After Indonesia declared independence (27 December 1949), the East Indian Dutch had to choose between Indonesia or the Netherlands. On 4 July 1950, the first East Indian Dutch arrived in De Schattenberg, formerly known as Camp Westerbork.
Most East Indian Dutch people stayed in Japanese internment camps during the war. After liberation on 15 August 1945, they had to remain in those camps, as Indonesian warriors were out for their lives. Many East Indian Dutch no longer felt safe and chose to depart to the Netherlands. The number of shelters in the Netherlands was not sufficient, so they had to find new places to stay. Camp Westerbork subsequently became a place of refuge and was named De Schattenberg.
The returnees were not allowed to cook themselves. They could get a hot meal once a day in the central kitchen. For additional food and items, they could visit the Indonesian store, a toko, just outside the camp. Two bakers stocked up the store and two returnees managed it. They sold all sorts of things: from underwear to smoked fish and from ping pong balls to flowers.
Most Schattenberg men were not at home during the week. As former KNIL soldiers, they served the Dutch army and were posted somewhere else in the country. They arrived in the camp on Saturdays and had to leave again on Sundays.
In March 1951, De Schattenberg was evacuated: new residents were waiting to move in. The final East Indian Dutch who remained moved – very much against their will – to hotels or pensions.