Arts and Culture
In the period after World War I, plans were drawn up in various European countries how air transportation might serve to shorten the travel time to colonial possessions. Expectations ran high and in England, France, Belgium and the Netherlands plans were drawn up to develop air connections. In the Dutch East Indies governor-general Johan van Limburg Stirum even put out a reward for the first Dutch pilot who would fly to Batavia before September of 1920. However, technology proved a serious impediment. The first aerial journey to the Dutch East-Indies was not undertaken until the mid-1920s. In the subsequent years developments were rapid. From the early 1930s the first scheduled services took to the air, although fraught with serious disputes over landing rights and imperial prestige. For the Dutch this prompted thinking about air transportation within the East indies as well. To provide this, a special company was set up in 1927-1928. Although geared to provide services to the colonial elite, the company kept records of use by indigenous use as well. This contribution will look at the impact of civil air transport on colonial society in the Dutch East Indies.