Today is Keti Koti, the day on which the Netherlands celebrates the abolition of slavery. Party leaders from GroenLinks and D66 have proposed that 2023 be dedicated to remembering the history of slavery in the Netherlands.
The Netherlands was one of the last countries in Europe to abolish slavery. Officially, slavery was abolished by the Netherlands on July 1, 1863, but in practice it continued for a further ten years. Slave labour was still carried out on plantations until 1873 under “special oversight” by the state.
That means that it will be 150 years since slavery was abolished in 2023. GroenLinks and D66 would like to see a year of commemoration in that year: they have suggested exhibitions, performances, debates and more attention in education and media as ways to do it.
“We can use that year to provide additional information and dialogue on the black page of slavery history,” said Rob Jetten, the chairman of the D66 group. “But also about how it affects our society in the field of racism.” For Jesse Klaver, the leader of GroenLinks, the year would be about recognising the history and moving forward together.
Today, there will be a debate in the House of Representatives on racism, which is when the two parties are planning to announce their proposal for 2023. Also today, the annual commemoration of the abolition of slavery will take place in the Oosterpark in Amsterdam. Because of coronavirus, no members of the public will be present.
Would you support a year dedicated to remembering the Netherlands’ history of slavery? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
Feature Image: Francisco Anzola/Wikimedia Commons. Image is of Elmina Castle in Ghana, which the Dutch seized from the Portuguese in 1637 and used as a (slave) trading post until 1814.