What was going on in colonial Indonesia? A powerful politician, Idenburg, a mover of the Dutch ‘Ethical Course’, set up in 1915 a Commission to industrialize colonial Indonesia. It was probably the only effective body ever set up by the Ethicals and is illustrative of the difficulties in their course. Why did it take 13 years to get started? And he only managed to do it in the last month of his extended stint as Governor-General. And how come one original aim, to promote indigenous Indonesian industries, was completely forgotten in the aims and work of the Commission. The aim became using local Dutch industry against the fear the colony would fall to other colonial rivals. Official opinion was against ‘industrialization’. The Indies were areas of agricultural gain. Behind this the great economic and political power of the plantations. A struggle between a long term strategy necessary to keep Indonesia Dutch and the short term economic interests of the plantations that rendered the strategy impossible. The only way to make that strategy really active was to engage Indonesians but this never happened. The struggle was fierce. First shown here from unpublished official archives.