In the first half of 1951, 4,000 Moluccan soldiers and their families arrived in the Netherlands. They were mostly KNIL soldiers and navy personnel. Upon arrival in the Netherlands, a grave disappointment awaited the KNIL soldiers: they were fired from military service. Protests and a lawsuit against the state ultimately brought no results.
As the situation was expected to be temporary, the 12,500 Moluccans were housed in separate camps. Convents, mansions, labour camps and German camps like Westerbork (Schattenberg) and Vught (Lunetten) were used as 'Ambonese camps'. From the second half of 1952 onwards, the Dutch government put in place the Commissariaat Ambonezenzorg (Commissionership for Ambonese Affairs, CAZ) to deal with the Moluccan immigrant population. The CAZ arranged everything, from food to the choice of school.