Special call to emigrants from the former Dutch-Indies who departed to the US under provisions of the Pastore-Walter Act (1958-1962)

In May 2013,  “Opgevangen in andijvielucht,” the new book by journalist Griselda Molemans, will be published on the reception of approximately 350,000 refugees from the former Dutch East Indies in The Netherlands.  Due to lack of housing, the Dutch governement had arranged for them to temporarily live in  “contractpensions”  (contract boarding houses) next to additional facilities such as barrack camps, monasteries and former hospitals.  The book has been commissioned by the National Archives in The Hague and will be published by Balans Publishers.

Rounding off three years of research, Molemans is in search of Dutch-Indonesian and Moluccan emigrants, who emigrated to the US with outstanding governmental debts, resulting of their stay during their contract boarding house period . The collecting department was the ‘Dienst Maatschappelijke Zorg’ (Social Services Department) in The Hague.

The title of the book is ‘Welcomed with endive smell’, as the relatively cheap vegetable endive was usually served in the contract boarding houses, which were run by Dutch entrepreneurs who had signed a contract with the Dutch government to offer housing and care to refugees.  A contract boarding house was run with a profit aim, so the more an owner saved on the food and energy bill, the more profit he earned.

Should you be interested to be interviewed on this subject or know of someone who is willing to, please send an e-mail message to info@houseofreporting.tv.

This is a fragment from “Opgevangen in andijvielucht”

Many Dutch-Indonesian emigrants, after departure from the Netherlands, were still targets to the Dutch government: they had remaining debts to be paid as the result of financial advances provided for their clothing and furniture, in addition to the costs for food and lodging in contract boarding houses .  The execution of the second term of the Pastore-Walter Act (1960-62) was even jeopardized because Minister Klompé of the Social Services Department ordered the Dutch consuls in the various American states to keep collecting these debts.

According to a governmental accounting, covering the period 1956 to 1961, inclusive of those emigrants who emigrated under the Refugee Relief Act of 1953, there were 1.099 heads of households who had emigrated to America, with a total debt burden of  2.601.387 guilders ( $ 1,531.172,28).  Of this amount, 34.572 guilders had been paid off with 54.545 guilders settled by other means. Consequently, at least  2.5 million guilders remained as a collective debt to the Dutch government. On average, the debt load per head of household was f 2.285.  Although the overseas collectable debt, after protest by the American authorities, was temporary halted in October 1960, Minister Klompé nevertheless resumed the action in the fall of 1961.


  1. Nearly 28,000 Indo’s landed in California. Even though I am a Totok I benefitted from the Pastore – Walter Act. (My wife is an Indo born in Bandung.) I can say that nearly 100 percent of the immigrants have successfully restarted their lives. There were a couple, I knew, in the 70th who returned to Nederland of whom most again returned to the USA. I did have a chance to speak to the son of Pastore who, including his family, and the former secretary of Pastore Sr. were not aware of the act. An act that restarted those displaced from their country of birth who preferred to leave Nederland to start a new life again in the United States of America.

  2. I just came across this site and I am one of those children that lived in a contract pension in Hilversum. It was a large house owned by a Meneer Zwart (Mr. Black). I was 9 years old when we literally fled from Indonesia to Holland under bad circumstances in 1957. We lived 6 months in that contract pension and as a child, I loved it. There were 3 floors in the house and many children to play with. The attic floor was occupied by an Indo family with 11 children. The 1st and 2nd floor opened into a large foyer from which a number of 2 room bedrooms came off of. Each family had a 2 room bedroom. Us 4 kids slept in one room and my parents sleep on a pull down bed in the living area. Breakfast was served daily from the common large kitchen (cream of wheat or oatmeal) and dinner was served in stackable containers brought to each family. For lunch we were on our own. There was so much to do and there were so many kids to play with; I was never bored. Our family emigrated in December of 1959 to California under the Pastore Walter Act and lived in a motel for 2 weeks until my father found work and a house to live in. We were sponsored by Dutch family that we had known in Indonesia (they were already living in the US). We ended up sponsoring a number of friends to the US, opening our home for weeks and months to these families.For us kids, it was always a fun time.

  3. I was only a child, but I remember it well. We were a family of five, so we had the one room on the second floor and a small closet room in the attic. That attic had no heating, whatsoever, and we arrived in February. The Indo family in the bigger room next to us (also five) had two younger sons who were fairly dark in color (that is why my mother thought they were discriminated against even more) and they had a teenage sister. Those kids were with their grandparents. I do not know what had happened to their parents. My brother and I played with the two boys in the back yard often and the Hollandse neighbor kids from next door were back there sometimes too. Those neighbor kids were pretty commanding and unfair many times, bossing the older Indo neighbor boy and my brother around. Then the Indo boy (I forgot his name) had had enough one day and stood up to the Dutch kid. Well, a skirmish broke out and the host lady came out and smacked the Indo kid, without asking anything. She just came marching out with a flair, and an air, I guess I should say. Those grandparents hardly spoke Dutch and they were scared to make waves but, my mother, well, let’s say “ze was niet op haar mondje gevallen”, she marched downstairs, with me in tow because, well, I was miss “tell all”. So, should the host lady want to alter her story a wee bit, I was there to correct her. And I did. My mom, when she got real upset, she always waved that pointer finger at you while she was giving you the “what for”, and that is what she was doing to that woman. The message was, “Don’t ever touch any of these kids again!”. Geez, and I wonder why I am the way I am 🙂 Wow, I haven’t even thought of this story for ever. I was just looking up the Postore-Walter Act as I was getting ready to write my area Congressman, and I ran across this story. Anyone know if we can pre-order this book? Let the dirty wash be hung, I guess. It is high time. There is a lot of it. Both on the Dutch side as well as the US. Selling us out with that neat little San Francisco Treaty Act and being party to suppressing our real history, so that we are forever having to explain ourselves. A very good American book to read is “Unjust Enrichment”.

  4. I already gave my story and the one of my wife and the experiences we had in the “contractpensions” to Griselda.
    I can not wait for the outcome of her book.
    I have the feeilng that Griselda book is a must read for al the Amerindos and Dutch Indos.

  5. My family and I where some of the last to emigrate to the US thanks to the Pastore-Walter act in August 1962, sailing on the Waterman to Hoboken. We came to the Netherlands in 1953. As far as I know, we never lived in Government housing. Although if I remember correctly, there was a sort of camp of metal buildings in Roermond, where I attended school, where Molukan families lived.

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