A Short History of the Indo-Europeans of the Netherlands Indies

Colonialism and the emergence of a new ethnic group as a result of interracial relationships are inseparable phenomena. The Dutch ruled the colony Netherlands Indies, present Indonesia, from 1600 until 1949. During this period the mestizo group of Indo-Europeans (the 'Indos' or Eurasians) occupied a special position in social-economic, political and cultural life. Mainly focused on a European lifestyle many white Europeans considered them a lesser type of themselves as they originated from the indigenous 'inferior' world. Indos always have had to cope with this tragic of being an in-between- group suffering latent or direct racial discrimination from the white Europeans, their respected role models.

This timeline is an attempt to approach and expose the history of the Indo-Europeans from their own perspective. This so-called Indo-centric approach will do justice to "forgotten" or neglected facts not fitting in the regular Eurocentric view on foreign cultures. So, this timeline attempts writing history "from within" the Indo group. ;xNLx;Find out more: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indos_in_colonial_history;xNLx;;xNLx;© Humphrey de la Croix/IndischHistorisch.nl 2015;xNLx;;xNLx;Translation: Ms Rosalind Hewett MA

Regeringsreglement voor Nederlands-Indië

The ethnic distinctions were legally anchored in this constitution of the Netherlands Indies: 1. At the small top of colonial society: Europeans (whites=20%) and Indo-Europeans (80%). Later in 1899 Japanese were also admitted as Europeans; 2. A majority of 'Inlanders' or indigenous Indonesian peoples and a smaller group of various 'Oriental Foreigners' (from the Middle-East, South-Asia, Southeast-Asia and China). Eventually this Regeringsreglement officially proclaimed social, political and ethnic inequality in the colony.

First Dutch appearance in the Indonesian Archipelago

The young Republic of the Seven United Netherlands (Zeven Verenigde Nederlanden) was aiming to break the Portuguese monopoly (from 1498) on the international trade in spices like clove, nutmeg and sandalwood.

Indo Nationality (Dutch Civil Code)

According to the Burgerlijk Wetboek (Civil Code), persons born in the Netherlands and its colonies could have Dutch nationality. This meant practically all residents of the Netherlands Indies possessed Dutch nationality unless a non-Dutch resident insisted on keeping his original nationality. This concept of nationality is based on the soil where one is born (ius soli).

Post-colonial Indifference and Imminent Oblivion

Arriving in the Netherlands, repatriated Indos experienced a shocking indifference, ignorance and lack of interest among Dutch people about their (post-) colonial past and who they were. Not rarely Dutch people showed a strong anti-colonial resentment. By the way, this mindset is interesting, as during the period 1945-1950 the majority supported the attempt to restore colonial rule. Indos were accused of having contributed to the exploitation of Indonesian peoples. Psychological explanation of this attitude was that the Dutch still were recovering from the highly traumatizing period of German occupation. Long time a smug nation the Second World War and the loss of the East Indies, meant a not earlier experienced humiliation of a self-conscious and self-satisfied nation.

Indos in Diaspora: Finding a New Indo Homeland

The loss of their soil of birth and enforced emigration meant the beginning of a real "Indische diaspora" ("Indos' diaspora"). The end of World War II and the Dutch attempts to restore colonial rule between 1945 and 1950 would be the rearguard of a colonial power. The Allied combat against the dictatorial and aggressive regimes of Nazi-Germany, fascist Italy and imperialistic Japan left behind a new world opinion in which there was no room any more for colonialism. Soon after President Soekarno started his policy of confrontation in 1950, precluding the massive departure of Europeans in Indonesia. It was made clear that the Indos especially would not have a place any more in Indonesia.

15 August 1945 Japanese Surrender

The Japanese capitulation did not mean peace and restoration of the pre-war situation in the Netherlands Indies. The Japanese authorities had granted independence to the Indonesian people. Nationalist leaders Soekarno and Mohamed Hatta proclaimed independence on 17 August 1945. Civilians in the internment camps found themselves surrounded by young revolutionary extremists. Now, from one day to the next, the former enemy had become the protectors of the internees. The Netherlands Indies was facing a new war. 15 August 1945 was not at all a liberation day for Europeans and Indos.

December 7, 1941 World War II and Japanese Occupation

After Japan attacked the US fleet in Pearl Harbor, the Netherlands Indies as first of the Allies declared war on Japan. The German occupation of the Netherlands put an end to the Dutch foreign policy of neutrality. As a consequence the Netherlands Indies became part of the alliance against imperialistic Japan. In 1942 120,000 to 200,000 Indo-Europeans were part of a total population of 60 million. The total European community of about 350,000 people just was a small minority in a dominant Asian environment. Estimated victims in the Netherlands Indies during World War II: 30,000 Europeans who died in internment camps, both white and Indo-Europeans. The specific number of Indos who died in and outside the internment camps is not available. Indonesians comprised most victims: over 3 million.

27 December 1949: Sovereignty handed over to Indonesia

According to international law, 27 December 1949 is the official date that Indonesia became a sovereign nation. But de facto 17 August 1945 is the real moment the former colony Netherlands Indies could be considered a free nation based in the principle of self-determination.

1900 -1929 Indos during the Heydays of the Netherlands Indies

From 1900 untill 1929 the Dutch empire passed through its heydays due to sustained economic growth and further control over the archipelago. As a result of an ‘Ethical Policy’ the government successfully stopped further impoverishment of indigenous population (the so-called coolie problem) and at the same time stimulated employment, education and general infrastructure . A policy of neutrality during the First World War proved to be very profitable. The colony transformed into a global supplier of oil, rubber and raw materials for the purpose of pharmaceuticaland other industries. This booming steadily faded away in the twenties untill the Great Depression of 1929 marked the definite end of a growing prosperity. Unfortunately extensive research about the social and economic position of Indos in this period later known as the second ‘tempo doeloe’ or ‘good old times’ (the first one from 1870 until 1900), has not be done yet.

Tjalie Robinson and the Idea of an Authentic Indo Culture

Jan Boon (alias Tjalie Robinson and Vincent Mahieu) is considered the greatest Indo writer and protagonist of an authentic, genuine and powerful Indo culture rather than a "fusion"of so many other cultures.

Copy this timeline Login to copy this timeline 3d