MPs travel to Suriname to talk about slavery history
Nine members of the Tweede Kamer have left for Suriname to delve into the colonial past of the Netherlands, before leaving on Tuesday for Curaçao and Bonaire with the same agenda. The trip will last until Aug. 21 and will serve as preparation for activities in 2023, the anniversary year of the abolition of slavery.
In Suriname, the MPs will visit Fort Zeelandia and the Frederiksdorp plantation. A meeting with President Chan Santokhi is also scheduled.
The delegation also met Armand Zunder, the chairman of the National Repair Commission. On the local news site Starnieuws, Zunder proposed that the Netherlands first apologize before talking about a recovery program. For him, it is also important that Suriname itself takes a position on the history of slavery, making apologies and reparations.
Prime Minister Mark Rutte will visit Suriname in September. He has already made it clear that he will not apologize to relatives of slaves from Suriname, the Antilles or Indonesia for the Netherlands' part in the slave trade.
The delegation will go to Curaçao for the commemoration of the slave revolt in 1795, where delegation leader Kiki Hagen (D66) will lay a wreath. And on Bonaire, the MPs hold various discussions about the slavery history, including with the Island Council.
In addition to Hagen, the tour group consists of Salima Belhaj (D66), Kati Piri (PvdA), Jesse Klaver (GroenLinks), Renske Leijten (SP), Inge van Dijk (CDA), Sylvana Simons (BIJ1), Don Ceder (CU) and Marieke Koekkoek (Volts).
Reporting by ANP