20th Kitty Kuti: That’s all there is to do in town on Saturday

20th Kitty Kuti: That's all there is to do in town on Saturday

Tomorrow we mark and celebrate the 150th anniversary of the abolition of slavery. A special edition marking the jubilee that begins at the same time as the National Year of Remembrance of Past Slavery. What can you expect from this special edition Keti Koti? We’ll list them for you. The AT5 will also be there live tomorrow.


Slavery was officially banned in Suriname and the Caribbean in 1863, but since in practice slaves still had to perform forced labor until 1873, July 1, 1873 is seen as the effective end of slavery.

This year, exactly 150 years ago, a line was drawn under a long period of oppression, exploitation and lack of freedom for slaves in Suriname and the Netherlands Antilles, and we celebrate Keti Koti, or: ‘breaking the chains’.

eight flags

Due to the expected crowds, the Keti Koti Free Festival will not be held in Oosterpark as usual this year, but in Museumplein. The party lasts until 11pm and closes between 2pm and 3pm. From the big screens, people can watch the National Remembrance of the History of Slavery happening in Oosterpark.

All eyes will be on the King here, who may make a formal apology for slavery’s past. Before and during the ceremony, the flags of the Netherlands, Suriname, Curaçao, Aruba, Bonaire, Sint Maarten, Sint Eustatius and Saba will be flown at half mast in front of the Town Hall. Then it is raised to the top.

A big attendance is expected in the Red Room tomorrow for the afternoon program from Mirfart’s Kitty Kuti Celebration. Several speakers and performers – including politician Kenneth Kovalai – will give talks and the celebration in Oosterpark will be watched together. Tickets for the afternoon program are now sold out, but there are still places available for dinner during the evening programme.

Kitty Cutie Jr. is in class

Museum Square

After the celebration, the party will begin in Museumplein, where great artists such as Trijntje Oosterhuis, Berget Lewis, Alain Clark and Jeangu Macrooy will perform. There is also a theater with traditional Surinamese and Antillean music, a discussion platform and a theater for children

Children can also visit ‘t Zonnehuis in Noord in the early morning where, after a successful launch at primary school De Zeven Zeeën this year, a new edition of Keti Koti Junior is planned. Under the guidance of artists and art educators, children reflect on the past of slavery in a creative way.

The Amsterdam Museum is open for free all weekend. In addition to the exhibition showing scenes from the colonial past, visitors can follow a pottery tableware workshop and there is a concert by Keti Koti in the museum’s garden.

cooking way

Also this year, a colorful procession takes place in the morning from Stopera to Oosterpark during the traditional Bigi Spikri: a ceremonial walk in which people in traditional clothes celebrate freedom and the abolition of slavery.

This year, residents of Zuidoost will take a memorial tour from Amstel station via Hugo de Vrieslaan and Middenweg to the Slavery Monument in Oosterpark. Zuidoost Beseft chartered subway departs from Bijlmer ArenA early in the morning. Participants receive a free drink and must register Register in advance.

For those who prefer to escape the festivities, Suri Route by Chef Donovan Kraag offers a solution. Together with food platform Van Amsterdamse Bodem, he has charted a culinary trail along the best of Suriname and Javastrat restaurants: from Surinamese street food at Angie B. in Zuidoost to authentically prepared polenta at Ricardo’s in Javastrat. Routes can be laid on foot, by bicycle, or by public transport.

Tree of life Surinameplein

Awareness day

Also today, on Awareness Day, which is the last day of the month of Kiti Koti, there are smaller ceremonies and gatherings where slavery’s past is commemorated. A great ceremony was held at the Tree of Life in Surinameplein. In addition to two minutes of silence at 8pm, there will be performances by various artists and speakers.

In Nieuw-West, residents can talk to Councilor Sandra Duvendan Tonight in New Metropolis about what Keti Koti means for the area and its residents.

Tonight, Het Concertgebouw is organizing it with Becoming You – a neighborhood initiative from the Southeast Kulturo Kitty Koti Memorial Concert In the small hall where many artists perform Afro-Surinamese music.

The festivities around Keti Koti can be followed live on Saturday via AT5. At 10:30 am we report on the Bigi Spikri, a colorful procession in traditional costumes. And starting at 1.30pm we will follow up on the commemoration in Oosterpark with commentary from Mitchell Isagas of the Black Archives and historian Karwan Fatah Black.

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