Press Release – August 9, 2023

Press release “All Dutch-Indies commemorations are colonial,” writes KUKB chairman Jeffry Pondaag in a letter to Amsterdam Mayor Femke Halsema

Heemskerk. Today, Wednesday, August 9, 2023, Jeffry Pondaag sent a letter to Femke Halsema, the mayor of Amsterdam in response of the upcoming Dutch-Indies commemoration in Amsterdam of August 15.
Halsema initially planned to attend the commemoration on Dam Square that is organized by the Indisch Platform 2.0. After realizing that the daughter of war criminal Raymond Westerling was going to speak, she decided not to go. Instead, she is now going to attend the ‘decolonial Indonesia Netherlands commemoration’ that will be held on August 16 at the Indies monument in Amsterdam South. 
In an interview with Noord-Hollands Dagblad, Pondaag called it “wajar” (reasonable) for Halsema to withdraw. However, he finds the so-called ‘decolonial’ commemoration of August 16 just as colonial. “All Dutch-Indies commemorations in the Netherlands are colonial, regardless of whether Westerling’s daughter speaks or not”. The commemoration of August 16 is normalizing colonialism too by giving the impression that there is a middle ground, that Dutch-Indies people and Indonesians, and their experience, are equal to each other. Pondaag: “But they forget that the Dutch East Indies was not a normal country, it was an illegal occupation. The only decolonial commemoration is the commemoration of August 17, the day that we Indonesians celebrate our independence.”
For more information, please contact:
Jeffry M. Pondaag
Chair and Founder of Yayasan Komite Utang Kehormatan belanda (K.U.K.B. Foundation, Dutch Debts of Honor Committee)

Tel. +31638613795 or +6282114522199

Download the letter in PDF:

See also: (In Dutch)

Interview Noord-Hollands Dagblad 9 augustus 2023

The initial announcement of the Dutch Indies Commemoration on Dam Square: