Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte does not want to apologize for the slavery past of the Netherlands. He says that apologies do not help the social debate any further, but rather lead to polarization.
“It is not a strange request,” says the prime minister. But it will fuel the contradictions in society, while he believes that connection is necessary in the discussion. Although he does recognize that ‘there are people who will benefit’ from apologies from the government. “It’s a struggle.”
Rutte is in favor of a commemorative year on slavery in 2023. In that year it was exactly 150 years ago that Dutch slavery came to an end. The official abolition was in 1863, but slaves had to work for ten years on the plantations in Suriname and the Netherlands Antilles.
Coalition parties D66 and ChristenUnie argued for apologies on Wednesday, but it immediately became clear that this proposal did not have enough support in the House of Representatives. CDA does not immediately see the need for apologies and VVD and opposition parties PVV, SGP and Forum for Democracy do not want it.
The House of Representatives debates racism in the Netherlands following the American protests against racism, which flared up after the death of black American George Floyd due to police brutality. Wednesday was also the Surinamese holiday Keti Koti, on which the abolition of slavery is celebrated.