Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte formally apologized for the “role of the Netherlands in the history of slavery” on Monday, December 19, in The Hague, Netherlands.
Video live-streamed by Mark Rutte on Monday shows the prime minister addressing people gathered at the National Archives in The Hague, saying “on behalf of the Dutch government, I apologize for the past actions of the Dutch state.”
Rutte outlined a brief history of the nation’s part in the trade of enslaved Africans, “often under the governmental authority of the Dutch West India Company,” saying that “the Dutch state and its representatives facilitated, stimulated, preserved, and profited from slavery.”
Rutte said: “No one alive today is personally to blame for slavery,” but that the “Dutch State, in all its manifestations through history, bears responsibility for the terrible suffering inflicted on enslaved people and their descendants.”
The apology was a reaction to the findings of a report, “Chains of the Past,” by the Slavery History Dialogue Group, which recommended: “acknowledgment, apology, and recovery” after an examination of the country’s past.
According to local media, last week a group of six organizations went to court to try to force the government to delay the apology until July 1, 2023, the 150th anniversary of the abolition of slavery in Suriname, an event known as Ketikoti (“the chain is broken”). Credit: Mark Rutte via Storyful