Dutch King apologizes for colonial past in Indonesia

King Willem-Alexander, 2020
King Willem-Alexander, 2020RVD - Martijn BeekmanKoninklijk Huis

While on a State visit to Indinesia, Dutch King Willem-Alexander made surprise apologies for excessive violence used during the Netherlands' colonial past in the country. 

"The past cannot be erased and will have to be acknowledged by each generation in turn. In the years immediately after the Proklamasi, a painful separation followed that cost many lives," the Dutch King said at a press conference in Indonesia.

"In line with earlier statements by my government I would like to express and repeat regrets and apologies for the excessive violence on the part of the Dutch in those years. I do so in the full realization that the pain and sorrow of the families affected continue to be felt today."

"It is hopeful and encouraging that countries that once stood against each other, could grow together and develop a new relationship based on respect, trust and friendship," Willem-Alexander continued.

The apologies came as a surprise. Royal House reporter Sander Paulus said earlier this week that such apologies were unlikely. "The King can only do that if the entire government agrees, and that is simply not the case. Moreover, the Indonesian government never asked for apologies," he said to RTL Nieuws.