The Netherlands plans to pay $204 million in slavery apology funds at the start of 2023. According to Bloomberg, anonymous sources familiar with the plan confirmed the $204M fund (200M euros).
The decision to apologize for Dutch contribution to the slave trade is quite an anomaly in Europe. It seems that following the push of Black Lives Matter activists in the country, the decision has been made. This would make the Netherlands the first European country to apologize with delegated money. Reportedly, the apology reparations will be in the form of a fund. The Dutch government has set aside an apology fund which will contribute to initiatives that will aim to raise awareness about slavery’s legacy.
The prime minister’s office declined requests to comment on the plan, according to reports. More information about how the Netherlands plan to pay $204 million in slavery reparations is due end of this year/early next year.
What we know:
The decision comes as a particular shock since only last year Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte – whose government helped set up the panel – said that he was not willing to apologize for slavery since it was not his position to do so, historically. He admitted that racism was an issue in the country. Now, it seems there has been a change in opinion as the apology is due in a matter of months.
During a recent visit to former Dutch colony Surinam, it seems the Dutch Prime Minister changed his mind. This was the first visit a Prime Minister has made to Surinam in 14 years. He stated that the change came about “partly because of the whole discussion that has arisen around the Black Lives Matter movement”.
The apology comes as many across the diaspora urge further conversation and action about the role of slavery in the everyday lives of displaced African-Descent peoples. The Dutch were among the first of the colonizers to join the transatlantic slave trade. They are known for colonizing Curaçao and St. Eustatius by sending enslaved Africans there alongside the South American country Surinam.