The Dutch government on Thursday addressed the thorny issue of a slavery apology after a group of former colonies criticized plans for slavery reported later this month.
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said there would be a “meaningful moment” on the matter on December 19, after meeting with representatives of the group in The Hague.
However, he did not confirm previous media reports that it involved funding a slave museum, in addition to a formal apology by a Dutch minister traveling to the former colony.
Groups from former colonies such as Suriname in South America and the Caribbean opposed the “arbitrary” December date and said they had not been consulted.
They hope some kind of apology will be made on July 1, 2023, the 150th anniversary of the end of slavery in Dutch territories that funded the Dutch economic and cultural ‘Golden Age’. I’m in.
Johan Luther, chairman of the Suriname National Slavery Commemoration Committee, said: “It would seem that it would be done in a way that would satisfy both sides, but that is not the case for us at all.”
He said Rutte wanted to stick to December 19 because of “the changing political situation”, with far-right Dutch parties rising in the polls and against any apology.
Mr Rutte said the government wants the dates to be “successful” and that it is part of the “process”. Rutte also noted that it was “extremely unfortunate” that the Dutch media leaked the date.
The Netherlands is slowly beginning to grapple with its legacy of colonial history and its role in 250 years of slavery in Suriname, Brazil, the Caribbean, Asia and South Africa.
The city of Amsterdam has formally apologized for its role in the slave trade, and the Rijksmuseum last year held its first exhibition to tackle the issue.
Slavery funded the Dutch “Golden Age”, built Amsterdam’s famous canal houses, and spawned the art that now fills the Rijksmuseum and other galleries.
https://www.expatica.com/nl/general/dutch-slavery-apology-plan-draws-criticism-441986/ Dutch slavery apology plan draws criticism