This massive archipelago covers some 13,667 islands, and was a Dutch colony until its independence after World War II (proclaimed 1945; recognized 1949). It has a population of 237.5 million (2008 estimate), and a female life expectancy of 72.5 years. The birth rate is 20.3 per 1,000, with the infant mortality rate at 34.4 per 1,000 live births.

European expatriates in the Netherlands East Indies (as it was called until independence), often distanced themselves from bringing up their children. They employed servants, and amahs (nannies) looked after small children, often acting as wet nurses. Many European women found the temperature far too hot and left much of the work to the servants. While some Europeans sent their children to local schools, it became fashionable to ...

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