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Netherlands Expected to Officially Apologize for Its Role in The Slave Trade

© AP Photo / Olivier MatthysNetherland's Prime Minister Mark Rutte speaks with the media as he arrives for the EU-ASEAN summit in Brussels, Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2022
Netherland's Prime Minister Mark Rutte speaks with the media as he arrives for the EU-ASEAN summit in Brussels, Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2022 - Sputnik International, 1920, 19.12.2022
In September, it was reported that the the Netherlands' government was preparing to issue an official apology for the European nation’s role in the history of the slave trade. In addition, it was said that the Dutch government would launch a 200Mln euro fund for projects aimed at raising the public’s awareness of the legacy of slavery.
The Netherlands is expected to issue an official apology on Monday for the Dutch nation’s role in the slave trade, making it the first European country to apologize formally for its role in the dark history of trading enslaved people.
The apology is expected to be made by the country’s Prime Minister Mark Rutte during a speech in The Hague.
Apart from that, the PM is reportedly set to launch a 200Mln euro fund (approximately $210Mln) aimed at educating people about the legacy of slavery.
Last week, Rutte said that the fund was not intended as reparation, adding that the move, which he described as an “important moment”, would not be the “end point” of the Dutch government’s attempts to make up for the country’s colonial past.

The Dutch government stressed that the fund is meant to “strengthen knowledge about the meaning of discrimination in everyday life and take legal measures to combat racism and xenophobia”.

Critics, according to local media reports, view the Dutch government’s unprecedented move as coming too late, arguing that apologizing for the slave trade will not solve institutional racism in the country.
Jesse Klaver, leader of the Green Left Party, argued that PM Rutte’s apology would have been more effective if those whose ancestors were victims of the slave trade had been involved in the conversation.

“I am glad that they are going to apologize, but not about the way they are apologizing,” Klaver stated, as cited by media. “An apology is a process you start together, you discuss what is needed,” he added.

The Netherlands was one of the biggest slave traders in the world between the 16th and 19th centuries, having colonies in the Americas, Africa, and Asia.
As the country deals with its colonial past, in July 2021, the mayor of its capital Amsterdam officially apologized for “the active involvement of Amsterdam city council in the commercial system of colonial slavery and the worldwide trade in enslaved people”.
Earlier this year, the Dutch Central Bank and ABN AMRO Bank NV, the third-largest Dutch bank, also issued formal apologies for their historical role in slave trade.
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