On 1 March, an article was published (in Dutch) on the news site of the Netherlands Broadcasting Corporation (NOS) entitled ‘No royal apologies during state visit to Indonesia, but why not?’ [‘Geen koninklijke excuses bij bezoek aan Indonesië, maar waarom niet?]. It states the following:

Another reason why the King will not make any apologies next week is that a major government-funded historical research project into post-war violence is underway. It is being carried out by both Dutch and Indonesian academics, and concerns violence on both sides. It will be ongoing until September 2021.

The independent academic research does not address the question of whether apologies should be made. Nonetheless, according to sources from The Hague[1], making apologies ahead of the findings could be interpreted as an attempt to influence the conclusions.

We are not familiar with who the ‘sources from The Hague’ are, but as the research programme team, we would like to emphasise that we would consider it to be principally incorrect for politicians to use the ongoing research programme as a reason not to take a political standpoint.

Secondly, we would like to emphasise once again that the research was designed to provide an academically sound answer to questions regarding the nature, scope, causes and impact of the Dutch violence, seen in a broader colonial, political, social and international context. That does not in any way mean that Indonesian violence will not be considered, but it is not a subject of systematic study. The research programme is primarily Dutch research with an emphasis on Dutch actions in a broad context. The research process includes cooperation with academics in Indonesia, and sources, ideas and perspectives are exchanged. However, the Indonesian research group determines its own research agenda and are responsible for the execution thereof.


[1] Translator’s note: The Hague is the political centre of the Netherlands