The K.U.K.B. has previously successfully litigated on Dutch war crimes in Indonesia. The foundation has, inter alia, litigated on behalf of widows and children of men who were executed in South Sulawesi and Java. The Dutch government was ultimately ruled to be liable for the damage they have suffered thereby.

Indonesian fish and coral research

Whale shark

November 2011. Read here about marine research in Indonesia: tagging whale sharks, maybe new fish species discovered, and coral.

Indonesian ant-like flower beetle discoveries

An ant-like flower beetle

From Wildlife Extra:

November 2011: International Anthicidae specialist Dr Dimitri Telnov, of the Entomological Society of Latvia, Riga, writes about the amazing discovery of 84 new ant-like flower beetles [species] in Wallacea and New Guinea.

Ladybugs change color, reacting to climate change: here.

‘Dutch war crimes in Indonesia, stop compensation bureaucratic red tape’

Indonesian relatives of victims of Dutch war crimes in a Dutch court in 2014, photo: ANP

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

‘Postpone deadline for relatives of victims in Indonesia’

Today, 11:22

Survivors of men who during the Indonesian war of independence were executed by the Dutch armed forces should get more time to file claims. This says the Stichting Comité Nederlandse Ereschulden which investigates war crimes committed during the Indonesian struggle for independence.

Two years ago, the Dutch government announced that widows of victims would get two years time to file claims. On September 11 that deadline will run out.

The foundation calls the deadline “not realistic, not generous and undesirable.” The time people need to get the documents together is too short, they say. They also say that relatives face “petty restrictions”.


One of the objections is that widows are only eligible for compensation if the execution is “listed in already published public sources”. The foundation points out that many cases have not yet come to light and that the necessary documents are often not available.

The foundation also wants to make the children of executed Indonesian men able to claim compensation. They points out a ruling by the court in The Hague on March 11th. Which ruled in favor of five children of men who had been executed in South Sulawesi (formerly Celebes). The Netherlands, according to the verdict, had wrongly argued that the cases are time barred and that the arrangement with widows already had taken into account the loss of income for the family.


The Dutch army executed during the war of independence (1945-1949) thousands of men. Many victims died in South Sulawesi. Another infamous massacre occurred in the village Rawagede (Java).

In 2011, a judge already ruled that the crimes were not time barred. After that, a settlement was reached with widows of Rawagede. In August 2013 a settlement was reached as well with widows of victims in Sulawesi. The compensation amounted to 20,000 euros.