King of the Netherlands Apologizes for Slavery
On the 150th anniversary of the abolition of slavery, the King of the Netherlands has apologized for the injustice committed during that time. Willem-Alexander expressed his heartfelt apology for the wrongdoing against hundreds of thousands of people.
The King of the Netherlands has asked for forgiveness for the injustice inflicted upon hundreds of thousands of people during the period of slavery. His apology comes from the deepest depths of his heart and soul, said Willem-Alexander during an event in Amsterdam commemorating the 150th anniversary of the abolition of slavery.
"Of all forms of unfreedom, slavery is the most degrading and inhumane," he stated. By publicly and personally apologizing, the King has joined Prime Minister Mark Rutte's previous apology on behalf of the Netherlands and the monarchy, to resounding applause. He continued, "Today, I stand before you as your King and as part of the government. Today, I apologize myself."
The Netherlands belonged to the largest colonial powers
At the behest of Willem-Alexander, an investigation into the role of the House of Orange-Nassau during the colonial era was initiated at the end of 2022. Another inquiry published in June had already revealed that the King's ancestors profited from slavery with a present-day value of 545 million euros.
The Netherlands were one of the largest colonial powers from the 17th century onwards. Over a span of more than 200 years, they enslaved an estimated 600,000 people and transported them on Dutch ships from Africa to the other side of the Atlantic.
Approximately 75,000 of them did not survive the journey, as the King explained. Officially, the kingdom abolished slavery on July 1, 1863, as one of the last countries in Europe. However, many slaves were forced to work on plantations for another ten years. Therefore, July 1, 1873, is recognized as the day of the abolition of slavery, which marks its 150th anniversary this year.