May 26, 2024

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The King of the Netherlands apologizes for colonial slavery in his country

The King of the Netherlands apologizes for colonial slavery in his country

Willem-Alexander was speaking at an event marking 150 years since the emancipation of slaves in the former Dutch colonies on Saturday.

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King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands, July 1, 2023 in Amsterdam (Netherlands).  (Shutterstock/SIPA/SIPA)

King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands issued an official apology on Saturday 1 July for his country’s involvement in slavery. “Personal and very” Affected. “Today I stand before you as king and as a member of the government. Today I apologize to you personally.” Willem-Alexander said happily. The monarch was speaking at an event marking 150 years since the emancipation of slaves in the former colonies, seven months after a similar pardon was granted by the head of the Dutch government.

Thousands of descendants of enslaved people in the former South American colony of Suriname and the Caribbean islands of Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao attended the celebrations. “I feel this deep in my heart and soul”The king said before adding: “The slave trade and slavery are recognized as crimes against humanity”. “Kings of Orange House [dont descend le monarque actuel] Nothing was done to stop it. I apologize today for this inaction.”Willem-Alexander added.

Very profitable colonies for the Dutch crown

A commemoration marking the actual end of slavery in the colonies takes place in Amsterdam each year, and is called a celebration. “Ketti Kodi”One “Break the Chains” In Sranandongo, one of the languages ​​of Suriname. The commemoration is the first since the government formally apologized for slavery in the Netherlands last December.

Since the emergence of the Black Lives Matter movement in the United States, the Netherlands has engaged in an often difficult debate about its colonial past, which has made it one of the wealthiest countries in the world. According to a report commissioned by the Dutch Ministry of the Interior and published in June, the colonies brought in the equivalent of 545 million euros for the royal family between 1675 and 1770, a time when slavery was widespread.

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