Netherlands-Indonesia Union

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Netherlands-Indonesia Union
Nederlands-Indonesische Unie
Uni Indonesia–Belanda
The Netherlands and Indonesia
The Netherlands and Indonesia
StatusConfederation between the Netherlands and Indonesia
Common languagesIndonesian
Indigenous languages
Sunni Islam
Hoofd der Unie
(Head of the Union)
• 1949–1956
27 December 1949
• Union dissolved
Preceded by
Succeeded by
United States of Indonesia
Republic of Indonesia

The Netherlands-Indonesia Union was a confederal relationship between the Netherlands and Indonesia that existed between 1949 and 1956.[1][2]


On 15 November 1946 the Linggadjati Agreement was signed between the Netherlands and the soon-to-be independent Dutch East Indies, which stated that the Dutch colonies would become an independent nation called 'the United States of Indonesia'. A Netherlands-Indonesian Union was established "to promote their common interests." Due to a military dispute, the execution of the agreement did not take place. After the Netherlands had signed a truce with the Republic of Indonesia, the transfer of sovereignty took place on 27 December 1949, and the Netherlands-Indonesia Union was founded.

The Union was abolished when Indonesia left in 1956.[3]


The Netherlands-Indonesia Union would be a Dutch equivalent of the British Commonwealth. The Union would consist of two independent and sovereign partners:

  1. the Kingdom of the Netherlands, consisting of
    1. the Netherlands
    2. Suriname
    3. the Netherlands Antilles
    4. Netherlands New Guinea
  2. the United States of Indonesia (later Republic of Indonesia), comprising seven states.

The status of Netherlands New Guinea should be discussed further. Preliminarily, New Guinea remained under Dutch rule. And, where Suriname and the Antilles would be equal partners (federated states) in the Kingdom, New Guinea would remain a colony. The Head of the Union (Hoofd der Unie) would be Queen Juliana. The collaboration would take place in the following areas:

  • defense
  • foreign relations
  • finance
  • economic relations
  • cultural relations

To accomplish this, various organs would be created. Firstly, a conference of ministers had to be held every six months. Secondly, a permanent secretariat was established in The Hague. Each partner would choose a Secretary-General, who would each year take the leadership of the Secretariat. (From 1950 this was P. J. A. Idenburg for the Netherlands, who would remain such until the arrangement was dissolved in 1956.) Finally, there was a Union-Court of Arbitration set up to judge disputes between the Netherlands and Indonesia.[4]


  1. ^ S. Pompe (26 May 1992). "3.5.3". Indonesian Law 1949-1989: A Bibliography of Foreign-Language Materials With Brief Commentaries on the Law (Van Vollenhoven Institute For Law and Administration in Non-Western Countries ed.). Martinus Nijhoff Publishers. pp. 65–. ISBN 0-7923-1744-0.
  2. ^ Frederik Mari Asbeck (Baron van.) (28 July 1976). SIJTHHOFF (ed.). International Society in Search of a Transnational Legal Order: Selected Writings and Bibliography. BRILL. pp. 286–. ISBN 90-286-0016-7.
  3. ^ Ricklefs, M.C. (2008) [1981], A History of Modern Indonesia Since c. 1200 (4th ed.), Palgrave MacMillan, p. 288, ISBN 978-0-230-54686-8
  4. ^ Kahin, George McTurnan (1961) [1952]. Nationalism and Revolution in Indonesia. Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press. pp. 435–436.


Nijhoffs Geschiedenislexicon Nederland en België, compiled by H.W.J. Volmuller in collaboration with the editors of De Grote Oosthoek, The Hague‑Antwerp 1981.

See also[edit]