Not 5 May but 15 August marked the official end of the Second World War in the Royal Kingdom of the Netherlands. On that day, the Dutch East Indies were also liberated, and thus the whole of the Netherlands.
On 15 August, the Dutch commemorate all victims of the Japanese war and occupation of the Dutch East Indies. The Second World War in Asia was characterised by an unprecedented diversity of victims, including people of Indonesian, Moluccan, Dutch, Papuan, African, Chinese and/or Indonesian origin.
In Rotterdam as well
The national commemoration, which will be broadcast live on television, will take place at the Indië monument in The Hague. In Rotterdam, a commemoration will be held as well at the monument near De Boompjes, Nieuwe Maas from 11.00 to 12.00 noon. There will also be a Floating Pasar, which you can visit from 10.00 to 22.00 in the harbour of the Maritime Museum.
For more information about the commemoration in Rotterdam, please visit www.herdenking-15-augustus.nl. For more information about the Floating Pasar festival, please visit www.floatingpasarrotterdam.nl.
The Dutch East Indies came under attack in the Second World War, partly because of the large quantities of raw materials that were available, such as tin and oil, which were vital to the Japanese war industry. Japan took on the role of liberator of the hundreds of millions of Asians burdened by foreign rule.
The war with Japan began on 8 December 1941. Immediately there was fighting at sea and in the air, with casualties on both sides. The Dutch East Indies were occupied by Japan, Germany's collaborator in Southeast Asia, from 1942 to 1945. Japan surrendered on 15 August 1945, shortly after the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. This marked the official end of the Second World War in the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
Millions of the kingdom's subjects suffered greatly from hunger, forced labour, violence, humiliation, and terror. In Indonesia and abroad, 25,000 Dutch casualties are buried in fields of honour. Many Indonesian victims did not receive a special burial place. The war also affected millions of people who managed to survive the horrors.
On 15 August, the Melati jasmine flower is worn as a national symbol of respect, commitment, and compassion.
15 August as a turning point towards the Declaration of Independence on 17 August
The war ended on 15 August, but it did not bring peace. On 17 August 1945, two days after the Japanese surrendered, Indonesian nationalists Sukarno and Hatta declared Indonesian independence.
In the power vacuum immediately after the war, there was much violence against anyone of suspected of siding with the Dutch. The ensuing large-scale wartime violence, unprecedented population displacements and the reserved reception of refugees in the Netherlands have repercussions to this day.
Post-war society was socially and culturally enriched by the arrival of more than 350,000 people from the former Dutch East Indies. There are now more than 2 million Dutch people with family history rooted in Indonesia. And for some years now there has been a growing interest in East Indian identity in general, and especially in the National Commemoration Day of 15 August 1945.
More and more young Dutch people are discovering their origins and finding therein a reflection of the culturally rich and diverse society that the Netherlands has become. And this group of Dutch people is as diverse as the colonial society from which they originate. Chinese-Indonesians, Indonesians, Moluccans, Eurasians, 'Totoks' and, increasingly, all sorts of cultural mixes. Despite their different backgrounds, these Dutch people share a similar history: the loss of their home, the experience of war in Asia, and the effects of large-scale displacement and reserved reception in the Netherlands. Experiences that have been passed on to subsequent generations.
Especially among young people of the third and fourth generations, there is a growing interest in their own identity and the need to build on it. A marked increase in online comments and contributions on social media is taking place. The presence of vloggers and bloggers, of volunteers and of young people coming to the commemoration with their peers is clearly increasing.
Netherlands recognises 17 August 1945 as Independence Day Indonesia
The Netherlands “fully and unconditionally” recognises that Indonesia gained independence from the Netherlands on 17 August 1945. According to Prime Minister Mark Rutte speaking in the House of Representatives last June. On 17 August 1945, Sukarno declared independence after the Japanese surrender, but the Netherlands has never wanted to officially recognise that day. Until now...
Officially, the Netherlands still recognised 27 December 1949 as the date of the transfer of sovereignty and the surrender of claims in Indonesia after a bloody four-year struggle. Between 1945 and 1949, the Netherlands had fought a war to regain power in the colony. Under pressure from the United States in particular, our country was eventually forced to withdraw.
Some 75 years later, the end of what was then called the Dutch East Indies still touches a nerve in society. Not only among the population, but also among the veterans who had been sent on an impossible mission.