“En nu Indië!” (And now the Indies!) was probably what many Dutch people thought after the Netherlands had been liberated from the occupying Nazi forces. In autumn 1944, a propaganda effort started in the southern Netherlands after that part of the country was freed to recruit volunteer soldiers to fight against Japan. This poster for the United East Indies Volunteers (Verenigde Indië Vrijwilligers) states that the time has now come to free the East Indies. The typographical design emphasizes the goal by making the words “En nu” (and now) and “Indië” (the Indies) jump out. The word “rijksgenoten” (literally ‘fellow members of the empire’) is an interesting choice. It suggests a bond between the people of the Netherlands and the inhabitants of the colony and implies that the liberation of these fellow imperial citizens is a patriotic duty. In the initial phase in 1945, the Dutch government focused mainly on finding voluntary recruits; around 30,000 young men responded to the call for soldiers. Later, long after the Japanese had been driven out, a further 100,000 conscripts were sent to Indonesia.
‘En nu Indië’. Recruitment poster for the Verenigde Indië Vrijwilligers, c. 1945. Printer: Met & Meylink Haarlem. Or. 27.011-12.