King of the Netherlands apologizes for slavery

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Status: 07/01/2023 4:17 p.m

On the 150th anniversary of the abolition of slavery, the King of the Netherlands asked for forgiveness. He apologizes from the bottom of his heart for the injustice to hundreds of thousands of people, said Willem-Alexander.

The King of the Netherlands has asked forgiveness for the wrongs done to hundreds of thousands of people during slavery. His apology comes from the bottom of his heart and soul, Willem-Alexander said at an event in Amsterdam to mark the 150th anniversary of the abolition of slavery.

“Of all forms of bondage, slavery is the most degrading and inhumane,” he said. The king has now personally and publicly endorsed an apology that Prime Minister Mark Rutte made on behalf of the Netherlands and the king at the end of last year. To loud applause he continued: “Today I stand before you as your king and as part of the government. Today I apologize myself”.

Netherlands was among the largest colonial powers

At the end of 2022, Willem-Alexander commissioned an investigation into the role of the royal house of Oranje-Nassau during the colonial period. Another study, published in June, had already shown that the king’s ancestors benefited from slavery worth €545 million today.

The Netherlands were one of the largest colonial powers from the 17th century. In more than 200 years, they enslaved an estimated 600,000 people and transported them from Africa to the other side of the Atlantic on Dutch ships.

About 75,000 of them did not survive the crossing, as the king explained. Officially, the kingdom was one of the last countries in Europe to abolish slavery on July 1, 1863.



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