Queen Wilhelmina, Jakarta. Defacement 6 May 1960. (2006, Amsterdam, archives of the RIjksmuseum) Two days after Japan’s capitulation on 17 August 1945, the influential nationalistic leaders, Sukarno and Mohammad Hatta declared the independence of the Dutch East Indies. Sukarno became the first president of the new Indonesia. Initially the Netherlands resisted these developments with the so-called ‘police actions’, but in December 1949, under pressure from the international community, it eventually recognized Indonesia’s independence, with the exception of the eastern part of New Guinea (present-day Papua). Wilhemina was Queen of the Netherlands from 1890 to 1948, one of the longest reigning monarchs ever. Nevertheless, she never set foot on Indonesian soil. Her portrait hung in the offices of the Dutch High Commissioner in Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia. On 6 May 1960, during a protest against the continuing retention of Papua by the Netherlands, nationalistic students forced their way into the building and damaged the portrait of Wilhelmina with paint and thrusts of their bayonets. In 1963, after a period under temporary UN administration, this colony was also transferred to Indonesia.
117 x 147 cm
GERT JAN KOCKEN
THE PAST IN THE PRESENT

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