A nice set of two Dutch East-Indies passports

Dutch East-Indies passports

Randomly I came into possession of a nice Dutch East Indies (EI) passport set, consisting of two huge passports issued in Batavia and a standard Dutch passport for three children born in Batavia. The first time I have seen such documents was when I met up with my fellow collector Theo in Amsterdam last spring. Theo has an extensive collection of Dutch passports, including the East Indies. It was a joy to see a part of his collection and to listen to his explanations. He is indeed a competence when it comes to Dutch passports. Theo also did some research on the names and found the following. Dutch East-Indies passports

It looks like the Dutch East Indies passport was only used to travel with the family to the Netherlands. The route followed is the most common one, with several stops on the way. Five guilders was the passport fee for a passport with two or more persons. The annual extensions were done in NL, passport fee one guilder. These EI passports were also valid as NL passports, therefore the NL extensions. And not a new NL passport issued. Dutch East-Indies passports

The Netherlands passport was issued to the children only (oldest kid, accompanied by younger brother and sister). This way, they could all travel with either parent. It’s a passport-type that was used for less than one year only.

The family Hondius van Herwerden lived in Amsterdam and The Hague (Voorburg) area, where he passed away in 1943. By then, Theodora, one of the children, already passed away in 1936 (T.C.F.), because only two are mentioned in the newspaper announcement. (A.M.T. and P.F.) and Anna (A.M.T) passed away just a few months after her father in 1943 (given the sources mentioned below, I would have to look further for more detailed info). I don’t know what also happened with this family or what his profession was.

The Dutch East-Indies passports are the largest booklets I’ve ever seen and measures 13,5 x 21,5 cm (closed)

Dutch East-Indies passports
Issued 1931 in Batavia to Frederick Alexander Christiaan Wethmar
Dutch East-Indies passports
Issued 1922 in Batavia to Hondius van Herwerden
Dutch East-Indies passports
Visas British Territory, Italy, and Germany
Dutch East-Indies passports
As 12 pages were full, extension pages were added to stamp a German and a Swiss visa
Dutch East-Indies passports
According to Theo, this passport type was used for less than a year only
Dutch East-Indies passports
… and was issued for the three children of Hondius van Herwerden
Dutch East-Indies passports
German visa to the Netherlands and extension of residence permit in Sonthofen, Bavaria, Germany

Governor-General of the Dutch East Indies in 1922 was Dirk Fock, and from Sep 1931 on, it was Bonifacius Cornelis de Jonge until 1936.

Dutch East-Indies passports

FAQ Passport History
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1. What are the earliest known examples of passports, and how have they evolved?

The word "passport" came up only in the mid 15th Century. Before that, such documents were safe conducts, recommendations or protection letters. On a practical aspect, the earliest passport I have seen was from the mid 16th Century. Read more...

2. Are there any notable historical figures or personalities whose passports are highly sought after by collectors?

Every collector is doing well to define his collection focus, and yes, there are collectors looking for Celebrity passports and travel documents of historical figures like Winston Churchill, Brothers Grimm, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Read more...

3. How did passport designs and security features change throughout different periods in history, and what impact did these changes have on forgery prevention?

"Passports" before the 18th Century had a pure functional character. Security features were, in the best case, a watermark and a wax seal. Forgery, back then, was not an issue like it is nowadays. Only from the 1980s on, security features became a thing. A state-of-the-art passport nowadays has dozens of security features - visible and invisible. Some are known only by the security document printer itself. Read more...

4. What are some of the rarest and most valuable historical passports that have ever been sold or auctioned?

Lou Gehrig, Victor Tsoi, Marilyn Monroe, James Joyce, and Albert Einstein when it comes to the most expensive ones. Read more...

5. How do diplomatic passports differ from regular passports, and what makes them significant to collectors?

Such documents were often held by officials in high ranks, like ambassadors, consuls or special envoys. Furthermore, these travel documents are often frequently traveled. Hence, they hold a tapestry of stamps or visas. Partly from unusual places.

6. Can you provide insights into the stories behind specific historical passports that offer unique insights into past travel and migration trends?

A passport tells the story of its bearer and these stories can be everything - surprising, sad, vivid. Isabella Bird and her travels (1831-1904) or Mary Kingsley, a fearless Lady explorer.

7. What role did passports play during significant historical events, such as wartime travel restrictions or international treaties?

During war, a passport could have been a matter of life or death. Especially, when we are looking into WWII and the Holocaust. And yes, during that time, passports and similar documents were often forged to escape and save lives. Example...

8. How has the emergence of digital passports and biometric identification impacted the world of passport collecting?

Current modern passports having now often a sparkling, flashy design. This has mainly two reasons. 1. Improved security and 2. Displaying a countries' heritage, icons, and important figures or achievements. I can fully understand that those modern documents are wanted, especially by younger collectors.

9. Are there any specialized collections of passports, such as those from a specific country, era, or distinguished individuals?

Yes, the University of Western Sidney Library has e.g. a passport collection of the former prime minister Hon Edward Gough Whitlam and his wife Margaret. They are all diplomatic passports and I had the pleasure to apprise them. I hold e.g. a collection of almost all types of the German Empire passports (only 2 types are still missing). Also, my East German passport collection is quite extensive with pretty rare passport types.

10. Where can passport collectors find reliable resources and reputable sellers to expand their collection and learn more about passport history?

A good start is eBay, Delcampe, flea markets, garage or estate sales. The more significant travel documents you probably find at the classic auction houses. Sometimes I also offer documents from my archive/collection. See offers... As you are already here, you surely found a great source on the topic 😉

Other great sources are: Scottish Passports, The Nansen passport, The secret lives of diplomatic couriers

11. Is vintage passport collecting legal? What are the regulations and considerations collectors should know when acquiring historical passports?

First, it's important to stress that each country has its own laws when it comes to passports. Collecting old vintage passports for historical or educational reasons is safe and legal, or at least tolerated. More details on the legal aspects are here...

Does this article spark your curiosity about passport collecting and the history of passports? With this valuable information, you have a good basis to start your own passport collection.

Question? Contact me...