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Swiss Mercenaries in the Dutch East Indies

A Transimperial History of Military Labour, 1848-1914

236 pages
Amsterdam University Press
Between 1848 and 1914 around 5,800 Swiss Mercenaries enlisted in the Dutch Colonial Army (KNIL) to fight in the Dutch East Indies (present-day Indonesia). Following the traces of these mercenaries beyond the confines of the Dutch Empire, this book elucidates the complexities of the nineteenth-century military labour markets and provides an intricate examination of the mercenaries’ socio-cultural backgrounds, their motives, and their engagement with local communities and authorities. In doing so, it reveals the profound effects of colonialism not only on the colonies themselves, but also on the social, economic and cultural landscape of the European hinterland.
Author Bio
Philipp Krauer graduated from ETH Zurich in 2021 and is currently affiliated with the archives of the Canton of Schwyz, Switzerland. He has widely published on the history of mercenaries, migration, violence and the welfare state in various journals, handbooks and encyclopaedias. Furthermore, he is a cofounder of the public history project zh-kolonial.ch. In recognition of his interdisciplinary research into the colonial entanglements of Swiss mercenaries, he was honoured with the “Young Scholar Award” by the Walter Benjamin Kolleg of the University of Bern in 2023.