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The Netherlands

King Willem-Alexander commemorates end of Japanese occupation of the Dutch East Indies

willem alexander
© RVD - Martijn Beekman

King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands was joined by Prime Minister Mark Rutte at the commemoration at the Indies Monument for all victims of the Japanese occupation of the Dutch East Indies. All those present wore a pin with a Melati, the Indies jasmine, as a symbol of remembrance. On 15 August 1945 – VJ Day – the Japanese occupation of the Dutch East Indies officially came to an end.

The day before the commemoration the monument was vandalised with red paint by a group who say they want justice for the “misdeeds” of the Netherlands in Indonesia. The city filed a complaint with the police and managed to clean the monument just in time for the service.

King Willem-Alexander placed a wreath at the Indies Monument during the scaled-down ceremony in The Hague while Prime Minister Mark Rutte held a moving speech which included the memories of his father who had been held in a Japanese internment camp and lost his first wife in a camp. He said, “The war was a pitch-black chapter for him. My father’s stories are my baggage now. I have learned a lot from this, as we all know. We must recognise that this chapter of the Second World War is an inseparable part of our common history.”