"A lot has been written about violence and atrocities, but not so much on corruption and smuggling by local and Dutch military staff of which Dutch authorities were aware. In 2014 I wrote about a remarkable report I found in the Dutch archives about the investigation of a police detective Sjoerd Kuikenga in Bali, who was sent by Batavia to research corruption accusations."
"...How does a paradise island become the scene of bloodshed and terror? I am working on a book that looks into the Indonesian revolution on Bali 1945-1950. During my visits to Bali I discovered many interesting stories that can be connected to the experiences of former soldiers, civil servants or missionaries in The Netherlands and to the Dutch archive and literature. I link up the small story of the man on the ground with that of the broader political perspective…"
"While reading the many letters that Siebe Lijftogt, civil servant on Bali, wrote back home, I got very much inspired by this former freedom fighter during the occupation of The Netherlands by Nazi Germany. This man seemed to have had the kind of moral superiority that is very rare. He was someone who strongly believed in the power of the individual to change things. He had the ability to see things exactly as they were, in contrast to his environment, which caused him to become isolated. By conversations with his children and archival research I tried to fill in the gaps of his experiences to give an insight in the role of Dutch civil servants in the Indonesian independence war."
"...In 2013, I received a call from researcher/activist Max van der Werff, who just had visited former war volunteer Charles Destree in Paris. Destree, who was part of the Dutch resistance during WOII, volunteered to join the military in the Dutch Indies. As a war painter he made beautiful paintings of Bali, but his photo album showed a different picture. It were these photos of killed Indonesians that triggered me to want to know more about our common history..."