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Wednesday, 15th August will mark the annual ‘Indië Commemoration’ in The Hague. This special day remembers the major events that occurred in the former Dutch colonies of the Dutch East Indies and other Asian countries, since World War II. The most important part of the day is the actual commemoration ceremony, which takes place early afternoon, in front of the imposing ‘Indische Monument’.
The Indische Monument was unveiled by Queen Beatrix in 1988, to symbolise the suffering of all those compatriots who lived in Asia during and directly after World War II. Whilst the Netherlands was already liberated by 5th May 1945, the Dutch East Indies remained under Japanese occupation until 15th August 1945. Yet even after the Japanese capitulation, the country still wasn’t free. Allied forces invaded immediately after Japan surrendered and instructed the remaining Japanese soldiers to maintain order. The desperate struggle for independence that ensued was often violently suppressed, resulting in an extremely turbulent and emotional period for those that lived through it. It was because the Japanese occupation was so repressive and the subsequent battle for liberation so traumatic, that the annual ‘Indië Commemoration’ was first established.
The National Indië Commemoration begins on Wednesday 15th August at 10:30 am, with a packed morning agenda at the World Forum Center in The Hague. The audience will hear from several speakers and can enjoy a performance by acclaimed singer Julya Lo’ko. This will be followed by the official commemoration at 12.30 am, in front of the Indië Monument. After a delicious lunch of typical Indonesian dishes including ‘nasi rames’ and ‘gado-gado’, visitors can experience the ‘koempoelan’ – a vibrant Indonesian party with music, exhibitions and a number of colourful stalls. There will also be lively, round-table discussions focusing on this years theme of ‘Leaving Indië’. With a special program for children aged from 8 to 12 years of age, the event should prove to be a moving and fun day out for all the family!