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Editor saw circulation of Dutch-language periodical skyrocket in five years

‘De Indo’ celebrates 40th anniversary

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

WALNUT, California - Dutch-language periodical De Indo is hoping for a full house on September 20, when it celebrates its 40th anniversary. The publication under editorship of Rene Creutzburg, after it switched from club-news to its present format, went from 150 copies in 1988 to 2,000 in 1993 and a current circulation of about 2,800. Creutzburg continues to turn out issues as a labour of love although the original owner of De Indo, a Southern California club of expatriates from the former Netherlands East Indies (NEI), ceased to exist in 1988. Creutzburg’s original hope to surpass the 3,000 mark remains an elusive goal.

Among all the Dutch-language newspapers that were published in the U.S.A. at one time or another, none has a more distinct identity than De Indo. Because of its format, the publication could hardly qualify as a newspaper. The look and feel is that of a club bulletin but at the same time it has the vibrance of a magazine. The content is a unparalelled mixture of news, views, remembrances, and nostalgia of an era that folded during the 1950s, when Indonesia tried to cleanse itself from any remaining Dutch influences. Serving a community deprived of its home country, the publication has become a tangible meeting point for Indo expatriates in a diaspora, one with numerous meeting points, literally in the living rooms and kitchens of ‘Indo’ homes wherever they may be found.

The readership of De Indo is truly multinational. Creutzburg reports that circulation in the U.S.A. has slipped to 1,900, with a significant part based in California. Going by De Indo’s advertisements and the home town locations of its subscribers, many seem to have adapted to a colder climate although Canada with 150 household recipients does not particularly do well on the circulation list (a doubling of this number would realize Creutzburg’s goal). The Netherlands, home to many Indo groups and bulletins, ranks much, much better. De Indo has subscribers in 18 countries.

Creutzburg’s home has become a depository of books on anything involving the NEI, Indonesia, Indo history, and stories about life in the Archipelago. So far, he has collected about 1,600 books plus numerous stories and newspaper clippings. In a very candid moment, he admits he has become a slave of what once was started as a hobby. At age 72, he often works full days still.

The Creutzburg family, then consisting of Rene, his wife and three children, arrived in the U.S. in September 1960, where Lansing, Michigan, became home. After three years, the Creutzburgs - now with a newly-born American as an addition - moved to California where he becoming founding editor of De Indo.

While the 3,000 benchmark is still a goal, realism tells Creutzburg that a slow decline is more likely. The use of the English language at home has denied many the opportunity to pass along Dutch to the next generation although often the parents just were not up to it. He feels however, that most of the second generation understand Dutch but do not master it, a problem the older generation has with Malay. Many understand it but do not speak it.

More information on De Indo can be obtained at, or write to De Indo, 19830 Calle Senita, Walnut, Ca 91789-2223, phone 909-598-2996, or at