Netherlands in TIME magazine

Articles on Holland (Nederland) in TIME (1923 – )

Archive for 1939



The Dutch had outspeeded other Europeans in the matter of Santa Claus last week, as they do every year on St. Nicholas day. A report on Christmas in Europe during the War.

“The Christmas celebration in Germanic lands is not an invention of the Christian Church but of our forefathers. The day of the Winter Solstice was holy to our ancestors and the period around the Winter Solstice was filled with the fairyland magic of the Nordic soul. In this period gifts…

Worried Queen


Wilhelmina works hard to get her country safely through World War II: An overview of her work and her country including the colony.

Queen Wilhelmina on the cover of TIME magazine in 1939Last week the London Daily Telegraph & Morning Post presented what it described as the official German Army plans to invade The Netherlands on Nov.11, plus an “official” explanation of why that invasion did not come off as planned.

The alleged German plan was to attack The Netherlands first, Belgium… View large cover


General Dike


Strategic defense actions have been taken in the Netherlands, tensions of an upcoming attack grew. The state of siege was extended to all towns and villages in the defense areas.

Some weeks ago the Nazi High Command sent, as a handsome present to The Netherlands High Command, 1,500 copies of the official military map of Germany, showing every creek and hillock, every canal and road and bridge. Couple of days later the Nazi High Command hinted delicately to The Netherlands…

Good Offices


Rumors flew that German troops were about to strike through the NL.. Both majesty’s of Belgium and the NL. met at Noordeinde to let Adolf Hitler know that they would defend their neutrality.

A tall young man, dressed in a general’s uniform, accompanied by an aide de camp and an elderly statesman, hopped into his car at Brussels after dinner one evening last week and sped through northern Belgium into The Netherlands. Shortly before 11 o’clock the car raced up the Noordiende, one…

Dutch Tweak


Japan would like some of the Dutch abundance (they grow rich on oil and rubber, fat on Bols gin and rijsttafel), and would brook no interference to her ambition to dominate the South Seas.

Life in The Netherlands Indies is abundant. Dutch colonials grow rich on oil and rubber, fat on Bols gin and rijsttafel (“rice-table,” a huge meal which requires a dozen natives to serve). Their activities at clubs are so serious as to be nearer worship than relaxation. The social hierarchy is…

No Hari


The first notable spy trial of World War II took place in Switzerland. Also, a collaborator is taken into custody after trying smuggling Dutch uniforms into Germany.

Switzerland last week furnished the first notable spy trial of World War II. A brunette dancer called Nina (real name: Virginia Capt Rota), arrested at the frontier as she sought to enter France last month, was found guilty of possessing Swiss anti-aircraft defense secrets. She was supposedly to deliver them…

Neutral Preparedness


The Netherlands made precautions in reply to a continuing concentration of German troops along the Dutch border.

Some years before World War I, the Kaiser took Queen Wilhelmina—a plump, sweet-faced young matron—out to his Army maneuvers. Intending to impress his little neighbor with Germany’s military might, he pointed out to her a strapping unit of the Prussian Guard.

“They are all eight feet tall,…

Side Door


The Dutch prepared to open their Zuider Zee dikes if necessary. To give their waters time to rise, the Dutch mined all roads and bridges entering their country from Germany.

Scores, hundreds, thousands of French, British, Germans—seasoned survivors of World War I as well as fresh-faced fodder for World War II— suffered painful, personal wounds or death along the Perl-to-Lauterbourg front last week. So did hundreds of pigs which the French Infantry drove before them to locate and…

War y. War


Small neutrals were fighting their own war: The NL., closed its frontiers, are troubled by a severe grain shortage, and raised the water level of Dutch lakes to facilitate flooding if necessary.

Frenetic fears of little neutrals in a big war are three: lest they be drawn in, lest their borders be violated, lest their peacetime economy and habits be forcibly disrupted. Last week the small neutrals were fighting their own war against war:

¶Jitteriest was the 998-square-mile Grand Duchy of Luxembourg,…



De Geer was asked to form a new cabinet after four Cabinet crises in three months, and said the vote of no confidence was a mistake, since it threatened to continue political chaos.

Last week 69-year-old Jonkheer Dirk Jan de Geer, leader of The Netherlands’ Christian Historical Party, talked like a Dutch uncle to his parliamentary colleagues. They had just turned in a vote of no confidence in old Dr. Hendrikus Colijn, thereby throwing out a Ministry that had lasted two days. Basic…

Democratic and Royal


With Colijn gone, Socialists and Catholics may well be ready to support a compromise policy. However divided on politics, all Hollanders stand united behind Queen Wilhelmina.

In more than a century of Dutch constitutional government there have been only 33 Cabinets. No. 1 Dutch Cabinet maker is old Dr. Hendrikus Colijn. Last week the onetime Dutch “strong man” was sadly planning a round-the-world trip to forget that the last of his five had set the…

The Neutrals


Report about neutral countries during World War I and the resulting effect on their economy.

In World War II, if it comes, some nations may avoid fighting. But they will certainly not go untouched. Just as modern warfare is no respecter of lives, soldier or civilian, so it is no respecter of the pocketbooks of neutrals. To every neutral nation that has risen above the…

Queen’s Favorite


The Dutch Cabinet resigned, in forming a new cabinet Dr. Colijn finally produced another Cabinet of hoary oldsters, former Cabinet members and long-pensioned colonial officials.

Stanchest supporter of Dutch Premier Dr. Hendrikus Colijn is his soverign, Queen Wilhelmina. Dr. Colijn is a devout Calvinist and a churchman who knows his Bible backwards and forwards. Her Majesty is the apotheosis of Protestantism e conservative, strong-willed Premier believes in balanced budgets, light taxes and a strong currency…



It is hot in Europe, in the Netherlands the thermometer rises to tropical temperatures. At The Hague, retired Dutch colonials got out their old tropical outfits, relics of Java days.

In London, where any temperature above 80° is called a heat wave, it was so hot last week that ten extra waiters were engaged to serve cooling drinks to perspiring legislators in the House of Commons terrace restaurant. A woman fainted from heat in a Gravesend bus and, as her…

Dynamite in the Dikes


The Dutch will blow up several dikes to flood one third of the country, in case of a German invasion. The report further analyzes how and if an invasion is fruitful for the Germans.

As Britain’s Neville Chamberlain schemed feverishly last week to stave off further German aggression, the world wondered where Adolf Hitler would next strike. The Dutch were afraid they knew.

Some military experts have long thought that, rather than a suicidal attack on the subterranean forts, tank traps and concrete…

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