This propaganda poster (“Zie de wereld” see the world) keys into the yearning for adventure among many young Dutch people after five years of occupation by the Germans. Many volunteers said afterwards that they had been attracted by the promise of adventure. Some had never even been outside their own city or province and now they would be travelling to the distant East Indies!
The Dutch lion wearing a soldier’s uniform and standing proudly on top of the globe has the coat of arms of the city of Batavia (Jakarta) hanging from its bugle. This coat of arms would also become the emblem of the 7 December Division in which the first group of conscripts served in Indonesia. The name of this division referred to a speech by Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands on 7 December 1942 in which she spoke of the reform of colonial relations after the war, albeit still within a broader imperial union.
‘Zie de wereld’. Recruitment poster for military volunteer forces, c. 1945. Design: Frits van Bemmel. Printer: Van Roessel & Co Amsterdam, for Delamar advertising agency. Dimensions: 87.5 x 111.5 cm. Or. 27.434.