Holland itself was overrun by the Germans, Indonesia by Japan. Suriname was the only large Dutch posseession that remained free (I think, couldn't find a map of Dutch Empire in 1939/1940).

Did they communicate with the Dutch government-in-exile, and contribute anything to the war effort? Or did they collaborate with the Germans in some way, or just stay out of it altogether?


I missed it before as was looking at a different article, but in the wiki article for Dutch government-in-Exile, it says that the Americans occupied Surinam from November 1941. Would still like to know what happened 1940-1941.

  • 4
    There is this information in the Wikipedia article on Suriname: "On 23 November 1941, under an agreement with the Netherlands government-in-exile, the United States occupied Suriname to protect bauxite mines."
    – MasB
    Nov 6, 2015 at 1:10
  • Hmm, sorry missed that. Was looking at the history of Surinam article
    – Ne Mo
    Nov 6, 2015 at 8:29

1 Answer 1


Prior to independence in 1975, Surinam was a colony of the Kingdom of the Netherlands with no government of its own. A Governor General was appointed by the Dutch crown (in practice the Department of Overseas Territories), who co-governed with the assistance of the 15 member Estates of Surinam elected by the colonial elite.

With the establishment of the Dutch Government in Exile under Queen Wilhelmina, both Dutch Guyana and Dutch East Indies (ie the future Indonesia) were administered as before evacuation of that government to London.

After the establishment of the Vichy government in unconquered France, Wilhelmina took the action of replacing her Prime Minister, Dirk Jan de Geer, with Pieter Sjoerds Gerbrandy due to the defeatism of the former. All Dutch Colonies were administered by the eponymous department headed by the Minister of Colonies, a position also held by Gerbrandy in the Government in Exile.

The timeline suggests that recognition of jurisdiction over Surinam by the Dutch Government in Exile, even through the American occupation of the colony for most of the war, was de facto in exchange for that body signing the Atlantic Charter, under which the signing colonial powers agreed to end colonial relations with their colonies post-war.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.