Dutch King Willem-Alexander on Saturday apologized for the Netherlands’ historic involvement in slavery and its effects that still exist today.
The king was speaking at a ceremony marking the 160th anniversary of the legal abolition of slavery in the Netherlands, including its former colonies in the Caribbean.
“On this day when we remember the Dutch history of slavery, I apologize for this crime against humanity,” he said. He said that racism remains a problem in Dutch society and that not everyone would support his apology.
However, “times have changed and Katie Coty … the chains have really broken,” he said amid the cheers and applause of thousands of spectators at the National Slavery Memorial in Oosterpark in Amsterdam.
“Keti Koti” is a Surinamese word meaning ‘the chain has been broken’ and is the title given to 1 July as a day of remembrance of slavery and celebration of independence.
The pardon comes amid a wider rethinking of the Netherlands’ colonial past, including its involvement in both the Atlantic slave trade and slavery in its East Asian colonies.
Willem-Alexander apologized to Indonesia in 2020 for the “extreme violence” during Dutch colonial rule.
In December Prime Minister Mark Rutte acknowledged that the Dutch state was responsible for, and profiting from, the Atlantic slave trade, and apologised.
Rutte has said the government will not pay compensation, as recommended by an advisory panel in 2021.
A government-commissioned study published last month found that the House of Orange gained about $600 million in modern terms from the Dutch colonies in 1675-1770, much of it in the form of gifts from the Dutch East India Company’s spice trade profits. was given.
In December the Royal House launched an independent inquiry into the Royal Family’s role in colonial history, with results expected in 2025.
(This story has not been edited by NDTV Staff and has been auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)