Dutch East Indies

Dutch East Indies[1]

Nederlandsch-Indië  (Dutch)
Hindia-Belanda  (Indonesian)
Coat of arms
Anthem: "Wilhelmus" (Dutch)
Map of the Dutch East Indies showing its territorial expansion from 1800 to its fullest extent prior to Japanese occupation in 1942.
Map of the Dutch East Indies showing its territorial expansion from 1800 to its fullest extent prior to Japanese occupation in 1942.
StatusDutch colony
Largest citySoerabaja[2][3]
Common languagesDutch (Official)
Malay (Lingua Franca)
Indigenous languages
Dutch Reformed
other Christianity
GovernmentColonial administration
Head of state 
• 1800 (first)
Augustijn Gerhard Besier
• 1806 (last)
Carel de Vos van Steenwijk
• Monarch
• 1816–1840 (first)
William I
• 1948–1949 (last)
• 1800–1801 (first)
Pieter G. van Overstraten
• 1949 (last)
A. H. J. Lovinka
• VOC nationalised
1 January 1800
Feb 1942 – Aug 1945
17 August 1945
27 December 1949
• 1930
CurrencyDutch East Indies gulden
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Dutch East India Company
Aceh Sultanate
Bali Kingdom
Riau-Lingga Sultanate
Portuguese Malacca
United States of Indonesia
Netherlands New Guinea
Republic of South Maluku
Straits Settlements
Today part of Indonesia
  1. ^ Occupied by Japanese forces between 1942 and 1945, followed by the Indonesian National Revolution until 1949. Indonesia proclaimed its independence on 17 August 1945. Netherlands New Guinea was transferred to Indonesia in 1963. Official date according to the United Nations is 1949.[5]
The expansion of the Dutch East Indies in the Indonesian Archipelago.
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The Dutch East Indies (or Netherlands East-Indies; Dutch: Nederlands(ch)-Indië; Indonesian: Hindia Belanda) was a Dutch colony consisting of what is now Indonesia. It was formed from the nationalised colonies of the Dutch East India Company, which came under the administration of the Dutch government in 1800.

During the 19th century, the Dutch possessions and hegemony were expanded, reaching their greatest territorial extent in the early 20th century. This colony was one of the most valuable European colonies under the Dutch Empire's rule,[6] and contributed to Dutch global prominence in spice and cash crop trade in the 19th to early 20th century.[7] The colonial social order was based on rigid racial and social structures with a Dutch elite living separate from but linked to their native subjects.[8] The term Indonesia came into use for the geographical location after 1880. In the early 20th century, local intellectuals began developing the concept of Indonesia as a nation state, and set the stage for an independence movement.[9]

Japan's World War II occupation dismantled much of the Dutch colonial state and economy. Following the Japanese surrender in August 1945, Indonesian nationalists declared independence which they fought to secure during the subsequent Indonesian National Revolution. The Netherlands formally recognized Indonesian sovereignty at the 1949 Dutch–Indonesian Round Table Conference with the exception of the Netherlands New Guinea (Western New Guinea), which was ceded to Indonesia 14 years later in 1963 under the provisions of the New York Agreement.


The word Indies comes from Latin: Indus (Names for India). The original name Dutch Indies (Dutch: Nederlandsch-Indië) was translated by the English as the Dutch East Indies, to keep it distinct from the Dutch West Indies. The name Dutch Indies is recorded in the Dutch East India Company's documents of the early 1620s.[10]

Scholars writing in English use the terms Indië, Indies, the Dutch East Indies, the Netherlands Indies, and colonial Indonesia interchangeably.[11]

Other Languages
azərbaycanca: Niderland Ost-Hindi
Bahasa Indonesia: Hindia Belanda
مازِرونی: هلند شرقی هند
Bahasa Melayu: Hindia Timur Belanda
Minangkabau: Hindia-Balando
Nederlands: Nederlands-Indië
norsk nynorsk: Nederlandsk Austindia
Simple English: Dutch East Indies
српски / srpski: Холандска Индија
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Nizozemske Istočne Indije
Basa Sunda: Hindia-Walanda
Tiếng Việt: Đông Ấn Hà Lan