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Saturday, January 23rd 2016, 10:37am

News of the United Kingdoms of the Netherlands 1947

1 January
At a ceremony at Nederlandsche Sheepsbouw Maatschappij in Amsterdam, the keel was laid for a new ship of a new class of vessel for the Royal Dutch Navy. The ship, to be named Rotterdam, will be the first Landing Ship Dock to enter Dutch service when she enters service next year. Ships of this kind are being built in increasing numbers around the world as proper support for amphibious landing and disaster relief operations becomes more apparent. It is thought that ultimately two such ships will be stationed in the East Indies.


Friday, February 5th 2016, 5:34pm

17 January
An explosion at the gunpowder factory in Muiden has killed 17 people and caused extensive damage in the local area. Police are investigating the cause, which at this time is assumed to be an industrial accident.

26 January
A KLM Royal Dutch Airlines flight from Copenhagen to Stockholm has crashed just outside Kastrup Airport in Denmark. The accident occurred shortly after the Fokker F.24 took off. After take-off it climbed to an altitude of about 50 meters (150ft) then stalled and plummeted nose-first to the ground, where it exploded on impact. All 22 people aboard the plane (16 passengers and 6 crew members) were killed. Aboard the ill-fated flight was American singer and actress Grace Moore.


Friday, February 5th 2016, 6:29pm

Explosion in 1883...
Steam engine explosion in 1886...
Various explosions in 1924 and 1925...
Explosion in 1947...
Explosion in 1948...
Explosion 1949...
Explosion 1963...
Explosion 1966...
Explosion in 1972...
Two explosions in 1983...
Storage fire in 2001...
Also, it was moved to Muiden from Amsterdam after an explosion in 1700...

Yes, the Muiden factory was a very safe place to work. :)

Should be noted that OTL the 1947 explosion was caused by the dismantling of WW2 ammunition and inexperienced soldiers handling it, so that is definitely not the case here in Wesworld.


Friday, February 5th 2016, 6:35pm


Should be noted that OTL the 1947 explosion was caused by the dismantling of WW2 ammunition and inexperienced soldiers handling it, so that is definitely not the case here in Wesworld.

Perhaps inexperienced soldiers handling munitions on their way to Oubangi-Shari? Or perhaps sabotage by Republican sympathizers. It will be interesting to see what the investigation discloses.



Friday, February 5th 2016, 7:16pm

From what I read, the soldiers let two carts of live shells collide with each other which causes one shell to fall. It exploded causing the other shells to explode as well.

Another thing on the dutch Wiki page is that it mentions of a documentary that indicated the company had poor safety regulations. The factory was only cleaned when visitors came. Every three months, the worker with the most production got extra pay so they would try to outdo each other which compromised safety. Also workers were secretly smoking.

... and I approve of that last one being the cause of this explosion!!! :D


Friday, February 5th 2016, 7:40pm

Up the Rebels! :P


Sunday, February 7th 2016, 12:00pm

Thanks for the info Walter.
I have a bookmark for the Dutch wiki but honestly the Google translate makes things harder than it should to always understand what the article is about!

Given this kind of slackness I think any investigation is going to require some management changes.
As to causes, I'm open minded at this stage. Might any of a dubious set of characters; Walloon activists, Sumatran/Indonesian nationalists, Ubangi nationalists, Marxists, Fascists, smoking Filipinos, non-smoking Japanese relatives of Manzo, carless German spies, smoking workers, drunk workers, untrained soldiers, uncontrolled workers conducting barrow races, low temperatures, disgruntled folks, sabotage by neighbours who want to plant to relocate, or a coalition of all the above!


Sunday, February 7th 2016, 4:04pm

Something else about the OTL 1947 incident...…tml&prev=search

Might not make much sense at times with google translate but maybe enough to give you some other ideas...


Sunday, March 6th 2016, 10:48am

8 February
In Friesland, the ninth Elfstedentocht has been won by Jan van der Hoorn. Only 309 of the 1,791 skaters (only 270 were officially entered ‘racers’) to enter the completion finished. The ninth Elfstedentocht had been postponed five times by the government from its original December 1946 date due to the weather. The press, which been critical of the government’s decisions, remained sceptical whether the event would go ahead. In the days following the adoption of the final date there was a lot of drifting snow. Volunteers helped to clear the ice routes but progress was slow and another postponement was nearly put into force who are committed to scrape the ice on the route road saw their work whatsoever but slow progress. February 8 itself was the coldest day of winter at -12C with a biting cold wind.

17 February
The Ministry of Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment (Ministerie van Volkshuisvesting, Ruimtelijke Ordening en Milieu) (VROM) has been formed as new government ministry. It is responsible for policies on public housing, spatial planning, the environment and the housing of national government agencies.

19 February
The harsh winter weather affecting much of Northern Europe has caused severe travel disruption by road, rail, air and sea. Pack ice has been reported in the English Channel and much of the coastal waterways are restricted by ice. Supplies of coal have been reduced and blackouts have been frequent. De Bilt near Amsterdam has experienced its worst winter since 1790. Most schools have also been closed.


Saturday, March 19th 2016, 5:14pm

11 March
As more radical elements begin questioning Royal military power and existence of powerful Household Troops, probably without equal in the world, the Army has begun circulating an briefing paper. The Army has long wanted more control over the combat elements of the Royal Household forces. The paper, written by the Head of the Tactical Operations Branch proposes a reduction from 12 Royal Household regiments to just 1. The 6 Dragoon regiments will be absorbed into the regular Army, allowing the disbandment of 4 regular Regiments. 5 of the 6 Royal Guard Fusilier regiments are likely to be disbanded with merger into armoured units and one will become a fulltime paratroop unit stationed in the Netherlands. This internal document is being circulated among the Army Staff and well form a briefing paper to be sent to the Minister of Defence in due course.

18 March
Moves by the Navy to modernise the vital minesweeping force to keep the maritime arteries of the Dutch Empire and the harbours of the Netherlands open have borne early fruit. At a ceremony at Den Helder today the 1st Mijnenveger Flotilla at Den Helder commissioned the brand-new fleet minesweepers MS-1, MS-2, MS-3 and MS-4. Another four sisterships will commission with the 2nd Mijnenveger Flotilla at Rotterdam next week. Before the end of the month the 8th Mijnenveger Flotilla at Ternate will take commission of four new CMS class minesweeping boats which have entered mass production to replace older types.


Saturday, March 26th 2016, 3:56pm

24 March
In a terrible mining accident today, thirteen miners were killed in a fire at a mine at Brunssum.

26 March
War Minister Lieutenant-Admiral (ret)Hans Pienaar received the report from the Head of the Tactical Operations Branch containing the recommendation to merge the Household Troops into the regular Army. Attached to it was a covering letter signed by the Army's Chief of Staff which endorsed the proposal. The Minister looked at the paper on the desk, contained within it the words would strip the King of all military power. It was a radical document and one that ushered in a new era in Dutch politics. But Pienaar was not a traditionalist and could see how the wind was changing. For the past two years he had been forced to field enquires and take the public criticisms for actions in Ubangi Shari he was not wholly in control of.
He was further inclined to endorse the idea following drinks the previous evening with Admiraal Conrad Helfrich, the Admiraal of the Fleets (Acting). He had heard of the rumours of the Army report, no doubt leaked by the Army to him on purpose. Helfrich had eagerly spoken of the sensible move to make the Marines a proper naval infantry force with true global reach. He was unconcerned about the costs to take on this new branch, he knew the Ministry could find money from somewhere. Also Pienaar knew Helfrich was an ambitious man, he was Admiraal of the Fleets (Acting), only the King was the supreme Admiraal, he wanted that position for himself although he did not openly say it.
He thought a moment and decided to forward the memorandum and the report to the Prime Minister with his own objective thoughts on the matter.


Sunday, April 3rd 2016, 12:13pm

2 April
Prime Minister Herman Loeder read Pienaar's memorandum. He checked his desk calendar in case it was in actual fact All Fool's Day. The document contained proposals that practically removed the King's practical military powers. Checking the list of signatures it was clear there was wide backing from the senior commanders from the Army and the Navy. He felt that Treasury Minister Jan De Voor might be persuaded to block the changes due to financial parsimony but politically it would be hard to block the opinions of the military staffs. He knew he could do nothing but approach the King personally before setting the memorandum before his Cabinet for discussion.

5 April
Prime Minister Herman Loeder entered the King's office where he conducted most of his day-to-day work. Charles shook Loeder warmly by the hand, "My dear Herman what is the matter that is so urgent? Is it in connection with events in Ubangi?"
"Indirectly your Majesty, I have received a memorandum from the Ministry of War which complies reports made by the Army regarding the future structure of the order of battle. The main scope of the paper is the almost entire absorption of the Household Troops into the regular Army."
After a pause the King smiled, bemused and rubbed his chin. He was surprised none of the Household officers in the Ministry had heard anything, evidently the Army had been careful in who had access to the study. He also wondered how the QIS had managed to miss the policy change, obviously its range of contacts were not as wide as he had been led to believe.
"Tell me, does the Minister back this?"
"Yes your Majesty, Pienaar has signed it. Other others include the Chief of Army Staff, the Staatssecretaris of the Army and the Staatssecretaris of the Navy."
"They navy?" One of the King's eyebrows raised, "Why the Navy?"
"They seem eager to acquire the Marines should the Household be disbanded."
"Does the Staatssecretaris of the Marines Willem de Rave know about this proposal?"
Loeder flicked through the back pages, "Not as far as I know. I suspect the Navy is only involved on an informal basis between the Chiefs of Staff."
The King shrugged, "Am I not the Admiraal of the Fleet? Am I not the Commander-in-Chief of all the armed forces? Who consulted me? These brass hats are trying to use the civil war to try and launch a power grab. What justifications do they give? How can they think they can unconstitutionally try to remove my powers?"
Loeder shifted uneasily in his seat. He opened the folder to read the preamble, "The justification is to avoid costly duplication of effort and to increase the potential of the Army. The Tactical Operations Branch proposes a reduction from Twelve Royal Household regiments to just one. The Dragoon regiments will be absorbed into the regular Army, five of the six Fusilier regiments are likely to be disbanded with the remainder becoming a paratroop unit stationed in the Netherlands. It does not specifically mention the Marines but an attached Naval paper does. Your role as Commander-in-Chief is unaffected."
The King paced the room a little, Loeder sensed the moment to interject, "Your Majesty, it is hard to defy the weight of the opinions here given the standing of the men involved. When this gets into the Hague the politicians will tear into this like hungry wolves. Only the DMZSBD will back you if you try to fight this, most of my own party would support this proposal, especially given the public mood since the war began and you can't have failed to have read the newspaper editorials."
"I know Herman, I know." The King sat back down.
"You Majesty, it might be one thing for your brother to act like a Medieval monarch in darkest Africa but in Europe times have changed. This is the only thing I can say. Politically if I don't bring this to the Cabinet and it leaks then the government could fall."
The King nodded. "Let me think on it. I'll telephone you tomorrow once I've read over the memorandum and noted its finer points."

9 April
The two recently elected Ubangian Economic and Social Action Party (UESAP) members finally took their seats in the Ubangi Shari Second College to represent the Provinces of Vakaga and Haut-Mbomou. Rumours abound that a re-election is called for, but for the present Prime Minister Limbani is happy to accept both members as proof of the reconciliation and willingness to work with all sides, even if in the long-term their political careers may be shorter than they anticipate.


Thursday, April 7th 2016, 12:36pm

10 April
Much had happened since Prime Minister Herman Loeder’s meeting with the King. Actions unfolded in the background and the political circles of The Hague had little knowledge of what was going on.
Following the meeting with Loeder King Charles telephoned Admiraal Conrad Helfrich, the Admiraal of the Fleets (Acting) to see how far his collusion had gone. During the half-an-hour call that followed the Admiraal wisely professed loyalty to the King and stated that he had no official knowledge of the Army’s planning documents but that he had heard some rumours and had discounted them. The King challenged him that the Staatssecretaris of the Navy had agreed with the proposals. Helfrich said that he was not responsible for the Secretary’s actions and that whatever he knew at the Ministry had not filtered to the Naval Staff at Den Helder. As far he was concerned the matter was entirely the Army’s positioning for power.

Next on the King’s list was Staatssecretaris of the Marines Willem de Rave. He genuinely knew nothing of the Army’s plans, or indeed the Navy’s nefarious plans and so was shocked when the King discussed the memorandum at detail with him in person the following day. Fearing for his position if the Marines were entirely subsumed within the Naval Branch he was a key ally. He set his staff to work on a counter paper showing the strategic and economic reasons to keep the Marines as a separate Service of the Armed Forces.

The next day however Lieutenant-Admiral Nicolaes van Rheede from the Naval Staff came to see de Rave. van Rheede was working on a proposal for the full integration of the Marines into the Navy and merging its headquarters with that of the Navy. de Rave was dismissive but van Rheede laid down an enticing offer. The Navy was already building a Landing Ship Dock, slowly catching up with other European nations in acquiring such ships. The offer was to use the monetary savings to persuade the Ministry of Finance to fund another such ship and convert both the remaining two ex-Belgian liners currently hulked at Rotterdam into troop-carrying assault ships to carry one of the three Marine Brigades to wherever they needed to be. Ubangi Shari had proved mobility and the means to act quickly were the key problems. Both the Army and the Luchmacht were busy refining ideas for a Paratrooper Regiment, perhaps two Regiments, and the aircraft to carry them. The Navy could not afford to drop its age-old mobility based on the sea. With three Marine Brigades straddling the globe and the ships to carry it, they could react almost anywhere. It was an expensive and ambitious programme that van Rheede outlined. He offered two choices, merger and the ships to continue the rationale of the Marines existed or remaining independent but lacking the ships it needed because of the costs. Ultimately the Finance Ministry, van Rheede pressed, would seek reduction in the size of a Marine force that was little more than a glorified coastal infantry unit.

The King by now was pressing the Army Staff to explain exactly what its plans were meant to achieve the reason behind them. The answer was the same, money. They could not afford to keep such a large elite formation spread across the Dutch territories indefinitely when the costs of the War had racked up. It was left to the Chief of Staff to explain to the King that if the Army had no operational or strategic control over the Household Troops then why should they have to fund them. The political embarrassments had been many, indeed the Army claimed they had barely fought in the Civil War at all. It was the King’s Men who had been called upon and not them, so why were they picking up the costs and the public damage when they had not been invited to participate. Indeed some political figures had been making that point in the debating chamber for the last six months. The King had no ready soothing answers, the fact he wanted to protect the Army from having to deal with such an unpleasant situation was almost offensive to the Army who were perfectly willing to fight for their King. Instead everyone was suspicious that actually the King was simply protecting his own investments with his own security force. The Army Generals shared this belief. The King had no option but to back down and haggle. Could he have three Regiments rather than one? “If you pay for them” was the brief answer that came back.

Willem de Rave reported to the King about Lieutenant-Admiral Nicolaes van Rheede’s offer. It was tempting but he doubted the Finance Minister would agree with the Navy’s cost estimates of such a fleet and of the savings a merged headquarters would bring. He feared the Marines would end up used as pawn in whatever fiscal games the Navy were playing with the Ministry of Finance. Then he glanced at the stack of newspapers on the King’s side-table. The news had leaked into the corridors of power and as Loeder had predicted, “the politicians will tear into this like hungry wolves” and he was right. The Liberal and left-wing parties had quickly arrayed a line-up of spokesmen solemnly agreeing it was a good idea. Even Loeder’s own Progressive Party was straining at the leash to avoid his muzzling and one or two rebels within the party spoke out. Only the DMZSBD called for such plans to be abandoned. In this game of political chess the King’s options were closing down. King Charles accepted de Rave’s report and urged him to send his independent Marines study to the War Ministry and the Finance Ministry as soon as possible. It might still prove possible to stave off the Navy, Charles feeling that they lacked the stomach to really digest the acquisition of the Marines. He still even buy off the Army for some breathing room, but he knew his role was fast becoming a ceremonial figurehead of the Armed Forces. His loyalty to the Nation meant he could not risk making divisions and alienating them, but that didn’t mean he would accept all their demands without a fight.


Friday, April 8th 2016, 1:48pm

11 April
As the Cabinet sat in the afternoon to discuss the proposal to disband the Royal Household Troops a storm was erupting around them.

As the world shrank with modern communications technology (and as the old adage goes, no news travels faster than bad news) the impact of the proposal spread across the Dutch colonies and the debate threatened to ignite other debates fundamental to the very core of Dutch colonialism. As in all things, every story has two sides and this case was no different. The white settlers of Ubangi-Shari struggling to rebuild their lives and property and grieving over relatives murdered by rebel bands and thugs masquerading as rebels saw the Royal troops that restored law and order as heroes and would not countenance their removal from Ubangi-Shari or their disbandment. Even the loyalist black factions and even potential republicans like Prime Minister Limbani saw the home-grown Ubangi formations as tainted given the coup emanated from their ranks. Could they be trusted in future? There was little doubt that the Marines and Royal Dragoons had proved professional and able men.
Quiet Suriname had seen its entire contingent of Household troops posted to fight in Africa. They did not seem keen to welcome them back. While they did not openly get embroiled in the arguments one or two members of the local government mumbled something about the land the Royal barracks was built on as being valuable land that could be used to entice foreign investors for industrial or tourist use.
It was in the East Indies that the main opposition surfaced. In the febrile atmosphere where nationalism lurked under the surface, any perceived weakness of the Dutch was pounced upon. Some nationalists welcomed the abolition of such an overtly Royal force. They feared an Army that has crushed nationalist sentiment in Ubangi-Shari would be used to crush nationalist sentiments there. Encouraged by their words on 12 April some fifty protestors gathered at the gates of the Royal Dragoon barracks at Medan. They had missed the small print of the proposal that the Regiments would simply become regular formations, troop reductions were simply not on the table. However, even the fact these troops would no longer be the King’s private army was seen as a victory.

At home various veteran’s groups spoke out against the change, ruling it “unconstitutional and an affront to the memory of our dead heroes”. The Royal Household Veteran’s Association was the most vocal of these critics. On the other side the pacifist movement saw this as a most welcome move. However, as in all campaigns where feelings run high eventually it reaches an hysterical point, one pacifist campaigner on an Amsterdam street corner shouting out the Royal troops were “baby killers” and “medieval practitioners of mercenary violence”. Thankfully most people ignored the extremists in either camp. During a lull in the heated Cabinet meeting that day Loeder was heard to exclaim, “Whatever we seem to do blows up some kind of scandal in the territories. We are attacked if we act and attacked if we do not!” The sight of three of Amsterdam’s most prominent diamond dealers entering the Ministry of Finance was reported in the press as though they were lobbying for the Royal troops to remain to protect their investments in Africa; ironically they were the only ones to use mercenaries with very dubious and lacklustre results.

Politically it looked as though the government might fall if it did not act and an almost certainty Loeder would never win the next election, scheduled for some time next year. The Cabinet debated for four hours, exasperated Loeder called for a vote. There could be no time for dragging this out until one side or the other had made further arguments and counter-proposals. One by one the hands raised. Narrowly passed by a majority of three the proposal was accepted. The Royal Household Troops would be merged with the Army and Navy. Now the proposals would have to go through the two Chambers for formal ratification and the government realised that would be the most difficult stage.


Tuesday, April 26th 2016, 9:07pm

25 April
The government have commissioned Prof. Eduard Meijers to design a new Civil Code. The Civil Code is part of civil law and its origins begin with the homologation order of Emperor Charles V in 1531. The Civil Code was reformed by King William I and entered into force on 1 October 1838. The Civil Code takes the form of four books; Book 1, persons; Book 2, affairs; Book 3, commitments; Book 4, evidence and prescription. However, in recent years there has been dissatisfaction because the current law is not reflected in the Civil Code. Around a 110 years of legal development has not been recorded it. Also many feel that it has lost relevance to the findings of the court, which have grown in weight. Therefore the government feels it is time to compose a new Civil Code.

29 April
As the impending Belgian election increases the political tensions within the establishment the news that the Tweede Kamer (Lower House) by 108 votes to 42 to vote into law the Armed Forces Reform Bill, which will see the Household Troops being absorbed into the Army and Navy. It now only remains for the Eerste Kamer (Upper House) to ratify the decision when they hold a vote on the Bill next month.


Monday, May 2nd 2016, 5:15pm

4 May
A multi sports club has been formed in Paramaribo, Suriname. The club is called T.O.P. (Tot Ons Plezier) and its football team will compete in the SVB Hoofdklasse, the top flight of football in Suriname.

15 May
As part of a planned expansion of the auxiliary ships supporting naval operations in Home waters, the Navy has founded the 6th Support Flotilla at Amsterdam today. This new unit will soon take charge of a tug, but will grow to include tankers to support coastal patrols within the North Sea.

16 May
The All Indonesia Centre of Labour Organizations (SOBSI) has begun its first two-day national congress in Malang. A constitution has been adopted, which calls for workers to unite and struggle for the creation of a socialist society. It is estimated around 600-800 delegates are participating in the congress. Most of them are from Java. Foreign guests include two Australians, Ted Roach and Mike Healy, and two Dutch trade unionists, Blokzijl (of Eenheids Vakcentrale) and RKN Vijlbrief. J.G. Suurhof (of Nederlands Verbond van Vakvereenigingen) and Evert Kupers, in his capacity as the vice-chairperson of World Federation of Trade Union, are attending the congress too. Rajkni Tomovic (Yugoslavia), Jean Lautissier (France) and Olga Tchetchekina (Russia) of the WFTU were also present.

The Malang congress has received significant attention from the Dutch press, both in the Netherlands and in Batavia. The Dutch press argue that the SOBSI congress indicates a strong Marxist influence in the labour movement but the government has downplayed these fears.


Tuesday, May 24th 2016, 8:42pm

4 June
As part of a much delayed modernisation of the escort fleet, the Navy today formed the new 2nd Escort Flotilla at Amsterdam and commissioned its first ships, the new specially-designed frigates FF-49 and FF-50. These units combine the best anti-aircraft and anti-submarine systems that can be applied to small ships.

12 June
The new Constantijn Huygens Prize, a literary award to be awarded annually, has been awarded to Pieter Nicolaas van Eyck.
The prize is awarded for an author's complete works by the Jan Campert Foundation and is named after Constantijn Huygens, a 17th-century Dutch poet, diplomat, scholar and composer.


Monday, May 30th 2016, 11:28am

25 June
In Amsterdam an inaugural annual event, the Holland Festival, has taken place this month. It is a performing arts festival comprising performances of theatre, music, opera and dance.

27 June
The hottest day ever recorded in De Bilt, at 36.8 degrees. In Maastricht, the temperature reaches 38.4 degrees.

28 June
As part the modernisation of the escort fleet, the Navy today formed the new 1st Escort Flotilla at Balikpapan and commissioned its first ships, the new specially-designed frigates FF-47 and FF-48. Tomorrow at Batavia the 24th Mijnenveger Flotilla will formally commission their four new CMS class minesweeping boats providing additional patrol craft which are badly needed in the region.


Saturday, June 18th 2016, 10:43am

14 July
The Training Cruiser Witte de With arrived in Toulon yesterday to prepare for today's Naval Review to mark Bastille Day.

19 July
The P.C. Hooft Award, a Dutch language literary lifetime achievement award, has been awarded to Amoene van Haersolte. This new annual award is alternately given for prose (fiction), essays (non-fiction) and poetry and is a Dutch state award. It is named after the Dutch poet and playwright Pieter Corneliszoon Hooft. It is hoped the award will become the chief literary oeuvreprijs ('life's-work-prize') in the Dutch language.

27 July
The Royal Netherlands Navy is well represented at the Russian Navy Day Naval Review being held today in Kronshtadt. The Navy have sent the cruiser Hazewind and the destroyer Z105 to the port to mark the event.

Several former authors of Der Ruf have formed a new literary magazine, Der Skorpion whose first issue was published today. The Group will meet regularly to go to critically assess each other's work.


Thursday, June 23rd 2016, 7:56pm

3 August
In Reims, Theo Middelkamp has become the first Dutch world champion road cyclist.

11 August
The official investigation into the explosion at the NV Dutch Explosives Factory in Muiden earlier this year has been published. Investigators have reported that safety regulations are poorly enforced. There was evidence that the plant was only thoroughly cleaned when visitors were due. The workforce, largely low-skilled and containing a high percentage of Surinamese immigrants due to the nature and risks of the work, secretly smoke whilst working. Workers have been gagged by company confidentiality orders and so activities such as staff competitions with rewards for the workers with the highest production rates were previously unknown. Employees trying to outdo each other in production has compromised safety. The workers have to self- insure against accidents and unpaid work for clearing debris from explosions to ensure quick return to work as soon as possible are other dubious practices.
The government will now place the company under the direct control of the Ministry of War and a new management structure will be introduced along with reforms and benefits for the workers and training courses.