Dutch Ethical Policy  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

The Dutch Ethical Policy (Ethische Politiek) was the official policy of colonial government of Indonesia during the four decades from 1901 until the Japanese occupation of 1942. In 1901, the Dutch Queen Wilhelmina announced that the Netherlands accepted an ethical responsibility for the welfare of their colonial subjects. This announcement was a sharp contrast with the former official doctrine that Indonesia was a wingewest (region for making profit). It also marked the start of modern development policy; whereas other colonial powers talked of a civilising mission, which mainly involved spreading their culture to colonised peoples.

The Dutch Ethical Policy emphasised improvement in material living conditions. The policy suffered, however, from serious underfunding, inflated expectations and lack of acceptance in the Dutch colonial establishment, and it had largely ceased to exist by the onset of the Great Depression in 1930.

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