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On clogs through the dessa

Op klompen troch de dessa, Indiëgongers fertelle

Hylke Speerstra

Uitgeverij Bornmeer, 2014

ISBN: 9789056156237


Op klompen door de dessa, Indiëgangers vertellen

Hylke Speerstra

Olympus, 2015

ISBN: 9789046706251


In Op klompen door de dessa, Speerstra records a total of eighteen stories of Frisian ‘Indies-draftees’.

Speerstra is Friesland’s oral history specialist and one of the province’s most widely read authors. His fame will certainly have contributed to these men – most of them around 90 – wanting to share their experiences of the Indonesian war of independence (1945-1950).


On the Dutch action in the Dutch East Indies. A colonial war, most boys had no idea what awaited them. To Hylke Speerstra, they could finally tell their whole story.

The Dutch military action in the Dutch East Indies shortly after World War II was a colonial war. Op klompen door de dessa tells what that war meant for the men who had to do the dirty work. A few still think it was good, but most boys never got over their traumas. They literally trudged through the dessa on clogs – they had no idea what awaited them: guerrilla, executions, war, even though they had just emerged from that in the Netherlands. The men are now well into their eighties and finally want to tell their whole story. In Hylke Speerstra, they found someone who is a good listener and a master storyteller.


20150517-Waltzing Mathilda in Fries Landbouwmuseum