Dutch Prime Minister apologizes for Netherlands’ role in slave trade

Photo by Mark Rutte/Facebook.com

The Netherlands government plans to establish a € 200 million fund to help tackle the legacy of slavery in the country, as well as its former colonies, to boost education about the issue 

Prime Minister of the Netherlands Mark Rutte on Monday, December 19, issued an apology on behalf of his government, for the country´s role in slavery and the slave trade. According to a report by Associated Press, Rutte made the statement during a 20-minute speech at the National Archive.  

“Today I apologize”, said Rutte adding, “The actions of the Dutch state in the past: posthumously to all enslaved people worldwide who have suffered from those actions, to their daughters and sons, and to all their descendants into the here and now”.     

Describing history as often “ugly, painful, and even downright shameful”, Rutte said over 600,000 African men, women, and children were shipped like cattle, mostly to the former colony of Suriname, by the Dutch slave traders.     

PM Rutte made this statement in response to a report by a government-appointed advisory board. The report prepared by the board suggested, “what it called institutional racism in the Netherlands cannot be seen separately from centuries of slavery and colonialism and the ideas that have arisen in this context”. Amongst its recommendations on this issue, the report said that the Dutch government must apologize and recognize that slave trade and slavery until its abolition as crimes against humanity”. It further added,  

The Dutch government has also announced that a year starting from July 1, 2023, will be a slavery memorial year in which the Netherlands. According to the government, it marks 160 years since the abolition of slavery and the country, “will pause to reflect on this painful history”.  

The government also plans to “reflect on how this history still plays a negative role in the lives of many today”, the report said. They have also announced a plan to establish a fund worth €200 million, to help tackle the legacy of slavery in the Netherlands, as well as its former colonies. The government plans to do this with the aim of educating people on this subject.

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