Netherlands commemorates Slavery Remembrance Day
The Netherlands will commemorate the abolition of slavery in its kingdom on Thursday. The commemoration ceremony will take place at the National Monument of Dutch Slavery Past in Amsterdam's Oosterpark at 1:00 p.m. As there are still some coronavirus restrictions in place, the ceremony will only be open to invited guests and will be broadcast live. For the same reason, the Keti Koti festival after the commemoration will not take place this year.
On Slavery Remembrance Day, the Netherlands commemorates two dates: 1 July 1863 and 1 July 1873. The first is the day on which the Kingdom of the Netherlands officially abolished slavery in Suriname and the former Dutch Antilles. But for the next decade, some freed people were still forced to work on the plantations in Suriname.
While the Netherlands banned the slave trade in 1814, 1 July 1873 marks the actual date where enslaved people became free, according to NiNsee, the national institute for Dutch slavery history and heritage.
This year there are also some extra initiatives around Keti Koti in the Netherlands, including a theater event in which theaters and art institutions throughout the country will tell stories about the Netherlands' colonial and slavery past, and its impact on Dutch society today. In Amsterdam, a number of primary schools arranged breakfasts where kids from different districts can get together to talk about this topic.
The four large Dutch cities - Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Utrecht, and The Hague - recently called for Keti Koti to be turned into a national holiday. FunX DJ Fernando Halman, The Black Archives, and the Nederland Wordt Beter Foundation together launched a petition calling for the same, as well as for the Netherlands to formally apologize for the Dutch role in slavery.