It is more than fifty years ago that Sukarno and Hatta, the Indonesian leaders at that time, proclaimed the Republic of Indonesia. Their declaration was followed by an exhausting political and military struggle that went on for four years. Only under great international pressure did the Netherlands transfer sovereignty on 27 December 1949.
In January and February 1947, the photographers and friends Cas Oorthuys and Charles Breijer both travelled to Indonesia independently and captured various stages of the decolonisation process. Oorthuys returned to the Netherlands by the end of March, while Breijer stayed on until 1953, the last three years as a filmmaker for the Indonesian Ministry of Information. Lex de Herder was sent to Indonesia as a conscript at the beginning of 1949, where he worked first as a radio announcer and later as a photographer. The collection contains more than 4500 photographs and album pages by these photographers.