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Liberation or Merdeka


bevrijding of merdeka

Gérard Bueters wanted to make a documentary about the experiences of veterans of Battalion Zeeland and the impact that deployment to Indonesia had on their lives, based on a personal connection to the war of independence in Indonesia – his children’s grandfather was a soldier in the Princess Irene Brigade. This was the first Dutch post-war battalion, originally formed in 1944 from the resistance to liberate the northern Netherlands. When Germany capitulated, the volunteers were sent to Indonesia where they fought for 2.5 years against an independent Indonesia. He conducted 160 preliminary interviews with veterans (of the 280 surviving veterans of Battalion Zeeland). These were not captured on audio or video. Content summaries of about 50 of these interviews are available. Subsequently, eight veterans and the wife of a veteran were interviewed for the documentary.


The production was realised with support from, among others, the VSB Fund, Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds, Provincie Zeeland, Stichting Ooggetuigen v/d 20e eeuw, Kattendijke-Drucker Stichting, municipalities Goes, Vlissingen, Middelburg and Sluis and was produced by Multi World Pictures in co-production with the NPS. The documentary was broadcast by VPRO, NPS in 2010.

The main questions were: Why did you make the choices you did at the time? What impact did your time in Indonesia have on your subsequent life?


Time, place and themes: The interviews focus on events and experiences in the years 1944 – present.
They mainly discuss Indonesia and the Netherlands. Themes include World War II, Zeeland, resistance background, denazification, liberation Zeeland in 1944, Zeeland residents, veterans, war volunteers, choices.


The collection is managed by Gérard Bueters. He wishes to transfer this collection and his working archive in its entirety to an archive institution, possibly the Netherlands Institute for Sound & Vision.


Access: The collection is of limited public access. If interested, contact Programma Indisch Erfgoed Digitaal.


Preservation: The collection consists of digital videotapes. To preserve the interviews permanently for the
future, digitisation and transfer to an e-depot is desirable.