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Netherlands to apologize for slavery in Suriname and the Caribbean on Dec 19

Last Updated on Tuesday, 29 November 2022, 7:23 by Denis Chabrol

Reproduced from NL Times

The Dutch government will apologize for The Netherlands’ history of slavery on Monday, December 19, sources close to the Cabinet told NOS.

Seven members of the Cabinet will travel to Suriname and the Caribbean parts of the Kingdom – former colonies that were impacted by the slave trade – to make speeches expressing regret on behalf of the State of the Netherlands. Prime Minister Mark Rutte will do the same in the Netherlands.

Earlier this month, the Cabinet confirmed that an apology for the Netherlands’ history of slavery was imminent. A majority in parliament insisted on it after MPs traveled to Suriname, Curacao, and Bonaire. When Rutte visited Suriname in September, he said that 2023 would focus on recognizing the suffering slavery caused.

In the report published on Friday, the sources said Minister Franc Weerwind for Legal Protection will travel to the Surinamese capital of Paramaribo, and the state secretary for asylum policy, Eric van der Burg will visit Aruba. Additionally, Social Affairs Minister Karien van Gennip will speak in Bonaire, and State Secretary for Kingdom Relations Alexandra van Huffelen will be in Curacao. The finance state secretary, Marnix van Rij, will speak in Sint-Eustatius, while the state secretary for welfare, Maarten van Ooijen, addresses the people of Saba. Health Minister Ernst Kuipers will deliver his remarks in Sint Maarten.

The apologies will not translate into immediate financial reparations for the surviving relatives of enslaved people. However, the Cabinet did previously announce that it will put 200 million euros into a fund to finance projects to raise awareness. It will also make 27 million euros available for a museum about slavery.

The four large Dutch cities – Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague, and Utrecht – already apologized for their roles in slavery. De Nederlandsche Bank and ABN Amro also apologized.

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November 2022