Louis Couperus was one of the few Dutch writers to become fairly widely known outside Holland. His great novel ‘The Hidden Force’, (‘De Stille Kracht’), which is set in the Dutch East Indies, has been translated into English and is available from Pushkin Press.
The description on the inside jacket reads:
“A mystical Javanese prince and a promiscuous wife are the twin challenges to Dutch Commissioner Van Oudijck’s seemingly impregnable authority. As he struggles to maintain control of his district and his family, ancient local traditions reassert their influence, and colonial power begins to disintegrate.”

The picture on the right wordlessly captures something of the strange and alien relations between East and West: the Soesoehoenan of Soerakarta Pakoe Boewono X stands arm in arm with Commissioner De Vogel, who is lording it over his people and land. Couperus in his novel has one of his characters say that the Soesoehoenan is like a living ‘Wajang-doll’

(This article was first published November 20th, 2012).

This is the first of a series of new movies and tv-series we will be introducing. The films and documentaries are now available to the English speakers with added English subtitles provided by TIP friend Ben von Stockhausen. The theme is around people with roots in or a connection with the former Dutch East Indies.

Watch the original TV- series on YouTube

De Stille Kracht, Dutch for Hidden Force the TV-series now available in YouTube with English subtitles. With compliments by Ben von Stockhausen.

The Hidden Force (de Stille Kracht)  is a 1900 novel by the Dutch writer Louis Couperus. The narrative is set on the island of Java in the Dutch East Indies. The book was adapted into a 1974 Dutch TV serial. In 2010, a feature-film adaptation was announced as under development with Paul Verhoeven as director.


  • For people on PC: Place your cursor in the image and click on CC on the bottom.
  • For mobile phone users: Click on the 3 dots on top right. Select CC and Dutch/Netherlands.
Copyright Het Geheugen, Wikimedia: actress Caro van Eyck, Willem Nijholt, Pleuni Touw

Part 1:  1974 AVRO TV play of the novel by Louis Couperus (1900) of the Dutch colonial society in the former Dutch East Indies featuring Bob de Lange and Pleuni Touw, now in her 80ties. Also playing in a roll the famous Javanese story teller and dancer Indra Kamadjojo.

Part 2

Part 3


  1. Just wanted everyone who is interested to know that this publication is available from Amazon.com. It is a wonderful read and gives you insight into colonial times.

  2. Just want to do some name dropping here. I am related to this famous author on my father’s side. His full name is Louis Marie Ann Couperus (1863-1923.). He was of my great-grandparents’ generation. We are 2nd cousins 3 times removed (thanks Ancestry, for clarifying that!)

    • There’s nothing wrong with name dropping, Hanneke. What a great link to your past. How did you find out…through Ancestry? Or did Ancestry confirm it via their genealogy research? Love to know more.

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