class was a class of light cruisers of the Royal Netherlands Navy, named after the island of Java in the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia). Originally, three ships were planned: Java
, and Celebes
was intended to be the flagship of the naval commander in the Dutch East Indies, and therefore she was slightly bigger than the other two ships. However, the contract was cancelled with 30 tons of material already prepared (A new ship, HNLMS De Ruyter
was later built to fill that place).
The class was designed by the Germaniawerft in Kiel, but constructed in the Netherlands. They were designed to counter the Japanese reconnaissance cruisers of the Chikuma
class of 1912, and by 1913 standards they were big, fast and heavily armed with 10 x 150 mm (5.9 inch) guns. However, these were not turret-mounted, and by the time the cruisers were finally launched after all the delays caused by the upheaval of World War I (Sumatra
in 1920, Java
in 1921), they had already become outdated.
Nevertheless, both Sumatra
were still active at the outbreak of World War II, mainly for colonial duties.