Dutch cabinet agrees to fund research into violence in Indonesia

Dutch cabinet agrees to fund research into violence in Indonesia

The Dutch government has agreed to finance a major investigation into the structural use of violence during the end of Dutch rule in its former colonies in Indonesia. Ministers agreed on Friday to fund the project after new research indicated that extreme violence, including torture and executions, were normal during the colonial wars, which ran from 1945 to 1949. In a statement, the cabinet said it realises that the research could ‘cause pain to soldiers who served in Indonesia’. However, it is important that the research takes into account the ‘difficult circumstances most veterans operated in, the violence on the Indonesia side…. and the responsibilities of the political, administrative and military leadership.’ During the battle for independence, some 100,000 Indonesians and almost 5,000 Dutch nationals died. According to the Telegraaf, the ruling VVD only agreed to back the research if violence by both the Dutch and the Indonesians came under the spotlight. Report ‘Dutch soldiers left a trail of burning kampongs and piles of bodies throughout the Indonesian archipelago,’ Swiss-Dutch historian Rémy Limpach said in his report, which was published in September. Until now, the official line had been that there were only isolated incidents of excessive violence. ‘The Netherlands has always had difficulty with this dark side of its own history,’ Socialist MP Harry van Bommel told the Volkskrant on Friday. ‘But I think this research is the start of a road towards recognition. It is primarily about political responsibility.’ Bloody struggle The Dutch military interventions in Indonesia, or Dutch Indies as it was known then, followed the proclamation of the independent Republic of Indonesia in 1945 and lasted until the country formally gained independence in 1949 after a bloody struggle. At the end of 2011, the Netherlands finally formally apologised for the massacre of hundreds of men and boys in the Javanese village of Rawagede in 1947. The Netherlands has also been ordered in court to pay compensation in connection with a bloodbath in southern Sulawesi. The research will be carried out by three Dutch institutes who submitted a specific research proposal in 2012, but failed to secure funding, the Telegraaf said.  More >

Police investigate possible kidnapping

Four in 10 marriages now end in divorce Police in Gelderland are investigating reports of a possible kidnapping in Nunspeet, a small town about 30 kilometres north west of Apeldoorn. Locals reported the kidnapping to the police after they witnesses a man being dragged from his car by three men dressed in black and wearing balaclavas. Images on YouTube show the men calmly putting the man into a BMW in a leafy suburban street before driving off. A Mercedes van, which was also spotted at the scene, was found later in a carpool park on the edge of the A28 motorway, news agency ANP said.   More >

Former politician's speech strikes chord

Former politician’s call for ‘democracy of trust’ strikes a chord A 85-year-old former politician has caused a stir in the Netherlands with a passionate plea for a ‘democracy of trust’. Jan Terlouw, who founded D66 in 1966, was a guest on tv chat show De Wereld Draait Door on Wednesday and said that the main problem society is facing is a lack of trust. It is the kind of trust that had people put a string on the lock and hang it from the letterbox so neighbours could go into each other’s houses, he said. Terlouw called on politicians here and abroad to show their integrity.  'Show especially that you are there to serve the common good, that you are there to give the young a world that can be mended and where we can trust each other again,' he said. 'Where the string dangles from the letterbox.’ His emotional plea, made straight to camera without the aid of an autocue, is still reverberating around social media, eliciting many comments from people too young to know about Terlouw’s political career. ‘My parents used to vote D66, now I know why’, one commenter said on Twitter. Even visitors to populist website Dumpert had good words to say about the speech with commenters calling it ‘moving’ and ‘straight from the heart’.  ‘He won’t be here soon, but we will. We should listen to what he has to say,' said one commenter.   More >

Germany invites the Netherlands to G20

Four in 10 marriages now end in divorce German chancellor Angela Merkel has invited the Netherlands to attend next year's G20 meetings, the Telegraaf said on Friday. The main summit takes place in Hamburg on July 7 and 8. Germany took over as chairman of the G20 group of industrial countries on Thursday. 'We earn a lot of money with international trade,' the paper quotes Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte as saying. 'The biggest economies in the world discuss a wide variety of topics affecting financial stability and economic growth during their meetings. These subjects affect the interest of the Netherlands directly.' The last time the Netherlands was present at a G20 meeting was an informal meeting on China in early 2011. The government was not invited to the big summit of government leaders in Cannes that same year.   More >

Dutch start-up in China VR cinema project

Dutch start-up in China VR cinema project Dutch start-up company &Samhoud Media has signed a deal to distribute films to at least 100 virtual reality cinemas in China, the Financieele Dagblad and NRC reported. The company already owns and operates The VR Cinema as well as the two-Michelin star restaurant called  &Samhoud|Places, both near Amsterdam's central railway station. The first of the Chinese VR cinemas - each with between 50 and 100 seats - are scheduled to open later this month in Shanghai, Beijing and three other Chinese cities. The cinemas are being launched in outlets of the Chinese media giant Gome Group which has 2,200 mega-stores in China. VR movies, which are 30 minutes long, unfold around the viewer in 360 degrees using a VR headset. The Dutch media company will deliver the concept, The VR Cinema brand name, technical support and handle distribution of the films. In return, &Samhoud will receive an unspecified percentage of ticket sales. Entry to the Chinese cinemas is set at about €9, compared to €12.50 in Amsterdam. Jip Samhoud, the 26-year-old founder of the group bearing his name, says there are plans to expand the concept into  Russia, China and the US.  More >