Sydney Morning Herald 21 April 1921


Among the passengers who arrived by the steamer Houtman yesterday was Count Limburg Stirum, who has only recently retired from the post of Governor-General of the Netherlands-Indies, after five years’ occupancy of It, and who is proceeding to Holland, via New Zealand and Canada, He is accompanied by Countess Limburg Stirum.

The distinguished visitors, who were met on their arrival by representatives of the Governor-General, and the State Governor, the consular representative of the Netherlands, and other prominent citizens, will be the guests of the State Governor and Dame Margaret Davidson at Government House during their week’s stay in Sydney.

Count Limburg Stirum, whose genial personality immediately impresses one, and whose official residence as Governor-General has been in the island of Java, was in the diplomatic service before undertaking the responsibilities of that office. Of his future movements he cannot speak. Ho is not, however, severing official ties.

This friendly neighbour, the Netherlands Indies, is closer to Australia than is generally understood, being on the western boundary of the island of New Guinea.

A representative of the “Herald,” in an Interview with Count Limburg Stirum last night, asked what was known of Australia In the country which he had Just left. “Very little,” he said. “Far too little,” he added with emphasis. “If you want any Information about Australia in the Netherlands Indies you cannot got it. There is not a soul who can tell you anything reliable about it. It Is an absurd position in view of the fact that wo are such close neighbours.”

His Excellency suggested the establishment of an agency, in the belief that It would not only make Australia better known but would be of great material advantage to the Commonwealth. The fact that It has a population of 45 million people Illustrates the vastness of the Netherlands Indies, and the scope it offers for the give-and-take of trade.

“It is a country,” says his Excellency, “in which Australia will get more and more interested. Australia Is already getting a good deal of our sugar, coffee, and other products, and, in a reciprocal spirit, we are getting a good deal from Australia-remounts, for instance, butter, flour, and other commodities.

We purchase about 800 horses yearly from Australia for army purposes. They do well in Java. They stand the heat beautifully and are altogether excellent and very serviceable horses. We now have a commission In Australia purchasing horses—one of two commissions which regularly visit Australia for this purpose.”

Johan Paul, Count of Limburg-Stirum

Born 2 February 1873 in Zwolle – died, 17 April 1948 in The Hague. He was a Dutch diplomat, member of the House of Limburg-Stirum, Governor-General of the Dutch East Indies (1916–1921), Dutch ambassador to Germany (1925–1936) and to the United Kingdom (1936–1939).

Due to his knowledge of Asia, the government Cort van der Linden named him in 1916 Gouverneur General of the Dutch East Indies. He worked for a greater autonomy of the Dutch East Indies and for the economic development of the colony. As Governor General he adhered to the Dutch Ethical Policy and conducted administrative reforms, such as the extension of the powers of the parliament (Volksraad) of the Dutch East Indies and decentralisation of the colonial administration.