Dominique Willem Berretty was born in the Dutch Indies on 20 November
1890. His father was a schoolteacher. After his secondary school training
Dominique became a employee of the P.T.T (Post Telephone and Telegraph
service) but not for long. He was ambitious at a young age and went on to
work for the newspaper Java Bode. In the period just before the first
world war he made a few trips to foreign countries, the US being one of
He had no money but with a loan he started a telegraph service in 1917.
This started a career that made him a very wealthy man and most of all a
very famous, notorious, media tycoon. His main aim was to be the fastest
provider of news to and from the Dutch Indies. He made deals with
newspapers that earned him a fortune. On top of this he started his own
magazine and advertising production company.
One of Berretty's slogan's was " Activité, Activité, Vitesse".
that he gave to his news agency was Aneta (Altijd Nummer Een Trots Alles (Always
number one in spite of everything)). He was very internationally oriented. One
of his best friends was Sir Roderick Jones, chairman of Reuters.
Berretty travelled all over the world. He also started a Dutch Aneta, but
in 1931 he stepped out of it and concentrated solely on the Aneta in Batavia
(now Djakarta). The last years of his life it became clear that his agency was
under attack. His monopoly on news irritated many journalists and
politicians. On his last trip in 1934 to the European continent Berretty
tried to sell his news agency or find other ways to survive. Word went
around that he found a solution for his problems, but alas, he died in a plane
crash with the famous airplane Uiver.
Berretty was a man full of energy. Not only in business, but also in his
personal live: he married at least 6 times in the period 1918-1934. He had
4 children: 3 girls and one boy. Berretty was apparently very focussed on
wealth and power. In a period of economical crisis he spent a fortune
(500.000 guilders) on a
huge villa near the town of Bandung. This project was in a way his
downfall. He was almost bankrupt in 1934. Berretty remains one of the most
fascinating figures in the Dutch Indies in the period 1920-1934. It is
striking that almost nothing is left regarding papers or letters.That is why the letters of Hans, his secretary, show us something of this