The Committee makes it clear that this is not to provide financial compensation. The Advisory Board concludes that compensation has been researched but that it was too long ago and there is no legal basis for this. For example, money from the rescue fund should be used for a national museum.
Apologies from the government, not from individuals
The subject of the apology is discussed in detail in the statement. The Advisory Council emphasizes that this is not an apology from individuals, but rather about the state as a whole. As the “legal heir of the former Netherlands”, the Advisory Council believes that it is up to the current Cabinet to apologize for “directly or indirectly permitting” slavery and the slave trade.
“This is not a question of referring to individuals as criminals, but of the recognition by the Dutch government of the suffering caused by slavery.” The panel would like to point out that countries such as Germany, Belgium, France, the United Kingdom and the United States are leading the way.
Outgoing Interior Minister Olongren received the report of the advisory committee. According to her, the document is “an important first step in broadly recognizing and embedding our shared past”.
The report makes an important contribution to the public debate, Olongren said. “One more step will be taken in this regard. It is up to the new cabinet to come up with a substantial response to the advice on what and how.”
The Advisory Board marks 2023 as an important year. On July 1, 1873, ex-slaves were systematically freed from working on the plantations (slavery was formally abolished ten years ago). One hundred and fifty years after that date, the recovery fund must come into effect.
D66 and Cronlinks proposed to make 2023 National Remembrance Day. Outgoing Prime Minister Rutte said it was a good idea. The Advisory Council considers 1 July 2023 to be a “beautiful, symbolic date”.