Dutch People who went to the Dutch East Indies: Social Origins and Motives to Migrate (1830-1950). A Study based on an Historical Sample taken in the NetherlandsUp until now, very little has been known about the social background of the Dutch who went to the Dutch East Indies during the nineteenth and early twentieth century. On the basis of the Historical Sample of the Netherlands, we have been able to reconstruct the influence of the local context and social background on individual decisions to leave for these colonies. A marked feature of this colonial migration is its urban character. This is in sharp contrast to the migration of the Dutch to the United States, which had a strong rural basis. For ordinary soldiers, their urban background played a particularly important role in their decision to leave for the Dutch East Indies. Contrary to what we expected, the milieu of the unskilled urban proletariat was under-represented among the migrants to the Dutch East Indies. Apparently, engaging for colonial military service, even as an ordinary soldier, was considered to be a serious option for sons from the lower middle classes and artisans of the Dutch cities. Finally, the article demonstrates that the higher classes were over-represented among those who left for the Dutch East Indies
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