Indonesia and the Dutch East Indies

Map Dutch-Indies before 1949 (1 of 1)
Words, terms and expressions

“Indië”.
Identification for the Dutch East Indies. The transfer of sovereignty took place on December 27, 1949. The name Indonesia was already circulating in nationalist circles. Queen Wilhelmina used for the first time officially in a radio speech in London on December 6th, 1942, announcing a greater independence from the Dutch overseas territories. After the war, The Hague has continued to use the name.

“Indiëganger”.
Before the war, this term was often used for anyone who went to Dutch East Indies to work there. After the war, this term claimed by the Dutch East Indies veterans. Their website also called www.indiëgangers.nl

“Indians”.
In the Dutch East Indies indicative of immigrants from British India (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka).

“Indisch”.
Global: coming from Dutch East Indies. White Dutch in the Dutch East Indies did not regard themselves as Indisch people but meant only the lower social Eurasians with it. The phrase “typical Indisch” has lost over the years, many of its original negative image. See the many Indische Pasar malams held in the Netherlands.
Indisch food is different from Indonesian food. For example, the rice table does belong to the colonial Indisch cuisine, but not to the Indonesian. There are many more similarities than differences.
The significance of Indische boy is generally: an Indo who is still Indisch and behaves himself as an Indo and is not ashamed to speak with an Indisch accent, especially with his Indische friends. And sometimes a Totok can be much more Indisch than an indo.

“Indisch Dutch”.
Dutch born in the former Dutch East Indies and / or have lived there for long periods. This group includes not Dutch soldiers who served after the war in the country.

“Eurasians”.
Covered by above group, but are similar in origin and partly Indonesian. Some find the word Indo derogatory, others consider it just as a name of honor. Also, the word ‘Indo’ is used in today’s Indonesia, and especially among young people of mixed descent popular again. A lot of artists (singers, actors) are Indo and are proud of it.

“Totoks”.
Within Indische circle the name for Indisch white Dutch and all the Dutch who came from the Netherlands. Totok is originally a Chinese word.

“Indonesians”.
Designation for the people of Indonesia, and already used before their independence.

“Natives”.
The only acceptable alternative for Indonesian native, if you want to differentiate in a Dutch colonial context or between Dutch and Indonesians, as in the KNIL camps.

“Inlander” is a derogatory word and was used in a typical colonial context. During the revolutionary period 1945-1950 Dutch soldiers indicated the Indonesian opponents with the equally derogatory ‘ploppers “(a corruption of the Indonesian word Pelopor, which in turn is derived from the Dutch” precursor “)

“Javanese” is a collective term for all the inhabitants of Java.
But much more so for those residents who live mainly in Central Java and East Java and speak Javanese. Other larger groups ‘Javanese’ are the Sundanese of West Java who speak Sundanese and Bantamese from the most western part of Java, formerly known as Bantam and now Banten.

“Colonial war and police action”
The armed action by Dutch troops in Indonesia after World War II is often described as a colonial war which was intended to restore the Dutch colonial rule in glory. The goal was to bring ‘peace and order’, the Netherlands wanted to precede the (already in December 1942 by Queen Wilhelmina) promised speedy independence.
Rather it is precisely police actions. In the summer of 1947 and in December 1949 two big offensive actions were undertaken by Dutch forces to accelerate the above described desired situation. These actions, both of which only lasted several weeks, were labeled with this term because this was not a war but a policy mission in principle.
So, avoid the term colonial war. They were Dutch military actions (with twice an offensive = police actions), in an area that is officially still under Dutch rule. After nearly four years struggle and diplomacy both parties agreed to transfer the sovereignty in 1949.

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