Universiteit Leiden

nl en


H.J. van Mook and Good Governance in Indonesia and the World

Was the progressive colonial civil servant the precursor of the postcolonial development-aid worker?

Tom van den Berge
12 November 2015

In 1919 H.J. van Mook, a disciple of Van Vollenhoven, entered on his career as a civil servant in the Netherlands Indies. He worked his way up to be lieutenant governor general, the highest office in the postwar colony. During his career as a civil servant he strived for a ‘free and happy Indonesia’. According to Van Mook, the way to freedom and happiness was good governance. After 1949 he continued his career in the United States as professor of public administration in Berkeley and, later, as director Public Administration Division of the United Nations in New York. Was the progressive colonial civil servant the precursor of the postcolonial development-aid worker?

Dr Tom van den Berge is senior researcher at the Koninklijk Instituut voor Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde (KITLV, Royal Netherlands Institute for Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies) in Leiden. His research interests include biographies on Dutch planters, civil servants and missionaries in the Netherlands Indies, Dutch intelligence in Southeast Asia and Australia (1945-1950), and the relation between religion, mission and empire building.
Tom van den Berge is the author of a biography of K.F. Holle, 1829-1896, a tea planter in West Java, and a biography of H.J. van Mook, 1894-1965, the controversial lieutenant governor general of the Netherlands Indies. He is currently working on a biography of I.S. Kijne, 1899-1970, a missionary in New Guinea.

Van Vollenhoven Lectures

The Van Vollenhoven lectures are organized in honour of Cornelis van Vollenhoven, the Leiden law professor who acquired fame between 1901 and 1933 for his elaborate and detailed description and analysis of the laws of the Netherlands-Indies as well as for his impressive contributions to public international law.

Previous lectures were delivered by Dr Fernanda Pirie (director of the Centre for Socio-Legal Studies, University of Oxford) in 2014, Irene Khan (Director-General of the International Development Law Organization) in 2013, Prof. Andrew Harding (Director of the Centre for Asian Legal Studies, National University of Singapore) in 2012, Dr Ben Knapen (then Minister for European Affairs and International Cooperation) in 2011, Prof. Veronica Taylor (then Director Asian Law Centre, University of Washington, Seattle) in 2010, Profs. Franz and Keebet von Benda-Beckmann (then directors of the Legal Pluralism Group of the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Halle) in 2008 and Bert Koenders (then Minister for Development Cooperation) in 2007.

This website uses cookies.  More information.