Dutch commemorate slavery past for the first time
The first formal commemoration of the Dutch slavery epoch will take place on Monday and Tuesday.30 June 2008
AMSTERDAM - The city of Amsterdam and the Dutch government plan to commemorate on Monday and Tuesday the abolition of slavery in the Netherlands 145 years ago.
Between 2,000 and 3,000 people were expected to attend the ceremony in Amsterdam on Monday.
On Tuesday, several thousand were expected to attend the national commemoration ceremony where Amsterdam Mayor Job Cohen and Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende were also due to be present.
It is the first formal commemoration of the Dutch slavery epoch, that lasted until 1864 during the royal Dutch empire.
At the time the Dutch empire included, among others, the colonies of Surinam and the Antilles.
Dutch colonists took some 600,000 Ghanaians into slavery in its colonies in the Antilles and Suriname.
The city of Amsterdam played a key role in the Netherlands' colonial past, including the slave trade.
After Surinam became independent in 1975, hundreds of thousands of its citizens came to the Netherlands. Today, some 330,000 people from Surinam live in the Netherlands.
The Antilles are still part of the Dutch empire, with an autonomous status comparable to Dutch provinces in the Netherlands.
Some 130,000 Dutch nationals from the Antilles live in the Netherlands.
[dpa / Expatica]
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