Yusuf Ozkan, The Hague
The Dutch government will formally apologize for the country’s history of slavery at 8 separate locations around the world on Monday, December 19th.
Instead of paying compensation for slavery, the government will allocate 200m euros to raise awareness on this issue.
This development, announced by the Dutch public broadcaster NOS, was also confirmed by government sources in The Hague.
Seven government ministers will travel to the former Dutch colony of Suriname and the Caribbean islands of Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao, Sint Eustatius, Saba and Sint Maarten on 19 December.
Dutch ministers are here to make a formal apology on behalf of the state for the country’s history of slavery.
Prime Minister Mark Rutte will also make an apology in The Hague on the same day.
A formal apology from the government does not mean that the Netherlands directly pays monetary compensation to the relatives of those it enslaves.
The Hague administration will allocate a budget of 200 million euros for projects that will be prepared to raise awareness about slavery, rather than compensation. 27 million euros will be provided for a museum on the history of slavery.
After the delegation of the Dutch House of Representatives visited Suriname, Curaçao and Bonaire, the parliamentary majority asked the government to make a formal apology.
Dutch President Rutte, who visited Suriname in September, also emphasized that 2023, the 150th anniversary of the abolition of slavery, should include activities aimed at fully accepting the pain of slavery.
Cities that had a role in the history of slavery, especially Amsterdam and Rotterdam in the Netherlands, had previously apologized.
The Dutch Central Bank also issued an official apology at the commemoration of the abolition of slavery last July.
The government refused to make an apology in July, saying it was not timely.
According to a study commissioned by NOS, the majority of the population in the Netherlands is not in favor of apologizing for their history of slavery.
Last year, 31 percent of Dutch people wanted an apology, while 55 percent were against it. This year, the rate of supporters of apology has increased to 38 percent, but still 49 percent of the society is against it.
According to the research, the demand for an apology is more common among those with a migrant background.