Tropenmuseum announces interactive monument of names for enslaved people
The Tropenmuseum in Amsterdam is launching an interactive monument of names for hundreds of thousands of enslaved people on June 23. Visitors can use the digital monument to see the names of enslaved people, the relationships they had with each other, and their personal stories. The Digital Names Monument contains almost 200,000 names and will be supplemented as more names become known, NU.nl reports.
The Tropenmuseum wants the monument to showcase the social connections of enslaved people "despite the attempt to dehumanize the enslaved," a spokesperson for the museum said to the newspaper. "The aim is to give invisible history a face. Showing the humanity of enslaved people who had to live in an inhumane system."
The museum calls the Digital Names Monument "a tribute to enslaved people in Suriname, Curacao, and Indonesia." The monument consists of two parts: a large projection and touchscreens with which visitors can search through the names. If visitors click on a name, they will see more information about the person behind the name, including other people in the monument they were connected with, like parents, children, or other people who lived on the same plantation.
The National Institute of Dutch Slavery History and Legacy (NiNsee) is enthusiastic about the monument. "This brings these enslaved people back to life and gains recognition," chairman Linda Nooitmeer said to NU.nl. "This is grand in its smallness."
According to the National Archives, the Netherlands transported some 550,000 African people to work as enslaved people in its colonies. About 90,000 of them did not survive the transportation. The Netherlands was one of the last countries to abolish slavery in its colonies on 1 July 1863. The Cabinet never officially apologized for the Dutch slavery past, but several municipalities apologized for their role in it. Amsterdam was first to do so last year, followed by Rotterdam and Utrecht. They call for a national holiday to commemorate slavery.