Rotterdam apologizes for slavery past
On Friday, mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb of Rotterdam apologized on behalf of the office of mayor and alderpersons for the Rotterdam city government's participation in the system of colonialism and slavery since 1600, NOS reports.
The apology follows an investigation into Rotterdam's role in the colonial trade, slave trade, and slavery. The results, published late last year, showed that in the 17th and 18th centuries, Rotterdam administrators had close ties with the trading companies. And 19th-century trade in the Dutch East Indies boosted the city's growth as a world port.
Aboutaleb deliberately chose today, December 10, to make Rotterdam's apology because it is International Human Rights Day. He and the alderpersons see an important connection between this apology and human rights in the present.
Rotterdam is the second of the four large Dutch cities to apologize for its role in the history of slavery. Amsterdam did so on July 1. The Hague and Utrecht also commissioned investigations into the city governments' role in the colonial past. The national government won't apologize, Prime Minister Mark Rutte said last year.