Doing business in Colony The Dutch Indies

De VOC was taken over by the Dutch State in 1795 due to its bankruptcy. This also included the VOC areas, including their settlements. The Dutch had a network of factorijen in these settlements.

The board of the VOC was mainly located on Java and some islands in the Moluccas. In the archipelago there were also several diverse settlements, factories and fortresses. At the beginning of the 19th century, the Dutch presence in Borneo and New Guinea was nil.

When these areas were taken over, the Dutch State changed its administrative structure and with it the authority in the settlements and factories. It was not until the 19th and 20th centuries that the Dutch East Indies Government was involved which exercised concrete administrative authority. More and more administrative organizations of the Dutch East Indies were also gradually expanded.

The council of the Indies
(Raden-structuur,Regentschapsraad, Raad voor het gewest)
The Council of the Indies (1609-1942) was a central organ of the Dutch colonial administration in Asia. The Council of the Indies was an advisory body to the Governor General. It was headed by the government. The Council of the Indies gave advice on economic and financial affairs and on appointments (of civil servants and also pastors) Some time (1818 after the bankruptcy of the VOC, the powers of the Council of the Indies were increasingly limited. The civil servants were now immediately service of the Batavian Republic and then of the Kingdom of Holland At the foundation of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands, the Council of the Indies was only an independent advisory body to the Governor-General.

During the administrative reforms of 1836, now the Council of the Dutch East Indies, this council was given more powers. In 1905, the Council of the Indies, established by law, in their regions or parts of regions, was given responsibility for the management of the funds of the regions concerned. The councilors, now in 1905, were chosen from three population groups: Dutch, indigenous and expatriates. Provided that these were present in sufficient numbers in the relevant region: The Regency Council. The Kabupat (Regent) was chairman and was chosen by the native population as much as possible from the noble native families. The regent appointed a patih (Stadtholder) to replace him.

In addition to a council for the region, a council for the departments of Kota was also instituted (cf. with the city council). -India present naval and naval forces, appoint, suspend or dismiss the mayor, officials, and pastors. At the start of the Reform Act (1922), a provincial council was finally established for the provinces yet to be formed.

However, after the elected People’s Council was established in 1925, the Council of the Indies lost all influence. Until the Japanese occupation in 1942 put an end to this council.

In 1938, the highest governmental level, the Indian Government, decided to divide the extremes into three Governments: Groote Oost, Borneo, Sumatra. In contrast, Java was divided into three provinsi (provinces): West Java, Central Java and East Java. Java now had two Governments: Jokjakarta and Surakarta.

Each of these Governments or provinces had a Governor as the highest administrative official. The administrative level, under the governor, was divided into European and Home Governance. The structure of that board differed per area size and whether it was a directly or indirectly controlled area.

An indirectly controlled area, were the areas that had greater autonomy with their own self-government. This form can be found on Java with its principality of Jogkakarta and Surakarta. The constitutional relationship of the Government of India with indirect government is laid down in political contracts for each area.

Administrative job classification in Indië

Bestuurslagen van hoog naar laag Functienaam hoogste gezagdrager Soort bestuur
Provincie/Gouvernement Gouverneur Europees Bestuur
Residentie (Afdeling) Resident
Regentschap Regent Inlands Bestuur
Kelurahan (Wijken/District) Wedana
 Kecamatan (Onderdistrict) Assistent-wedana of camat
Desa (dorp) Desahoofd


Gouvernor on Java
The Dutch settled mainly in Java because of the relatively mild continental climate. It therefore also goes deeper into governance on Java. The European administration was led in 1931 by the Governor General: Jr. Bonifacius C. de Jonge (1931-1936. Last was Governor General, Jr. Alidius WL Tjarrda van Starkenborgh Stachouwer (1936-1942) After which the Lieutenant Governor- General: Huberts van Mook (1842-1948) The High Commissioners: Louis Beel (1948-1949) and Antonius HJ Lovink 1949)

Compagny (Factorij)
When taking over the VOC regions by the Dutch State, they did not take over the factorijen. At the time of the VOC, the factorijen were led by the Dutch Trading Company, which was established in the Netherlands. The board was formed by a sent from the Netherlands, chief or factoor (director, commander or governor)

The factoor, was called a company after the VOC’s bankruptcy. The company official was appointed by the Dutch trading company. The company official was empowered to set up agencies and employ or fire employees. Also took care of purchasing, sales and barter. In the companies, the products were prepared for shipment. Weighed and packed.

The companies varied in size. The factorijen used to consist of many types of buildings, including housing for employees, warehouses, headquarters and sometimes a church. After the bankruptcy of the VOC, the garrison and trading posts disappeared and the church and schools belonged to the Desa. The companies consisted of housing for the staff of the company (director of the company, employees, household staff) and the factory (tea, rubber, coffee company) Sometimes also an educational building to provide education to their own children and employees. : the staff and their children.

The (civil servant) entrepreneur, tenant
Especially during the crisis years in the 1930s, work could be found in the East Indies. There were positions such as with the Royal Dutch East Indies Army (KNIL). Functions such as mining employees and positions for civil servants were also created. One company was run by an official. Employed by the Dutch Trading Company. The (official) director of the company was a tenant. Tenant lease of the company and the associated parcel were deducted from their earnings, which were to be paid to the Dutch Trading Company. In addition to lease rent, there were also operating expenses (including employees, facilities, if available, purchase of seeds, machines, etc.) and household staff. The rest of the wages went to the costs of personal maintenance (such as food, clothing, transport and household staff). The more the tenant of the company transported to the Dutch Trading Company and charged this company a ‘reasonable price’ for this, the higher the tenant had a salary for his family.

Indië and the War Grounds of Japan
Dutch East Indies described by Lieutenant General Reiichi Tada. In 1943 he was a Doctor of Technical Sciences of the Imperial Japanese Army.

“The way in which the Dutch exploited the Dutch East Indies was extremely useful. Their scientific and technical skills served communication, public works and hygiene. In particular, their scientifically designed irrigation system up to quite high in the mountains, was calculated that India would be self-sufficient in its rice production. Blessed with a favorable climate and added such high scientific skills, the Dutch East Indies had no problems in the field of food and housing.

The natives happily spend their days under Dutch leadership. Java, smaller than Japan but also very mountainous, is home to a population of fifty million souls. The Dutch cared for the Indonesian peoples remarkably well. Sixty million indigenous people were led by only two hundred thousand Dutch, that is, 300 indigenous people compared to one Dutch person. This is not an ordinary board. The Dutch are here for the natives; they provided self-sufficiency so that they lacked nothing. Using their first-class scientific knowledge, they have developed the Dutch East Indies, promoted the well-being of the population and provided them with food, clothing and shelter. The result is that this area can be called paradise, with a population density that belongs to the top of the world ”(Rapport, Tada, 1943)

The National Report of the Dutch East Indies (1937) showed that Argentina was the most prosperous country then, after which the Dutch East Indies. The level of infrastructure in the areas of ports, airports, (rail) roads was high. Especially the port of Surabaya. Furthermore, it appeared that in the railways (construction and maintenance) and in the factories / companies that exported agricultural products, all functions were fulfilled by the natives (Scudamore, 1981). It was found that an endless row of factories, all owned by the Javanese and Chinese. Especially in Djokja was an unprecedented large industrial complex (Scudamore, 1981)

Among other things, there was a large export market for the Singer sewing machines in India. The Dutch East Indies were the largest export market for the American automotive industry. (National report of the Dutch East Indies, 1937). According to Scudamore (1981), there was exceptional quality of rice, tea, coffee and tobacco in India. This is due to the superior agricultural technique of the Dutch. India’s largest hospitals, the most favorable living conditions, the best social and hygienic facilities of all colonies (Scudamore, 1981)

For example, it can be concluded that the Dutch brought knowledge about at least hygiene, agricultural techniques and infrastructure for the agricultural production of, among other things, rice, tea, coffee and tobacco. The agricultural factories on the factories were mainly run by Javanese and Chinese. The ethical Dutch politics from the 1930s, when it came to promoting the economic independence of the Dutch colony, appears to have borne fruit from the above.

The Dutch also took conditional knowledge with them. Wages in Java and North Sumatra were three times higher than anywhere else in Asia, so that savings could even be made (Money, 1861). Secondary benefits were also arranged. This allowed citizens to live freely and was entitled to a large garden for growing food for their own use. In addition, they received free library visits, education and medical care. In the event of illness and retirement, citizens were paid full wages. No VAT, excise duties and wage tax were paid (The International Trade Union Confederation in Brussels, 1913)

After the occupation of the Dutch East Indies, the Japanese decided to reduce the wages of the Javanese by 30%. This is because Javanese workers previously earned as much as a non-commissioned officer in the Imperial army. With this reduction the “lower class” of the Javanese worker was indicated.