Tip: The Dutch state should apologize for slavery

The committee clarifies that the fund is not earmarked for compensation. The advisory board did research on reparations, but concluded that it had been too long and there was no legal basis for it. For example, the money of the redemption fund of a national museum should be used.

An apology from the state, not from individuals

The report discusses the issue of apology in detail. The advisory council stresses that it is not a matter of apology from individuals, but rather about the country as a whole. As the “legal heir to the former Netherlands”, it is up to the current government to apologize for “directly or indirectly allowing” slavery and the slave trade, the advisory board believes.

“It is not a question of classifying individuals as culprits, but of recognition by the state of the Netherlands of the suffering caused by slavery.” The Committee would like to note that countries such as Germany, Belgium, France, the United Kingdom and the United States have taken the lead in this regard.

‘The first step’

Outgoing Interior Minister Olungren received the advisory board’s report. According to her, the document is an “important first step towards a broader recognition and consolidation of our common past.”

Ollongren said the report makes an important contribution to public debate. “This step will be followed by another. Which and how, that is up to the new government, which will have to come up with a substantive response to the advice.”

The Advisory Committee marks 2023 as a significant year. On July 1, 1873, former slaves were permanently freed from plantation work (slavery was officially abolished ten years earlier). One hundred and fifty years after that date, the redemption fund must come into effect.

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D66 and GroenLinks have proposed making 2023 a national year of remembrance. “I think that’s a good idea,” outgoing Prime Minister Rutte said. The Advisory Committee considers July 1, 2023 to be a “beautiful symbolic date”.

Megan Vasquez

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