For a new documentary series public broadcaster Omroep MAX in The Netherlands is looking for Dutch and Dutch-Indonesian families who left in the 50s for the USA. We are seeking personal stories, photos and videos of the first generation of Dutch and Dutch-Indonesian emigrants. Why did you leave the Netherlands? What was your life like after you left the Netherlands? What were your moments of bliss and what were your disappointments and difficult moments? Do you still feel homesick? Do you want to go back to the Netherlands or is the US your home now? 

Do you want to share your personal story with us on television, or do you have relatives that left in the 50s we can get in contact with?
Please contact editor and researcher Carmen Fernald at or send me a personal message through Facebook and I will forward the message to Carmen.
Would you prefer to send us a motivation letter? Our postal address is:
Omroep MAX
ref. “Vaarwel Nederland”
PO Box 518
1200 AM Hilversum
The Netherlands
Be aware that by sending a letter or email you automatically agree with the terms and conditions of Omroep MAX that you will grant us your consent that we can collect your personal data for our use only.

Images from webpage:


  1. I’m Albert Lowey-Ball (Lowey), the older brother of Roy Lowey-Ball. Just have a couple of additional comments. Our family actually arrived in the US shortly after Thanksgiving 1951, by boat from Curacao and Venezuela. My first memories in the US were of the Statue of Liberty and seeing the National League playoffs in reruns on TV, capped by Bobby Thompson’s homerun to win it for the Giants. My folks were both born in Indonesia, but had left in the 1920s and 1930s respectively, just in time to go through the German occupation of The Netherlands. The War left our family shattered in both The Netherlands and Indonesia. We lost everything, except the courage and determination of our parents. America for us was the promised land…

    • Hello Albert,
      Unfortunately this article was a notice placed in 2017 which The Indo Project helped promote. For further information or contact regarding this notice
      please contact editor and researcher Carmen Fernald at for further information or send a letter to postal address:
      Omroep MAX
      ref. “Vaarwel Nederland”
      PO Box 518
      1200 AM Hilversum
      The Netherlands

  2. My husband Harold came to the USA at the age of 19. Settled in NY, worked at Kodak Photo Co. in Tarrytown. Because of the severe winters he moved to Hawaii. He worked at Libby’s Pineapple Co. for peanuts, of course, due to the fact of his age. Went through all kinds of jobs to survive. It was not easy to make a living in 1959, especially in Hawaii. There was some discrimination between the Japanese and non Japanese. I came, as an emigrant, in 1962 and married my husband. Our two children were also born in Honolulu and in 1965 we moved to the mainland, California. It was very hard for an immigrant to survive. We did all kinds of odd jobs, filthy jobs just to compensate the wages my husband brought home. But we did survive and later in the years my husband got a fantastic job and I was a part owner of the US Navy shipbuilding machine shop. We repaired the US Fleet and since then we enjoy an amazing life.

  3. My mother, Wilhelmina Tortike, came to the United States earlier in January, 1947. She decided not to return to the Netherlands after liberation from Tjideng, and after recovery in Melbourne, sailed to San Francisco on the converted troop ship Marine Phoenix to marry my Father, an American Major in the Army Air Corp who was part of the liberation. She refused to come as a war bride, waiting instead for entry as an immigrant as she wanted to start a new life in the United States. As a war bride she could have been sent back to the Netherlands if the marriage failed.
    On the MP were other Dutch and Australian women, and each had nicknames depending on the state they were to go live in. They were wed at Washington’s National Cathedral January 28, 1947, and remained so until his death in 2004; she died in 2011. She worked for the Dutch Embassy in DC, her confrontation with her recent past occurring when a Japanese businessman came to the embassy. She was so angry, but very courteous. When he returned, he brought her a silk scarf and bowed to her. She was unsure of what to say but felt a silent communication with him on the events of the 1940s. She became a CPA, the only woman in her class at GW University to attain the designation, and began a successful career that embraced other women struggling for recognition in their chosen professions. I have lots of pictures of the MP and the telegram she sent to my father letting him know of her passage to America. One memory I shared with my mother in the 1990s was crossing under the Golden Gate with her in the 1990s – the first time since she had emigrated I visited Tjideng in 2015 not only to see where she lived from age 17-21, but also to see where my parents met and strangely enough, fell in love. They vividly remembered seeing each other for the first time and told exactly the same story when recounting the story. I remember thinking how strange that a great love would bloom between two strangers in such a terrible place. I miss them both very much.

  4. Born in Singapore of Dutch parents (one Indo, one Totok), 1933, moved to Batavia 1937 and lived through Japanese WWII in women’s camps and boys camp. repatriated to the Netherlands 1946. Served in the Royal Navy, saw service in New Guinea. Emigrated to California 1957. Retired actuary 1995 in Dana Point CA.
    Short story of my life. I am open to share my story with you, just ask if it sounds interesting enough.

  5. My mom and dad left Holland in 1958 for California. Before the Netherlands they lived in the Dutch East Indies.

  6. I know many Indos who would love to be part of this documentary and let the world including Dutch Government know not to wait too long paying out the $$$$ to those who deserve it. Food for thought for the producer of MAX’ documentary !!!!!

  7. NOTE: I corrected some spelling errors.

    My family left the Netherlands in 1948 for Curaçao where my father had a job with the Royal Dutch Shell refinery. We stayed there until 1952 when we left for New York on a Grace Line cruise ship. We sailed past the Statue of Liberty and enrolled with US Immigration there. There were seven of us: my parents and their five boys.

    Papa bought a “Henry J” (Kaiser) car in New York and we drove from there to Houston, a pretty long drive.

    Papa went to work (he was a Delft’s engineering graduate) for the Celanese Corporation. He trained in Houston for six months, but Mama and the boys lived in Kerrville, Texas because we had Dutch friends who lived there. I/we learned English in Kerrville, although my parents both spoke excellent English already. Kerrville is a German community in the Texas Hill Country,

    When Papa was done with his training in Houston, Celanese sent the whole family to Edmonton, Alberta, Canada to work at another chemical plant, Canadian Chemicals, a subsidiary of the Celanese Corp. During winter evenings we often sat on the steps of the back porch to watch the aurora borealis. In Canada, Papa would flood Mama’s vegetable garden in the backyard where we had a skating rink, so in Canada all the boys became skaters and three of us joined local hockey teams.

    There were many Dutch families in Edmonton and we got to know many of them.

    After five years, we returned to Houston where we settled for another ten years. The three oldest boys all attended secondary schools and Rice University in Houston. Alfred and Albert are twins. Alfred became a mechanical engineer; Albert became an economist and attended Georgetown University for graduate school. Alfred went to the Wharton School of Business in Philadelphia for graduate school. Roy (me) became an architect. Rudolf went to Antioch University in Ohio, and Charles (the youngest) graduated from the University of Wisconsin in communications.

    In 1964, my parents moved to Bombay, India, where Papa was director of a Union Carbide plant for five years. We visited them there every year. My youngest brother, Charles, attended and graduated from the American School in New Delhi before turning to the States to attend the University of Wisconsin.

    I went into the Peace Corps in 1968 in Tunisia (after training in Estes Park, Colorado) for two years. After that I returned to Houston for a year before moving to San Antonio, Texas, where I have lived since 1972 and where I became a partner in a large (for San Antonio) architectural firm. We designed entire universities, thousands of high-end residences and many other buildings. I am now retired.

    Brother Rudolf (Dolf) escaped to Canada during the Vietnam War. He now lives in Florida where he is retired as a computer programmer. The youngest, Charles, is semi-retired and lives in San Francisco. Albert – one of the twins – is a health economist living in Sacramento, California. His twin, Alfred, had a loving career in Europe with Phillips Petroleum (from Enid, Oklahoma). He is semi-retired and lives with his family outside of Brussels, Belgium. He married a Belgian woman (Magda) and has two children.

    My wife and I have two children, both girls, and both married, one in Houston and the other in San Antonio.

    We have all been back to Holland a number of times but no one in my family dreams of returning there to live permanently, although brother Alfred is right next door. He speaks fluent Dutch and the rest of us speak rudimentary Dutch but can read it better than speak it.

    Holland is a wonderful country but way too small for my taste. Too crowded.

    Here’s something that you might find interesting: we have a second home here in Holland, Michigan, where the population is mostly Dutch! We drive here (1250 miles from San Antonio) every summer because it is so much cooler here than in Texas.

    Another curious fact: my wife is from Kentucky originally. She is 1/8th Cherokee. I was born in Delft, Holland but am 50% Indonesian, so when Rudyard Kipling said, “The east is east and the west is west and never the twain shall meet”, he was wrong because my wife is partly an American Indian.

  8. My name is Herbert de Rochemont, we came to America in 1960. My dad thought it would be a better opportunity for his seven kids in the U.S. We came on the s.s. America,came into New York on October 31 1960.

  9. Uit Nederland vertrokken in 1960. Ik was toen 17 j. oud en verliet mijn hele familie om een beter leven te vinden id USA. Inderdaad is mijn wens volledig waarheid geworden en heb ik geen ogenblik spijt gehad van mijn van mijn besluit!

  10. Mijn familie woont al vanaf 1964 in de Verenigde Staten. Mijn ouders, Richard & Henriette Manuputy zijn in Indonesie geboren en hebben de Japanse oorlog overleefd. Mijn grootvader, Joseph Manuputy en mijn tante Dora Veerman zijn in de kampen in Indonesie overleden. Mijn ouders kwamen in 1964 & 47 in Nederland aan en zijn later naar Amerika geemigreerd. We hebben in 1965 met mijn oom en tante (zuster van mijn moeder) twee aan elkaar staande huizen gekocht. Mijn familie (3 kinderen) en oom en tante’s familie ook met 3 kinderen zijn met elkaar in onze tiener jaren op gegroeid. Moeders en vaders werkten en Oma deed het huishouden voor twee families. Zo hebben wij het gered in ons nieuwe geadopteerde land. We zijn allemaal goed terecht gekomen!

    My family has lived in the United States since 1964. My parents, Richard & amp; Henriette Manuputy was born in Indonesia and survived the Japanese war. My grandfather, Joseph Manuputy and my aunt Dora Veerman died in the camps in Indonesia. My parents arrived in 1964 & amp; 47 in the Netherlands and later emigrated to America. We bought two united houses with my uncle and aunt (sister of my mother) in 1965. My family (3 children) and uncle and aunt’s family also with 3 children grew up together in our teen years. Mothers and fathers worked, and Grandma did the household for two families. That’s how we made it in our newly adopted country. We all got well!

  11. My parents, brother and two sisters left Nederland in April, 1960. Let me know the next step in telling you our story.

  12. My family (The Fornerods) came to America in 1957. March 15th to be exact. We came on the groote beer. My father, mother, my sister and brother. I was 6 at the time and it took 9 days. I have been researching this. I have passenger list. I would Love to be a part of this documentary.

  13. I was 19 yrs old when my parents emigrated to the USA. I accompanied them at the request of my father who had heard that it is easier to get settled when all family members work & pool their money to pay for rent & food. I felt that my help was needed and I said I would come for two years and then return to Amsterdam.

    Life is fickle and I fell in love & married instead, but I always am homesick for Amsterdam even though I was born in Indonesia and spent the first 12 yrs of my life in my birth country. I would love to live in Amsterdam, but I have children and grandchildren in the US who I do not want to miss.

  14. I wanna go back to Indonesia, my heart broke in 1955, when i had to leave at age 7. Left Holland in 1959, I am a planetary citizen and I belong on the whole earth. Gaia is my mother, the Great Spirit is my father, and I thank everyone for always being there to keep me alive. English is a much easier way to express yourself because there are so many words.

  15. We left Den Haag in 1956. It was my father’s dream to move to the USA. Papa, my Grandfather and my Oom Fred were all POW’s. Papa worked on the Burma Railroad, my grandfather was killed on The Junyo Maru and Oom Fred was thrown by the Japanese on my grandmothers porch after they nearly starved him to death as a POW in Indonesia.
    I was five years old when we immigrated. We came on the ship The Skaubryn. I found the passenger list and a photo of us standing on the ship in their website.
    Life was difficult for my parents and the promises and jobs were not here when we arrived. Our story was published in the Grand Rapids Press when we arrived and I found the article when my Oom Fred died four years ago.
    I missed my grandfather very much. My grandfather was Hubert Bekman who is a famous Dutch Artist with paintings in several galleries and museums in The Netherlands. I never felt like I belonged. We missed out on family, holidays and growing up with Aunts, Uncles and cousins. If we had to do it all over again I’m not sure my parents would do it again.

  16. My parents fled Indonesia for Holland and eventually settled and married in America. They have 4 children between them, 2 step-children from my dads previous wife who was German (a story in itself as they were taken by the Dutch government and put up for adoption. Years later they reconnected with their step-dad(my dad) and are considered family by all of us here). My parents have 11 grandchildren and 18 great grandchildren who all live in the USA.

  17. Yes, we would like to share our stories with you. Will it be in English so that our children will understand it?

  18. Sad I can’t ask my Dad anymore …he passed away in 2011. EMIGRATED in the late 50’s with his 2nd wife to California. Never regretted that big step. Still have 2 aunts (his sisters) and my 3 nephews and 2 nieces and my (half)sister living there with their families and kids. I always wanted to go live with him but that was impossible.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Post comment