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HomeNewsRegional NewsNetherlands PM Rutte apologises for role of Dutch State in slavery

Netherlands PM Rutte apologises for role of Dutch State in slavery

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(Daily Herald) THE HAGUE–Prime Minister Mark Rutte on Monday apologised on behalf of the Dutch State for its historical role in slavery, and for consequences that he acknowledged continue into the present day. “Today, I apologise,” Rutte said, speaking at a nationally televised speech at the Dutch National Archives.

“For centuries the Dutch State and its representatives have enabled and stimulated slavery and have profited from it,” he added. “It is true that nobody alive today bears any personal guilt for slavery…[However – Ed.] the Dutch State bears responsibility for the immense suffering that has been done to those that were enslaved and their descendants.”

The apology comes amid a wider reconsideration of the country’s colonial past, including efforts to return looted art, and its current struggles with racism.

The prospect of an apology on a December afternoon in The Hague had been met with resistance from groups who say it should have come from King Willem-Alexander, in former colony Suriname, on July 1, 2023, the 160th anniversary of Dutch abolition.

“It takes two to tango – apologies have to be received,” said Roy Kaikusi Groenberg of the Honour and Recovery Foundation, a Dutch Afro-Surinamese organisation.

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