Amsterdam city council wants slavery memorial day to be a nat’l holiday

The National Slavery Monument (2002) by Surinam artist Erwin de Vries (1929) Joop Reuvecamp/flickr

The Amsterdam city council wants July 1, Slavery Remembrance Day in the Netherlands, to be a national holiday, according to a motion submitted by the local PvdA. The motion is supported by GroenLinks, DENK, Bij1, SP, PvdD, and ChristenUnie. Together they hold a majority of 26 of the 45 seats in the city council, AD reports.

PvdA city councilor Nenita la Rose called this proposal very necessary. "In the Netherlands there is still denial or trivialization of the colonial past and its consequences for the survivors. We have held on to a safe opinion for too long," she said.

According to her, the fatal arrest of George Floyd in the United States and the worldwide Black Lives Matter protests that followed showed that more and more people are opening their eyes to the issues of institutionalized racism and discrimination. 

"In the Netherlands there is institutional racism, look at the actions of the Tax Authority," La Rose said to AD. "Our colonial past has laid the foundation for this racism. Slavery has led to oppression and unequal treatment. We see that more and more people recognize this. That is why it is tie for political action."