Dutch King May Apologize in 1863 Abolition Day Speech

Amsterdam – Dutch King Willem-Alexander is set to deliver a speech on Saturday to mark the anniversary of the abolition of slavery, sparking speculation that he will apologize on behalf of the royal family.

King’s Speech Following the Prime Minister of the Netherlands Mark Rutte’s apology Late last year, he criticized the country’s role in the slave trade and slavery. It is part of a broader consideration of the colonial histories of the West, promoted in recent years by the Black Lives Matter movement.

Slavery was abolished in the Dutch colonies of Suriname and the Caribbean on July 1, 1863, but most of the slave laborers were forced to continue working on the plantations for another ten years. Saturday’s memorial service and speech will mark the beginning of a year of events marking the 150th anniversary of July 1, 1873.

A study released last month found that the king’s ancestors earned the equivalent of €545 million ($595 million) from slavery, the equivalent of modern times, including profits from de facto gifted shares.

When Prime Minister Rutte apologized in December for the Netherlands’ historic role in slavery and the slave trade, the apology included the royal family, but did not take a step towards compensation for the descendants of enslaved people.

Instead, the government has set up a €200 million ($217 million) fund to address the legacy of slavery in the Netherlands and its former colonies and to improve education on the issue.

For some in Holland that’s not enough. Two groups, the Black Manifesto and the Black Archives, organized a protest march ahead of the King’s speech on Saturday under the slogan “No Reparations No Cure.”

“Many, including myself, my group, the Black Archives, and the Black Manifesto, have argued that an apology is not enough. We should,” said Mitchell Esajas, director of the Black Archives.

Marchers dressed in colorful traditional costumes took part in Suriname’s celebration of the abolition of slavery. Organizers said enslaved people were not allowed to wear shoes or colorful clothes.

“Just as we remember our ancestors on this day, we too can feel free, wear whatever we want, and show the world that we are free.”72 19-year-old Regina Venezia Van Wint said.

Following the May 25, 2020 murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, USA, and the Black Lives Matter movement, the brutal colonial history of the Netherlands has come under renewed scrutiny. .

The groundbreaking 2021 exhibition at the National Museum of Art and History undauntedly showcased: Slavery in the Dutch Colonies. The same year’s report stated that the Dutch involvement in slavery was a crime against humanity, linking it to what the report describes as ongoing systemic racism in the Netherlands.

The Dutch first participated in the transatlantic slave trade in the late 1500s and became major traders in the mid-1600s. Ultimately, the Dutch West India Company became the largest trans-Atlantic slave trader, according to Kirwan Fata-Brack, an expert in Dutch colonial history and an assistant professor at Leiden University.

The Dutch authorities are not alone in expressing their regret over the historic abuses.

In 2018, Denmark apologized to Ghana, a colony from the mid-17th century to the mid-19th century. King Philippe of Belgium expressed “deep regret”. Abuse in the Congo. In 1992, Pope John Paul II apologized for the church’s role in slavery. The removal of statues of slave owners in the South has sparked an emotional debate among Americans.

In April, King Charles III announced his support for scientific research for the first time. The relationship between the British monarchy and slavery A spokeswoman for Buckingham Palace said after documents showed her ancestors had shares in a slave trading company.

Prince Charles and his eldest son, Prince William, have expressed sorrow over slavery but have denied the royal family’s ties to trade.

At a ceremony marking Barbados’ becoming a republic two years ago, Prince Charles referred to “the darkest days of our country’s past and the terrible atrocities of slavery that will forever stain our history”. British settlers used African slaves to turn the island into a wealthy sugar colony.


Reported by Mike Corder from Ede.

Copyright 2023 Associated Press. all rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

https://www.local10.com/business/2023/07/01/the-dutch-king-will-deliver-a-speech-at-an-event-on-the-anniversary-of-slaverys-end-in-its-colonies/ Dutch King May Apologize in 1863 Abolition Day Speech

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