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Occupied during World War II

Under the occupation in World War II, all political propaganda was rigidly controlled by the Nazis. All posters needed to be authorized before they were printed and distributed. Freedom of expression was revoked. Except for the NSB league of Dutch Nazi sympathizers, all political parties were prohibited. Trade unions were still allowed, provided they were run by members of the NSB.

For the first time in the Netherlands, the government launched massive information campaigns about social and economic issues, for example about health and nutrition. Well-known commercial designers participated, apparently unaware of how their gaily prints served the cause of the occupation forces. Political posters for organizations such as the NSB and the Nederlands Arbeidsfront [Dutch labour front], however, were produced by designers with national-socialist or fascist sympathies. Compared to the German Nazi posters, the Dutch ones were somewhat less bellicose and racist. Clearly, the fiercest propaganda would not have been very effective in the Netherlands.

In 1944 and 1945 the Dutch government in exile distributed a wealth of posters from London about the liberation of the Netherlands and Indonesia. British artists were commissioned to design most of them.


1. Designer unknown, Enlist, 1941
2. Joop Geesink, Central kitchens, 1941
3. Designer unknown, Forge unity, 1941
4. M.A. Koekkoek, A healthy youth labours for the Netherlands, 1943
5. Pat Keely, The Dutch East Indies must be free, 1944


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