As the last of the Java class cruisers wasn't built as it was woefully out of date and since there was still a need it was decided in 1930 to proceed with a new ship. It had to be a smaller ship due to the financial constraints of the time.
The hull was divided into 21 watertight compartments.
Electrical welding and light alloys were used to make the De Ruyter lighter.
The dock yard didn't have the proper facilities for construction of the De Ruyter so she was built in a dry dock.
There was a single 18 m Heinkel catapult for the Fokker C.XIW floatplanes.