On April 19, 1600, the Dutch merchant ship “de Liefde” arrived in Japan, and the sailors set up a trading post. When half a century later, Japan decided to close itself off from the rest of the world, the Dutch trading port remained the only window to the West. This created a very special bond, which has been a very good one, except for a brief period during the Second World War, when the Japanese military interned Dutch civilians in camps in Indonesia.
Now, 50 years later, reconciliation activities have subdued the pain of war somewhat. It’s become possible to celebrate our shared history without forgetting the war atrocities.
Producer: Liesbeth de Bakker
Broadcast: November 16, 2000