Six months after the Prime Minister's apology, the King of the Netherlands also wanted to apologize for the colonial period and for slavery.
Last December, King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands requested the opening of an investigation to shed light on the role of the royal family of Orange in the colonial policy of the Netherlands. While, for its part, the government of its country announced an official apology to come for the participation of Holland in the transatlantic slave trade. At the same time, he announced the creation of a fund of 200 million euros "for the transmission of this slavery past" and the creation of a museum on slavery.
A strong gesture, already at the time, when only cities like Amsterdam or The Hague – as well as the Dutch Central Bank – had apologized for slavery. For the Dutch state, this was a first. And, this Saturday, King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands went even further by presenting his official apology. “As king and member of the government”, the king made a point of “presenting (his) personal apologies”, at the Oosterpark in Amsterdam, in front of hundreds, even thousands, of descendants of slaves from Suriname, from Aruba, Bonaire or Curaçao.
Willem-Alexander's statement is a strong message. Firstly because it has a national scope, the king having personally involved himself in the plan of reflection on the colonial and slavery past of the Netherlands, where other European countries, such as France, are more cautious . However, the story speaks for itself: in all, nearly 600 Africans were forced to join South America and the Caribbean, with Dutch colonization. The royal speech, six months after Prime Minister Mark Rutte issued the government's official apology, shows that the Netherlands wants to move on. The latter had even spoken of a "crime against humanity" to evoke the slavery past of the Netherlands.
The fact remains that, from now on, if the descendants of slaves or the African countries concerned consider that the royal apologies are a first step towards reconciliation, they are also expecting compensation.