Anne-Lot Hoek





Photo: Arya Wirawan

Anne-Lot Hoek is an independent investigative journalist and historian, and publishes for NRC Handelsblad, De Groene Amsterdammer, Vrij Nederland (Netherlands) and De Lage Landen (Belgium). 


Since 2012 she has focused on the Indonesian war of Independence. For her contributions to this subject and the public debate she was honered with the ASH Valorisation Prize 2020 from the University of Amsterdam.

She worked for seven years on her debut book, De strijd om Bali (The struggle for Bali), which was released in 2021 (De Bezige Bij).


The book is based on more than 120 interviews with veterans and other witnesses on Bali and in The Netherlands. Instead of studying politics and violence separately, she has managed to draw a clear interaction between the political goals and the acceleration of violence on the ground. She also discovered the Dutch build a network of prison camps (tangsi-network) on Bali during the Indonesian War of Independence. Beside the interviews she conducted intensive archival research, and also used memoires, correspondence, literature, monuments & private archives as her sources.

De strijd om Bali was chosen as the Best History Book of the Month on NPO Radio 1 (OVT), received an Honorable Mention by the Brusseprize jury for "a very special book" that "stands out among the many books on the Indonesian-Dutch colonial past" and is chosen  - from more than 300 submissions - as one of the 10 Best History Books of the Year by the jury of the Libris History Prize.











'Potentially the most important history book of this year'

NRC Handelsblad (These are the best books of 2021)


‘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 ***

‘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 (The Sisters of Auschwitz) 

*** #2 New York Times Bestseller ***

‘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 (Monsoon - 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) selected 'The struggle for Bali' as:


‘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)


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A staggering,
decolonisation history

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