The Netherlands has publicly apologized for mass killings carried out by Dutch troops in its former colony of Indonesia.
Dutch ambassador to Indonesia Tjeerd de Zwaan offered a state apology during a ceremony held at the Netherlands's embassy in Jakarta on Thursday for the "excesses committed by Dutch forces" in the 1940s war of independence. Several relatives of the victims also attended the ceremony. Dutch troops carried out thousands of summary executions between 1945 and 1949 in Indonesia. The Netherlands had previously apologized to the people of Indonesia for the colonial-era atrocities, but it had never before offered a public apology for all the summary executions. "On behalf of the Dutch government, I apologize for these excesses," said the Dutch ambassador. "The Dutch government hopes that this apology will help close a difficult chapter for those whose lives were impacted so directly by the violent excesses that took place between 1945 and 1949," he added. No Dutch officials or soldiers went on trial over the executions. Indonesia was under the Dutch occupation from the 19th century until World War II, when the Japanese army forced the Netherlands out. After the defeat of Japan in 1945, the Dutch attempted to recapture Indonesia, but met fierce resistance from the people of the sprawling archipelago. Finally, the Dutch recognized Indonesia's independence in 1949.