Nederlands-Oost-Indie/Indes-Orientales-Neerlandaises/Netherlands East Indies





Head of State

His Majesty King Leopold III of the Belgians and I of the United Netherlands (from 1951)

Head of Government

Governor-General Meinoud Rost van Tonningen (1944-1969), Paul van Tienen (from 1969)


A Dutch colony since 17th century. In response to changes in the internal politics of the Netherlands, native unrest and the threat from Japan, the administration of the Netherlands East Indies was substantially reformed after the war.

The unitary Dutch East Indies was partitioned into three administrative units, based very loosely on confessional grounds:

  1. United Provinces/Verenigde Provincien/Provinces Unies: the bulk of the Netherlands East Indies, with a large Muslim majority, ruled indirectly through local notables and increasingly through the Prince Justice Legion or APRA, a militia and later political society for native Muslims established by Resident-General Raymond Westerling in 1949 and made the official local collaborationist body in 1952. The ruling Executive Council (Raad van Indie) is made up of members of APRA, the Resident-General and the various sultans and rajahs of local principalities. Sultan Hamid II Alkadrie of Pontianak is the chief figure amongst the native nobility, due in part to his close relationship with APRA. Hamid's son, Syarif Max Yusuf Alkadrie, is heir to both his father as Sultan of Poktianak and to Raymond Westerling as Leader of APRA. Another significant figure is el-Haj Mohammed Soeharto Hamengkubuwono, a distant relative of the Sultan Hamengkubuwono IX of Yogyakarta.
  2. New Guinea and South Moluccas/Nieuw-Guinea und Zuid Molukken/Nouvelle Guinee et Moluques du Sud: mainly Christian part of the East Indies, directly ruled. The new NSB government in the Netherlands planned this region to be a homeland for the Eurasian or Indo (mixed-race) population of the East Indies. Resettlement of Indos from the Netherlands and from the United Provinces began immediately. This was mandatory from the Netherlands and voluntary from the United Provinces, with various grants being made available to encourage resettlement. Indos are forbidden from owning land anywhere else in the Netherlands East Indies, or in the Netherlands itself. The leadership of the region is mainly both Eurasian and Christian, though the Resident-General (Ernst Herman ridder van Rappard and later Jacob Liutjens), is a European. The political body for Indo people is the Indo Volkspartij voor Vrijheid en Kolonisatie/Indo People's Party for Freedom and Colonisation.
  3. Bali: As Bali has a Hindu rather than Muslim majority, it is administered as a Special Region within the East Indies. Muslim organisations are not allowed to operate on Bali (the Parisada Hindu Dharma exists as the collaborationist political society for Hindus), nor are Indos allowed to settle or own land on the island. The Balinese ruler Tjokorda Gde Rake Soekawati enjoys special status amongst the native nobles on the Raad.

The most significant change in the political make-up of the East Indies has been the emergence of the Prince Justice Legion. Formed by a former soldier of the Royal Netherlands East Indies Army in January 1949 to combat the growing anti-Dutch nationalist movement. The name of the Prince Justice Legion refers to the legend of Ratu Adil, a semi-messianic figure from Javanese mythology. The Legion's ideology is deeply conservative, with a focus on traditional Islam and oppossed to the domination of Javanese over the other peoples of the East Indies.

In January 1950 the Legion stormed the partially elected Volksraad and ejected those members considered to be anti-Dutch. In 1952 it became the official collaborationist body for Muslims in the East Indies. It also has a presence in the Netherlands West Indies amongst Muslim settlers of East Indies or Hindoestani origin. From the mid-1970s the APRA has also been active in the British-protected Malay states and covertly in the Malay provinces of the Thai Empire and in the Muslim Moro provinces of the Philippines.

Other collabortionist political societies with representation of the Raad include

  • Boedi Oetomo, a conservative pro-Dutch nationalist grouping sponsored by the Susuhunan Pakubuwono of Surakarta and dominated by Javanese aristocrats, established 1908
  • Persyarikatan Muhammadiyah, an Islamic group linked to Boedi Oetomo, established 1912
  • Nahdlatul Ulama, a traditionalist Islamic group, established 1926
  • Majlis Islam A'laa, a discursive body established by the rival Muhammadiyah and Nahdlatul Ulama movements, established 1937
  • Sarekat Islam, an Islamic group dominated by the Javanese commercial class, established 1912
  • Darul Islam, a traditionalist Islamic group strong in Aceh and South Sulawesi, established 1942
  • Paguyuban Pasundan, a Sundanese cultural body, established 1913