Nieuw-Guinea als utopie - Nederlandse kolonisatieplannen 1920-1940 | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online
Volume 122, Issue 3
  • ISSN: 0040-7518
  • E-ISSN: 2352-1163


In the interwar period New Guinea served for a number of groups in the Netherlands and the Dutch Indies as an opportunity to escape from contemporary society. Socio-economic suppression of Eurasians in Indonesia, increasing unemployment, and fear of overpopulation in Holland resulted in plans for the colonization of New Guinea. The thinly populated, second largest island in the world seemed to provide an outstanding opportunity to create a ‘tropical Holland’ . This article focuses on these highly ambitious, utopian colonization plans and the associated representations made mainly by right-oriented groups in the Netherlands and the Dutch Indies between the two world wars. The eventual attempt to colonize failed completely. According to the author, the main effect of the utopian representations must be seen in the degree to which they generated hopes for a more ideal society. It is argued that these plans and especially the representations of New Guinea as a new Holland, were very successful. Even the Dutch government, which had previously strongly rejected colonization, seemed after the Second World War to have been seduced by the idea of a tropical, Dutch island.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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