Dutch East Indies

In 1912, the Royal Tropical Institute (KIT) sent J.C. Lamster to the Dutch East Indies to shoot some short films. As a former captain for the KNIL (the Dutch colonial army), Lamster was familiar with the Dutch East Indies.

The films made by J.C. Lamster ​​were shown during informational evenings held by the KIT and were meant to recruit people to work in the East Indies on the further development of the colony. In recent decades, the films of the KIT have gradually been transferred to our collection.

In the 1920s, several Dutch film producers sent a camera crew to the Dutch East Indies. In particular, the Nederlandsch-Indische Film Maatschappij (affiliated with Polygoon), and Willy Mullens of Haghefilm went on major film expeditions. They produced long documentaries as well as corporate films for the government and businesses. Later, independent filmmakers followed, such as H.F. Tillema and smaller companies such as the Hispano Filmfabriek of Henk Alsem.

Still from Onze Oost (compilation, 1919)
Still from Onze Oost (compilation, 1919)
Still from Padi-cultuur in Indië (Willy Mullens, 1927)
Still from Padi-cultuur in Indië (Willy Mullens, 1927)

In addition to these films, our collection also has two sub-collections about the Dutch East Indies. One of these consists of amateur footage made by individuals who documented their daily life in the Dutch East on film, and the other consists of missionary films that were made for churches. This latter group of films was intended to show the religious community in the Netherlands all of the good works that were being carried out in the tropics, with the aim of persuading the viewers to support these projects financially.

Dutch East Indies in our filmdatabase

In our online database, you will find information about various films from the Dutch East Indies. Some can be viewed directly online.

To the database