Deed of Transfer of Sovereignty to Indonesia

National Archives – Exhibition “Topstukken in Perspectief 2019-2020”


In 2019 The National Archives organized the exhibition Topstukken in Perspectief. This followed the successful TV series on the “Pronkstuk of Nederland” (Showpiece of Holland).

One of the exhibited showpieces was the Deed of Transfer of Sovereignty by the Netherlands to Indonesia. The Marinus Plantema Foundation sponsored this particular part of the exhibition.


The Netherlands are resisting the Declaration of Independence of 17 August 1945, see pictures of pamphlet “Proklamasi” and of the handwritten text.

In the period 1945-1949 the Dutch Government is trying by all means to hold on to its former colony, through military force the Dutch try to restore order. However, after 4 years of battling the Government is forced to recognize the Indonesian State. At international level, a lot of criticism erupted on the actions by the Dutch and its way they hung on to their colony.

The UN Security Council called on The Netherlands to go back to the negotiation table and created the UN Commission for Indonesia. The main purpose was the establishment of some sort of United States of Indonesia and the recognition thereof by the Dutch. In May 1949, the Van Roijen-Roem Accord was signed, amongst others providing for an armistice between the fighting parties. The prominent Indonesian leaders Sukarno and Hatta were released from detention camp and a Round Table Conference was prepared, with the transfer of power as chief objective.

Furthermore, and that was of critical importance, that there would be no interim government under Dutch control.

Photography by Jeroen Zweerts.