From the hand of Mr Han Dehne.

Last year, King Willem Alexander of the Netherlands apologized to Indonesia for the excessive violence that Dutch soldiers were guilty of in the years after the Japanese occupation. It is a first step in the right direction, but no more than that.
This was experienced by many – in the Netherlands – as a stab in the back. In addition, it was indicated through Indonesian President Jokowi that these apologies were not necessary.

The king forgot to mention in his speech that in 1949 the Netherlands passed on the backpay debt to its own military and civil servants to Indonesia over 3.5 years of Japanese occupation. Supposedly: no debt transfer has ever taken place. The Republic of Indonesia has been deviously used as a lightning rod for a capital debt obligation in this regard.

In 1966 it was agreed that the Indonesian government would pay 686 million guilders to compensate the families who fled from Indonesia and from Dutch New Guinea between 1958 and 1962 for the loss of their belongings. However, the State took the lion’s share of these reparations: only a fraction of the money was legally earmarked for the victims themselves.

Likewise, what President Jokowi may not know is what happened during the negotiations over the disbursement of the amount Thailand paid to take over the Burma-Thailand Railway built by allied and indigenous forced laborers. The compensation of more than 1.2 million guilders for looted railway equipment from Java had to be paid to the Indonesian government in 1952 because it is the legal successor of the colony. The money was not transferred to ‘Jakarta’, but to the Dutch government. After which there is no trace of a transaction to Indonesia.

And so there are more open files that concern Indonesia, including the money that Indonesian, Moluccan and Chinese victims of forced prostitution earned but never got paid because the money was deposited with the two Japanese war banks to finance the war machine. And after the war was confiscated by order of the Dutch government without the young women living in the Netherlands having seen a cent of it.

BRIEF CONCLUSION: In its relentless colonial modus operandi to settle outstanding accounts, the State of the Netherlands has harmed its own former colony as much as all displaced families who have fled to the Netherlands. Including all protected Indonesian families whose fathers worked for the Dutch intelligence services. What neither the king nor the prime minister nor the members of the trade mission have foreseen: the lid has been lifted from the cesspool.