Archives sharing content in the digital age
The Netherland's national archives, Nationaal Archief, has recently completed a research project: Afscheid van Indië (Separation from Indonesia), which includes the web publishing of over 175,000 pages of digitised records. The site tells the story of the separation of the Netherlands from its former colony of Indonesia during the 1940s. This turbulent decade in the history of the Netherlands is told through the use of archival material sourced from three continents including the collections of the Australian War Memorial.
The Dutch colony of the Netherlands East Indies fell to the Japanese forces during the Second World War. Within two days following Japan’s capitulation in 1945 the former Dutch colony, under Ahmed Sukarno, declared itself a Republic. The Netherlands attempted to re-establish their control with force but found there was considerable international political pressure against them. Australia also became involved politically, generally supporting Indonesia but also wanting to stay on good terms with the Netherlands.
Afscheid van Indië brings together source material of Allied operations in South East Asia during the Second World War and the political fallout in the region following the surrender of Japan in 1945. The Australian contribution to this project includes over 200 records from the Australian War Memorial's archive and 400 records from the National Archives of Australia. Also included are records from international archival institutions such as the National Archives and Records Administration (US), The MacArthur Memorial (US), National Archives (UK), Rijksarchief (Sweden) and the Nationaal Archief (Netherlands). The collection can be searched (zoek) using keywords in the title of the documents or by region from the map (Kaart) page.
This research project by the National Archives of the Netherlands is an example of how content within international archives can be shared in the digital age.
For an overview of the Dutch-Australian experience of the war in the Pacific, 1941-45 see the Australian War Memorial's online exhibition Allies in Adversity.