This film is part of Free

Holland’s Colonial Problem

From the thriving streets of Amsterdam to the troubled shores of the East Indies: Dutch postwar prosperity is in jeopardy as the Netherlands become embroiled in a colonial conflict.

Documentary 1948 18 mins


Although the Netherlands was recovering quickly at home after the war, it faced increasing problems in its former colonies in the East Indies. Taking advantage of the wealth of the region, Dutch industrialists had grown rich from rubber, tobacco, tea, tin and oil. As a new age of independence dawned, this March of Time report reveals that Dutch colonial attitudes lingered on, leading to conflict with the recently formed independent Republic of Indonesia.

The Linggadjati Agreement referred to in this issue was an agreement drafted in November 1946 between the Dutch and the Republic of Indonesia at the insistence of the United Nations Security Council. As the press conferences shown in the film reveal, both sides soon fell out over the agreement, with acting Governor General Hubertus Van Mook and his Indonesian counterpart Charles Tambu each accusing the other of violating the agreement. The film recognises that Dutch prosperity depends on maintaining trade with the East Indies but the editorial line is emphatically critical of colonialism and clear that the postwar historical reality means ‘the end of white domination over Asiatic people’.