News Americas, HAGUE, Netherlands, Weds. Dec. 14, 2022: Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte is reportedly set to make a speech on slavery next week but its unclear if it will be a formal apology for the Netherlands’ role in slavery in the Caribbean and South America.
Rutte is set to make a speech on slavery on December 19, the government said Wednesday. The Dutch government said Rutte would give the speech at the National Archives in The Hague “in response” to an advisory group’s report in 2021, which recommended that the government should apologize.
Dutch ministers will also travel to former colonies in South America and the Caribbean that suffered during 250 years of the slave trade. Ministers are set to travel to Suriname, Bonaire, Sint Maarten, Aruba, Curacao, Saba, St. Eustatius to “discuss the cabinet response and its significance on location with those present” after the Dutch PM speaks.
During a meeting with Rutte last week, groups from ex-colonies called for any apology to come on July 1, 2023, the 150th anniversary of the end of slavery in Dutch-held lands.
Rutte insisted that he would push on with a “meaningful moment” on December 19th but did not confirm whether it would include an apology.
The city of Amsterdam has formally apologized for its role in the slave trade, while the capital’s famed Rijksmuseum last year held the first exhibition confronting the issue. In all Dutch traders shipped and sold between 550,000 and 850,000 slaves in the Atlantic area: first to Brazil, later mainly to Suriname and the Antilles.