The Dutch monarch, Willem-Alexander, mentioned that the exploitation of individuals in colonial occasions was “crime towards humanity”
King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands has marked the one hundred and sixtieth anniversary of his nation’s official abolition of slavery by issuing an historic apology for Dutch involvement within the commerce.
“On today we bear in mind the Dutch historical past of slavery,” Willem-Alexander advised a crowd on Saturday on the nationwide slavery monument in Amsterdam. “I ask forgiveness for this crime towards humanity.”
The king famous that Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte had apologized for the nation’s 250-year function in slavery final December. “At this time, I stand earlier than you. At this time, as your king and as a member of the federal government, I make this apology myself, and I really feel the burden of the phrases in my coronary heart and my soul.”
A government-commissioned examine launched final month discovered that the Dutch royal Home of Orange reaped the modern-day equal of about $600 million in earnings from slavery from 1675 to 1770. A lot of that wealth was given to the monarchy by way of the Dutch East India Firm. Late final 12 months, the Royal Home commissioned a extra intensive probe of the royal household’s function in Dutch colonial historical past.
Willem-Alexander mentioned that racism stays an issue within the Netherlands. He added, nonetheless, that “occasions have modified,” and “the chains have really been damaged.”
Two activist teams held a protest march earlier than the king’s speech, proclaiming that there can be “no therapeutic with out reparations.” Rutte mentioned in December that the Dutch authorities had no plans to pay cash to the descendants of slaves. Fairly, Amsterdam has established a 200 million euro ($218 million) fund to handle the legacy of slavery, reminiscent of funding initiatives to lift consciousness on the problem.
The Dutch colonial empire at completely different occasions included components of Indonesia, Suriname, Brazil, the Virgin Islands, Mauritius, and Sri Lanka. A lot of the empire’s Asian territory was administered by the Dutch East India Firm after being captured from Portugal. The Netherlands started re-examining its colonial historical past in 2020 amid the worldwide wave of Black Lives Issues protests following the loss of life of black man George Floyd in US police custody.
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