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Dutch East Indies veterans

Doede Bruinsma (1926) grew up in Harpel, Groningen. He had volunteered for the army in 1946 because he saw conscription coming. Bruinsma left for the East Indies in November 1947 on the troopship the Groote Beer. He served as a sergeant major administrator in Sanga-Sanga, the oil rig in Borneo, and later in Wanaredja in Central Java. Bruinsma returned to the Netherlands in January 1950.
After the debate on the conflict between the Netherlands and Indonesia revived in 2012, OVCG created an Oral History project in cooperation with the Gronings AudioVisual Archive (GAVA). This project focuses on the experiences of three Groningen East Indies veterans. With this, OVCG tries to give people a better understanding of the conflict between the Netherlands and Indonesia from the point of view of East Indies veterans. The film below was the result, in which three veterans, including Doede Bruinsma, tell the story of their time in the East Indies.


The interviews were conducted by War and Resistance Centre Groningen. The interviews deal with the Indonesian War of Independence and the role of the interviewees in it. The three interviews have been made into a 30-minute montage.
The interviews focus on events and experiences in the years 1946 – 1949.
They mainly discuss the Netherlands, Groningen and Indonesia. Themes include Second World War, Indonesian revolution, expectations, conscription, war volunteers, adjustment problems.


Jan Hummel, Doede Bruinsma and Anton Schurer talk about their time in the Dutch East Indies between 1946 and 1949 in this montage. The montage is an excerpt from three Oral History interviews conducted by OVCG.


Oral History Ned. Indië veteranen OVCG from Groninger Archieven on Vimeo.