Dutch king makes historic apology for slavery


(AFP) – Dutch King Willem-Alexander issued a historic royal apology Saturday for the Netherlands’ involvement in slavery, saying he felt “personally and intensely” affected. CLICK HERE TO JOIN OUR WHATSAPP GROUP FOR NEWS UPDATES.


Thousands of descendants of slaves from the South American nation of Suriname and the Caribbean islands of Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao attended the celebrations in Amsterdam for “Keti Koti” (“breaking the chains” in Surinamese) to commemorate 150 years since the practice was abolished.

“Today I’m standing here in front of you as your king and as part of the government. Today I am apologising personally,” Willem-Alexander said to loud cheers from the crowd.

“I am intensely experiencing this with my heart and soul,” the monarch told those attending the event, held under a light drizzle in the capital’s Oosterpark gardens.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte already officially apologised in December on behalf of the government.

It was not certain whether the monarch would follow suit on behalf of the royals for a trade that researchers say brought vast riches to his ancestors in the House of Orange.

“Slave trading and slavery is recognised as a crime against humanity,” the king said.

“The monarchs and rulers of the House of Orange took no steps against it.”

“Today, I am asking for forgiveness for the crystal-clear lack of action, on this day when we are commemorating slavery in the Netherlands,” Willem-Alexander said in his speech, broadcast live on television.

Ahead of the ceremony descendants of slaves have called for the king to use the occasion to apologise.

“That is important, especially because the Afro-Dutch community considers it important,” Linda Nooitmeer, chairman of the National Institute of Dutch Slavery History and Legacy, told public broadcaster NOS.

“It is important for processing the history of slavery.”

– ‘Colonial tributes’ –

Since the Black Lives Matter movement emerged in the United States, the Netherlands has embarked on an often difficult debate about the colonial and slave trading past that turned it into one of the world’s richest countries.

And the Dutch royals have often found themselves at the centre of the debate.

A Dutch study released in June found that the royal family earned 545 million euros ($595 million) in today’s terms between 1675 and 1770 from the colonies, where slavery was widespread.

The current king’s distant ancestors, Willem III, Willem IV and Willem V, were among the biggest earners from what the report called the Dutch state’s “deliberate, structural and long-term involvement” in slavery.

Separately, in 2022 King Willem-Alexander announced that he was ditching the royal Golden Coach that traditionally transported him on state occasions because it had images of slavery on the sides.

One side panel had a picture called “Tribute of the Colonies” depicting kneeling black people handing over produce like cocoa and sugarcane to their white masters.

Rutte in December described slavery as a “crime against humanity” when he delivered the long-awaited apology, and Dutch ministers travelled to seven former colonies.

The king said days later, in his Christmas address, that the government apology was the “start of a long journey”.

Slavery was formally abolished in Suriname and other Dutch-held lands on July 1, 1863, but the practice only really ended in 1873 after a 10-year “transition” period.

The Dutch funded their “Golden Age” of empire and culture in the 16th and 17th centuries by shipping around 600,000 Africans as part of the slave trade, mostly to South America and the Caribbean.

Advertise with the mоѕt vіѕіtеd nеwѕ ѕіtе іn Antigua!
We offer fully customizable and flexible digital marketing packages.
Contact us at [email protected]


  1. by suing All the states/countries collectively, that place our people in bondage.

    These countries should realized by now that we will never forget what they did, we will never trust them again, we have no fear of them and most importantly, they cannot place us on the “front lines” in Europe in support of their savagery and ignorance.

  2. Now that the Government and the King of The Netherlands have taken the bold steps to admit their role in the horrific act of Slavery that made them a rich country over the centuries, now we can talk about reparation and how to make good on those atrocities that have been committed. It’s sad to see that the British and the French don’t see it fit to get to that point. And certainly not the Americans. For them it’s Let Bye Gone’s Bye Gone’s. Just like that. Pretend it never happens. But they are quick to take anyone else before the International Criminal Court for human rights violations. Of which they are the biggest perpetrators.

    • And while you’re about it tell the Obas to do the same. After all their forebears played a huge part in helping the Europeans to enslave their own people, or have you forgotten? They are even worse than the slave buyers; gut-wrenching, despicable excuses for human beings but then they are ‘brothers and sisters’ so we can give them a pass, yes? Infernal and confounded hypocrites are the only words to describe ostriches like you.

      • Avatar photo That is narrative for that justify, terrorism, genocide, no pay for 400 years and extinction of others ethic groups European refugees met?

        how did the slave holders colonised what is now north africa? how it got in the hands, including Saudi Arabia, of the Arabs?

        Oh, the Obas gave it to them!
        you see, what we need to talk about is european history before they encountered “civilization.

        • The first paragraph of your reply in bold type is incoherent and therefore difficult to unravel. If you wish to switch from Africa south of the Sahara to North Afriica I shall be more than happy to oblige by asking you a simple question: which country on planet Earth was the last to abolish slavery, and when?
          Back to south of the Sahara. It seems the unpalatable fact of the heavy involvement of the Obas and others at that time is causing you indegestion. Dispute or refute what I said in my earlier post and call back. If you do I have more to tell. You may also switch to East Africa where the Arabs did a roaring trade in slavery. Want more?

          • @oversee
            It does not surprise me that you blame black people for slavery. As usual people like you always try to justify slavery by talking about Africans selling their own people. I guess the Africans were the ones who enslaved black people and worked them to death without payment for 300 years and brutalized the black men and raped our women. Were Africans the ones who made billions from slavery? As a result of slavery, black people are still suffering discrimination and denied equal rights today. I wonder if the situation were reversed and black people had enslaved white people your argument would have been the same? I wish you would accept the fact that Europeans were the ones who transported Africans to the west chained to the bottom of slave ships like animals and made billions from their free labour. All the European countries that were involved in the Slave trade owe the descendants of slaves billions in reparations for their years of free labour and the brutality they endured.

    • @DC
      Do yourself a favour by reading again carefully what I said. Comprehension doesn’t come easily to some folks at the best of times and you are a case in point. Let me tell you that I am a black man as I guess you are but not one who will say right is wrong or wrong is right. I tell it as I see it, regardless of which side of the fence you sit. Let me begin by asking you to justify what you asserted:

      Quote “It does not surprise me that you blame black people for slavery. As usual people like you always try to justify slavery by talking about Africans selling their own people..” Unquote.

      I require or more forcefully, demand that you show where I made such a justification. The problem with us black people is we sometimes seem incapable of facing unpalatable truths; we turn a blind eye or stick our fingers in our ears to what is true. We all agree on the brutality and injustices meted out to the slaves who unjustifiably did not receive a penny in compensation for their suffering, that cannot be disputed. As for reparations let me repeat; I personally am not in favour, others are, and I understand their line of reason however, to me it is nothing less than Blood Money, why? Because I did not or anyone today suffer the indignities and brutality of the slaves. Many will disagree with me but that’s the way I see it and that’s the way I tell it.
      I think the point that troubles you most is the fact that Africans themselves played a major part in assisting the Europeans in enslaving their own brethren. This obviously sticks in your craw but sadly, it was the case. Some years ago an African (I do not recall his standing) went to the USA and apologized, yes apologized to African Americans for the part his forebears played in the slave trade. It was/is an eye-opener to see an African big enough to admit the past. Not so our ostriches whose heads are stuck firmly in the sand. I await your response to my earlier demand.

      • @DC
        The word “craw” was not meant to be offensive, I should have said “gullet”. I do apologize.

    • We did our vomiting already. Just a “cycle” on the path to justice.

  3. How did European divide Africa?
    The Berlin Conference to Divide Africa
    Portugal took Mozambique in the east and Angola in the west. Italy’s holdings were Somalia (Italian Somaliland) and a portion of Ethiopia. Germany took Namibia (German Southwest Africa) and Tanzania (German East Africa). Spain claimed the smallest territory, which was Equatorial Guinea (Rio Muni).30 Jun 2019
    Sometimes it is just not worth to respond to uneducated idiots. So I just post certain materials for them to go and read. The stupidity that the Africans sold their own was just something that happened on a small scale as tribal war demand that the losers became slaves to the winner. And slaves were sold. But the fact that the European colonized almost the whole of Africa except for Ethiopia should not be forgotten. Europe still controls most if not all of Africa.
    What were the atrocities of Leopold in the Congo?
    Congo Free State (1885-1908) •
    By the early 1890s, under Leopold’s rule, the Congo Free State would become notorious for its cruel treatment of the Congolese. This included forced labor to harvest rubber, palm oil, and ivory. Punishment methods including beatings and lashings were used to force harvest-gathering quotas to be met.20 Jan 2023
    I wish we could get our hands on this bastard called King Leopold of Belgium

    • What’s going on? Sideliner doing his homework and admitting victorious Africans sold their vanquished brethren to Europeans though ‘on a small scale’. Not so. There were African delegations that went to England to do business in slavery, in other words slave trading. Shameful, abhorrent. There were milions of slaves shipped to the Caribbean and North and South America. This was no small scale affair. Think about it: what if reparations were asked of today’s European governments and they replied in return: why don’t you ask for reparations from today’s African Obas as well? I think we might well be stuck in the mud. That is something that bothers me.

  4. An honorable man once said that it doesn’t matter whether a cat is black or white, as long as it can catch mice.

  5. The honourable man might also agree that truth applies to all whether black or white. Don’t try to let me sweep unpalatable truth under the carpet, I will not do it to please you or anyone. Truth can hurt and calling me Judas means your corns are hurting. What would you call the African who went to the US to apologize for the appalling part Africans played in the slave trade? You are of limited intellect so you are forgiven.

    • @oversee
      Are you truly black or a Mulatto? You certainly sound like an Uncle Tom. The ones who did the biddings of the slave masters by whipping the slaves into submission. Who are you to be accusing anyone of lacking comprehension? You seem to hate Africans and love the white slave masters. I pity you as you are a lost soul and don’t know where you belong.

      • @DC.
        Sometimes it is better to suffer fools gladly which I shall do in your case. To recap: you claimed in an earlier post that I justified slavery, a serious comment I may add. I asked you to justify your statement and in your opening reply you asked, “Are you truly black or a Mulatto?”. What an idiotic response to my request. It is plainly obvious that you cannot justify what you claimed. This is where comprehension comes in. To comprehend is to understand and you seemingly lack understanding. Your latest ” You seem to hate Africans and love the white slave masters” makes me wonder if you are somewhat unhinged. Save your pity for yourself, you are in much greater need of it and I certainly do not require yours. The big problem with you is simply, you would like to undo what happened in the past and pretend it did not happen however the sad news is neither you nor I can undo the past, be it the good bits or the bad bits. Things happened and facing up to the truth is better than pretending that bad things did not happen. I most certainly know where I belong and it is the realm of reality. Can you say the same? In the meantime answer my question that you have not attempted to address——if you can. Take your time.

          • You speak of yourself. You have thrown in the towel. Smart move. At least you know when you’re defeated. No hard feelings. All the best and goodbye to you.

  6. Does anyone know of any research done of our people who benefited from slavery in the Caribbean? I am looking for OVERSEERS, HOUSE Niagah, SPIES ETC.
    We deserve an apology!
    Some must still be hiding among us…
    MOODY STUART grandson’s house is surely well hidden..

Comments are closed.