ArrowArtboardCreated with Sketch.Title ChevronTitle ChevronIcon FacebookIcon LinkedinIcon Mail ContactPath LayerIcon MailPositive ArrowIcon Print

Dutch king's visit to Indonesia shows why apologies matter

Royal words should trigger wider review of imperial and post-colonial violence

| Indonesia
King Willem-Alexander walks with Joko Widodo during the welcoming ceremony at the presidential palace in Bogor on Mar. 10: other former colonial powers should follow the Dutch King's example.   © Pool Photo/AP

A recent visit by the King and Queen of the Netherlands to Indonesia was the first by Dutch royals in a quarter of a century. More significant, however, was King Willem-Alexander's direct and unreserved apology for the violent excesses of his country's four-year struggle to reimpose colonial rule in the former Dutch East Indies after the Second World War.

His comments will stimulate renewed efforts to seek accountability for historical atrocities in other former colonies of European and Asian powers. But they should also prompt soul-searching in Indonesia and fellow post-colonial nations about human rights abuses since independence, for which their governments have proved as reluctant to apologize as their imperial predecessors.

Sponsored Content

About Sponsored Content This content was commissioned by Nikkei's Global Business Bureau.

Nikkei Asian Review, now known as Nikkei Asia, will be the voice of the Asian Century.

Celebrate our next chapter
Free access for everyone - Sep. 30

Find out more