King Willem-Alexander apologized for the Dutch role in the history of slavery at Amsterdam’s Oosterpark on Saturday. The King of the Netherlands speaks during a national memorial service to the past of slavery. I stand before you today. Today, as King and as a member of the government, I myself make this apology. And I feel the weight of those words in my heart and soul.
But for me there is another personal side.
— Tinkbell. (@looovetinkebell) July 1, 2023
Late last year, Prime Minister Mark Rutte apologized on behalf of the Dutch state and, by extension, the King. The king echoed the apology, saying that “we have made a start” but that “there is still a long way to go”.
Willem-Alexander asked for “forgiveness” in his speech. The King said nothing was “done” about slavery. “At some point, you have a moral obligation to act, especially considering that slavery is strictly prohibited here in Holland, Europe. It was considered normal in overseas colonies. That was being done and encouraged on a large scale in England: “The fact is that it wasn’t allowed here. It’s a painful truth,” he said. “But today, on this day of remembrance, I ask forgiveness for my apparent inaction in the face of this crime against humanity,” Willem-Alexander stressed in his speech.
The Dutch king went on to say that solidarity should be strengthened in the Netherlands and that the different cultural backgrounds of the Dutch people should be respected. “That is why I am asking you to open your hearts to all those who are not here today but would like to work with you towards a society in which everyone can fully participate. Respect that there are differences in experience, background and imagination.”
“In a conversation the Queen and I had with the descendants of enslaved people, one of them said, ‘We have to get out of our tight spots. We can’t make mistakes.’ It’s allowed.’ Another said, ‘Let’s accept the discomfort.’ “There is no blueprint for the process of healing, reconciliation and recovery. We are entering new territory together. Let’s support each other and support each other!” emphasized Willem-Alexander.
Loud applause and cheers erupted as the Dutch king apologized, and someone in the audience shouted, “Finally!” Queen Maxima, who attended her apology, was visibly touched by her. Many visitors were left speechless by the monarch’s historic speech. There were also several comments.
A woman who saw the king’s speech on the big screen said, “It was wonderful that he spoke a few words in Surinamese. It brought tears to my eyes.” Another woman was too emotional to put her feelings into words.
However, not everyone was thrilled. “That word doesn’t mean much to me. First I want to see action. Maybe it means something to me later. The King promises something concrete or has already promised.” It would have been better,” said another audience member. .
Lately, the past of slavery has become a regular topic of conversation for the royal family. Last year, for example, the King of the Netherlands announced that it would not use the controversial golden carriage for the time being because of the colonial-era imagery on the side panels of the carriage. The past of slavery also drew a lot of attention at Konningsdag in Rotterdam and earlier this year when the royal couple and Princess Amalia visited the Netherlands’ Caribbean region.
In addition, an inquiry into the role of the House of Orange-Nassau in the history of the colony was initiated by royal order. Professor Gert Austindi will begin the study at the end of 2022 and expects it to take three years.
https://nltimes.nl/2023/07/01/king-willem-alexander-formally-apologizes-dutch-history-slavery King Willem-Alexander officially apologizes for Dutch history of slavery