The Hague to also investigate city's slavery history
Like the other three large cities before it, The Hague is now also launching an investigation into the city's historical ties with slavery. Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague and Utrecht called on the next cabinet to launch a national investigation into the Netherlands' history of slavery.
Gert Oostindie, director of the Leiden historical research institute KITLV, confirmed The Hague investigation to Trouw. "The contract has not yet been formally received, but it is correct," he said. The investigation will also include the colonial past of the city. But this investigation is difficult to limit to just once city - especially The Hague's past quickly touches on national history, Oostindie said. "The States General and the Ministry of Colonies were located here. The Hague was residence of city holders and kings."
The cities therefore want a national investigation. "The knowledge now is very fragmentary. An integrated study would provide a much clearer picture of the scale and impact of slavery," Groot Wassink said. "In the words of historian Alex van Stipriaan, who was involved in the Rotterdam research, Culemborg and Borculo also have a colonial past."
The VVD, the largest party in parliament and therefore likely to be in the next cabinet, is not eager to launch a national investigation into the Netherlands' slavery past. "With all proposals on this theme, the VVD will assess whether they bring us further or rather set people against each other," a spokesperson for the party said to Trouw.
In a lobby letter last week, aldermen of the four cities also pleaded for "annual attention to be paid to the Dutch slavery history" in the form of a national holiday. Maybe on July 1, on Keti Koti. To "commemorate the victims and celebrate the abolition" of slavery, Rutger Groot Wassink, GroenLinks alderman in Amsterdam said to the newspaper.
The VVD is also not in favor of a national holiday to commemorate slavery. "A national holiday on which people can commemorate to their own choice may be an option," the spokesperson said. "For the time being, we have planned a national commemoration in 2023, around 150 years of the abolition of slavery."