Voorbij een nationale geschiedschrijving | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online
Volume 133, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 0040-7518
  • E-ISSN: 2352-1163



In a historic first, the ruling of a civil court in The Hague in 2011 obliged the Dutch state to take responsibility for a mass execution perpetrated by Dutch military in the West Javanese village of Rawagede in 1947. Sixty-four years after the end of Indonesia’s struggle for independence (1945-1949) some justice has been served. This article explores several of its unintended historiographical effects. Taking the armed conflict between states as a frame of reference was an inevitable starting point for the court case, but the consequence is that national perspectives (Dutch colonizer / Indonesian colonized) are centered. Consequently, the entanglement of local experiences and transnational dynamics remains invisible. By presenting the so-called ‘Rawagede case’ as a form of instead of consisting of two antagonistic opposites, we believe that space can be created, within both the Dutch and Indonesian contexts, for multiple positions and perspectives. In doing so, this article offers alternative frames to (Dutch) historians who have argued for writing histories that challenge the still dominant national discourse in postcolonial historiography.


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