Joannes Benedictus van Heutsz (February 3, 1851 – July 11, 1924), was a Dutch military officer who was appointed governor general of the Dutch East Indies in 1904. He had become famous years before by bringing to an end to the long Aceh War.
Following twenty-five years of protracted warfare, J. B. van Heutsz was appointed as Military Governor of Aceh in 1898. In consort with the Islamic scholar Christiaan Snouck Hurgronje, Van Heutsz succeeded in weakening the Acehnese resistance by exploiting tensions between the Acehnese aristocracy and the religious ulama. He also solicited the support of the Acehnese ruling classes while isolating the rebels from their rural bases. At the advice of an Acehnese noble, he also altered the tactics of the Royal Dutch East Indies Army by introducing small mobile forces which were successful against the guerrilla tactics of the Achenese.
Van Heutsz commissioned Colonel Van Daalen with the challenge of breaking any remaining resistance. Van Daalen destroyed several villages, killing at least 2,900 Acehnese, among which were 1,150 women and children. Dutch losses numbered just 26, and Van Daalen was promoted. By today's standards, these actions would be considered war crimes. By 1903, Van Heutsz tactics had succeeded in convincing several secular Acehnese resistance leaders including Sultan Muhammad Daud, Tuanku Raja Keumala, Tuanku Mahmud and Teuku Panglima Polem Muda Perkasa to surrender to the colonial authorities. Having overcome the secular elements of the resistance, Aceh was declared by the Dutch to be officially pacified by 1903. Despite this, resistance from the ulama continued until 1913.
Hendrikus Colijn - future Prime Minister of the Netherlands, was the adjutant of Van Heutsz. In the Netherlands at the time, Van Heutsz was considered a hero, named the 'Pacificator of Aceh' and was promoted to the position of Governor-General in 1904. His efforts boosted support for imperialism in Dutch society and government while weakening the position of anti-imperialists. Van Heutsz returned to the Netherlands in 1909 and died in Switzerland on 11 July 1924.