Mayors call on new cabinet to recognize the suffering of Moluccans

Mayors of eleven municipalities with a Moluccan community are calling on the new cabinet to recognize the suffering caused to the Moluccans after they were brought to the Netherlands seventy years ago. The mayors also believe that more should be invested in the Moluccan community.

The mayor of Woerden, Victor Molkenboer, is one of the mayor fathers who support the call. Ten years ago, as mayor of the then municipality of Leerdam, he was one of the initiators behind a call to officially apologize to the Moluccan community. “This time we have opted for a different approach and we ask to acknowledge the suffering of the Moluccans. We do so in a letter that Monday in de Volkskrant appears.”

On Sunday it will be seventy years ago that Moluccans, or KNIL Ambonese, were brought to the Netherlands. It would be a temporary stay. The first ship arrived in Rotterdam on 21 March 1951.

The mayors point out that these were not refugees, asylum seekers or migrants, but loyal soldiers who had served in the Dutch army. They came to the Netherlands with their families.

Not a quick return

“The military had not only served, but also fought on behalf of our queen. Nevertheless, this group of people was not received with all respect,” write the mayors.

The Ambonese were tucked away in camps that had recently been used by the German occupier. The fighters for the Dutch interests were even dismissed from the army. And there was no question of a quick return at all. These scars can still be felt in the Moluccan community to this day. ”

Invest more in the Moluccan community

The mayors argue that it would decorate the new cabinet if it were recognized to society that the manner of reception and reception in the Netherlands was unworthy. They also believe that more investments should be made from the cabinet in the Moluccan community.

“As far as we are concerned, this concerns strengthening the Moluccan identity / culture and history, but also strengthening and support in the socio-economic field.”

The letter is signed by the mayors of Vijfheerenlanden, Woerden, Assen, Breda, Culemborg, Epe, Helmond, Huizen, Krimpen aan den IJssel, Vught and Zuidplas.
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