King giving a speech during a slavery ceremony and expecting an apology

King giving a speech during a slavery ceremony and expecting an apology

According to the participants, the king’s speech is being prepared for July 1 and the exact form and wording of the apology has yet to be decided.

ten years ago

King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima were already present at the ceremony in 2013, but the king did not speak at the time. This will happen this year.

On December 19, 2022, Prime Minister Rutte apologized for his past slavery. There was a lot of commotion in the weeks leading up to this speech: some interest groups felt outraged and criticism was also heard in Suriname. At the National Archives in The Hague, Rutte apologized in four languages: English, Serranantongo, Papiamento and Dutch.

Now the king

“This is a logical step,” says political correspondent Vence Lambie. “Last year’s December moment was deliberately chosen: these apologies came on purpose more than six months before the official start of the memorial year. Meanwhile, the political debate and public debate over the apologies for slavery have subsided somewhat and there is scope that The King speaks on July 1. If the King does indeed apologize on July 1, then this is a historic moment and of great importance to many descendants.”

“healing process”

On the podcast Through the King’s Eyes with DJ Edwin Evers, King Willem-Alexander said in April that the Netherlands is in a “healing process” about its colonial past. “It was also said very clearly: It was an interlude, not a period. It is the beginning of a process that will take a lot of time, that will have many conversations and where many emotions come into play.”

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In recent months, the king has been regularly called upon to apologize, for example in February during the visit of Willem-Alexander, Queen Máxima and Crown Princess Amalia to the Caribbean part of the kingdom.

150 years ago

On July 1, 1863, slavery was abolished in Suriname and the Caribbean islands, which were then colonies of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Many of the enslaved were then obliged to work for another ten years, as compensation to the slave owners. As a result, slavery actually ended only in 1873. On July 1, 2023, that will be exactly 150 years ago.

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