The Advisory Board of the Slavery Past Dialogue recommends that the State of the Netherlands proceeds with recognition of, apologies for and recovery from the slavery past. This is mentioned in the report ‘Chains of the Past’ that was presented today by chairman Dagmar Oudshoorn to the Minister of the Interior and Kingdom Relations Kajsa Ollongren.
‘With this report, the Advisory Board marks the end of the era of non-commitment.’
Dagmar Oudshoorn, chairman
The Advisory Board states that recognition is an important step for the Netherlands as a whole. On the one hand, recognition provides satisfaction to those who suffered from slavery, and on the other hand, it promotes a critical view of Dutch history in a broader sense.
This is about recognising that the slave trade and slavery that took place directly or indirectly under Dutch authority between the 17th century and July 1st , 1863 were crimes against humanity. The suffering of all those who fell victim to those crimes and the suffering of their descendants must also be recognised.
Apologies help to heal historical suffering, but apologies are primarily aimed at building a common future. It is not about pointing the finger at individual persons as the guilty parties, but about the recognition by the State of the Netherlands of the suffering inflicted by slavery, and taking responsibility with a view to a future relationship.
Today’s institutional racism cannot be seen in isolation from centuries of slavery and colonialism and the perceptions that arose in that context. In the opinion of the Advisory Board, recovery means that the consequences must be tackled integrally and systematically.
In the report the Advisory Board presents, among other things, the following recommendations:
- The launch of a national research programme into the history of slavery and its effects today.
- More attention to the history of slavery in education and training.
- Active prevention of discrimination and institutional racism throughout society.
- A national facility to raise the profile of slavery.
- July 1st as a national day of commemoration attended by the King and the Government.
- Proceeding with the rehabilitation of Tula and other resistance heroes.
- The establishment of a Kingdom Fund as from July 1st , 2023 for structural and sustainable financing of recovery measures.
The Advisory Board was established on July 1st , 2020 by the Minister of the Interior and Kingdom Relations to organise a social dialogue about the Dutch history of slavery and its impact on today’s society. A dialogue that would focus on connection and on a broader recognition and embedding of this shared past.
The Advisory Board departed from the broadest possible approach to its work. The Dutch Caribbean islands were also involved. Representatives of various interest groups, social sectors, youth and various social groups were consulted. A public campaign was launched, a citizens’ panel was consulted and scientific experts were asked to contribute to the various aspects of the issue of the history of slavery and its impact on contemporary society.
The Advisory Board
The members of the Advisory Board are Dagmar Oudshoorn (chairman), Edgar Davids; Lilian Gonçalves-Ho Kang You, Hannie Kool-Blokland, Glenn de Randamie, Ruben Severina.