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After seven years of research, on 
Thursday November 25th 
 De strijd om Bali (The struggle for Bali) was launched:

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A staggering, disturbing and innovative 

decolonisation history


Indonesia's independence is irreversible, the Republic of Indonesia is a fact. In 1946 the Netherlands occupied Bali, from where it establishes the state of East Indonesia. This state must become a model of democracy, but the authorities immediately enforce the loyalty of the people in a ruthless way.


The struggle for Bali is a history of the unprecedented fierce guerrilla struggle that flared up on the island, just shortly after the World War II. A shocking story about oppression, resistance, friendship and betrayal inextricably linked to the imperial past, but also with the core of the Dutch decolonization policy.

Based on more than 120 interviews in Bali and in the Netherlands, extensive archive research,

letters and memoirs, Anne-Lot Hoek penetrates the capillaries of the colonial system.

She presents a layered and innovative image of a cruel struggle for independence.



'Potentially the most important history book of this year'

NRC Handelsblad (These are the best books of 2021)


‘A magnificent new research into the struggle of the local population in Bali against the colonial policy of the Netherlands. An important contribution to the scientific and public debate about colonial politics in Indonesia' 

Jury Libris History Prize 2022

‘This book is the result of an impressive and very important research and is also very well written' 

Reggy Baay (Daar werd wat gruwelijks verricht, Het kind met de Japanse ogen)

‘Anne-Lot Hoek is one of those rare historians who conducts in-depth research and knows how to combine oral history with great readability. What an achievement, this study about Bali! What a panache!’ 
David Van Reybrouck (Revolusi and Congo. A History)

*** Winner Libris Historyprize 2010, AKO Literature Price 2010 and the Prix Médicis 2012 ***

‘Anne-Lot has recorded a turbulent history and has really brought out the bottom stone. The more intrusive is the end result and the more important that we look at this decolonization history in all its shades.

And luckily Anne-Lot does write in such a way that you don't have to put effort in reading

because she grabs you and doesn't let go' 

Mariska Kortie (De Bezige Bij)

‘Great research by Anne-Lot Hoek into systematic government violence in Bali' 

Roxane van Iperen

*** #2 New York Times Bestseller - (The Sisters of Auschwitz) ***

‘Anne-Lot Hoek is not lacking in talent. She turns out to be a thorough researcher, writes compellingly and manages to summarize the enormous amount of information she has collected into one readable whole. Anne-Lot Hoek's intention is good. She does not only point to the Dutch villains and does not dismiss Dutch violence as the logical response to Indonesian terrorism. No, she gives a nuanced picture of a sad period in Bali.

Herman Keppy (Indies Tijdschrift)

‘Her book is not only staggering, but also exciting and stimulating. It never gets boring. This is partly due to the many mysterious, colourful, heartwarming or, on the contrary, repulsive people who pass in review. Thorough and innovative research. Straightforward, uninhibited and fearless. Well written' 

Willem Bouwman (Nederlands Dagblad)

So thorough that Anne-Lot Hoek immediately joins Remy Limpach, Piet Hagen,

Martin Bossenbroek, David van Reybrouck'

Peter van Riel (Pelita Nieuws)

‘Can a white Dutch person really write about the Indonesian War of Independence? In the Groene Amsterdammer of 17 April 2019, historian and journalist Anne-Lot Hoek criticized the program management of the research project of KITLV, NIOD and NIMH, who wanted the public book on this subject written by Gert Oostindie. According to Hoek, an Indonesian had to be sought as a co-author, because of the polyphony. With her own dissertation, however, she provides proof that even a blond Dutch woman is perfectly capable of looking critically at the colonial past. The struggle for Bali is even a very good book''

Bas Kromhout (Historisch Nieuwsblad)

'This book contains many new insights and is very well written.

Anne-Lot is the first historian to interview so many people on the spot and to do years of archival research. Our image of this period will never be the same again'

Van der Meer (Libris)

'And these are just two of the 120 testimonials from Anne-Lot Hoek's widely acclaimed and very readable The Struggle for Bali. In 2013, she promised veteran Charles Destree (1926-2019) to get to the bottom of the story behind photos of dead Balinese in his photo album.

She did and we should all be grateful for that.' 

Marjolein van Asdonck (Moesson - Het Indisch Maandblad)

'This was inevitable: Anne-Lot Hoek with The struggle for Bali. Guys, this is a really good book for two reasons: it's very well researched, she's seen tons of archives. This time she spoke mainly to veterans from the Indonesian side. Third, it is very well written' 

Wim Berkelaar (NPO1 / VPRO / OVT) chose The struggle for Bali the:



‘The struggle for Bali is more than a summary of violence. Hoek also tells a bigger story about the decolonization of the entire Dutch East Indies. Hoek managed to wrest a lot of information from oblivion. In doing so, she really adds something to our knowledge of a recent past that has still not penetrated our collective memory....with her rich source material she gives her main characters a lot of impressive book’ 

Jeroen van der Kris (NRC Handelsblad)



Note: Currently De strijd om Bali is only available in Dutch but it will be translated into Indonesian,

potentially other languages to follow

Anne-Lot Hoek is historian and journalist. She writes for NRC Handelsblad, De Groene Amsterdammer, Vrij Nederland en De Lage Landen. For her work on Indonesia as a PhD student she was awarded the ASH Valorisation Award 2020 by the Universiteit van Amsterdam. De strijd om Bali (The struggle for Bali) is her debut.

Binded | 544 pag. | €39,99 | ISBN: 978 94 031 5231 8 | Cover design: Studio Jan de Boer |

Author picture: Keke Keukelaar | Also available as eBook

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Picture above: Anne-Lot Hoek in 2016.

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Book Launch De Strijd om Bali


In this program (in Dutch) journalist Harm Ede Botje interviews Anne-Lot Hoek, after which others will join: Wolter Gerungan, son of a Menadonese freedom fighter, Willem Gerungan and Ida Lijftogt, daughter of former WW-II resistance member and administrative officer on Bali Siebe Lijftogt. Ni Made Frischa Aswarini and Ni Ketut Sudiani participatie via video conference.

About the speakers

Wolter Gerungan is the son of a Menadonese freedom fighter Willem Gerungan. In 1945, Gerungan was a medicine student in Jakarta and was sent to Bali by Sukarno to proclaim the message of the Revolution.

Ida Lijftogt is de daughter of former WW-II resistance member and administratie officer Siebe Lijftogt. Lijftogt on of thew few Dutch people on Bali that upheld te values of the resistance during World War II and translate them into the values of the liberation struggle in Indonesia.

Ni Ketut Sudiani is a Balinese author and journalist. Beside her book, she made a documentary that is selected for the Creative Producing Lab Program by the internationaal forum Docs by the Sea. She participated, among other things, in the Indonesian-Canada Youth Exchange Program and the Indonesia-Australian Emerging Writers Exchange Program.

Ni Made Frischa Aswarini is a Balinese poet and historian. Her first poetry collection, Tanda Bagi Tanya was nominated for the Khatulistiwa Literary Award. She was also, among ottert things, the Indonesian representative for the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative in Yogyakarta in 2017 en received the Fulbright scholarship by the Universiteit of Wisconsin in de United States where she studies at the monent.

Harm Ede Botje (moderator) is journalist and reporter with, and published for Vrij Nederland in the past. Together with Micha Cohen they published‘Mijn meningen zijn feiten, de wording van Thierry Baudet’, which was nominated for the best political book of 2020.


Christiaan Franken is the son of mission chaplain Henk Franken, who was an important confidant of the Balinese resistance. At the end of the book launch of De Strijd om Bali(see video), Christiaan - suddenly presented a huge golden ring with gemstone and gave it to Anne-Lot Hoek because, according to him, with her book she had done justice to the history of the people of Bali and the three fathers (red Henk Franken, Siebe Lijftogt and Willem Gerungan). Decades ago, the Raja of Buleleng (in the North of Bali), Anak Agung Nyoman Pandji Tisna, gave the ring to Henk Franken as a token of  their special friendship. The one who gets the ring, according to the Balinese monarch, belongs to the royal family from that moment on. Christiaan, the son of Henk Franken, has worn the ring since the death of his father until this special moment.

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De Strijd om Bali in de media:


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