A majority of the city council in Vlissingen wants the city to apologize for the city’s slavery past. The bill was passed by a narrow majority tonight.
A majority in the city council of ChristenUnie, SP, GroenLinks, PvdA, D66 and Local Party Vlissingen (LPV) wants Vlissingen to apologize for its slavery past, just like Middelburg and Amsterdam.
In contrast to Amsterdam and Utrecht, for example, where the initiative came from the mayor and aldermen, in Vlissingen the issue has been submitted to the municipal council. It turned out to be divided to the bone. In the end, the proposal was adopted with fourteen votes in favor and twelve against, writes Omroep Zeeland.
Between 1750 and 1780 ‘leader in the Dutch slave trade’
In June 2021, research was carried out on behalf of the municipality into the slavery past of Vlissingen. This showed that Vlissingen played an important role in the slave trade, particularly in the second half of the eighteenth century.
Between 1750 and 1780 Vlissingen ships transported about 60,000 enslaved people. “This made the Scheldt city by far the leader in the Dutch slave trade,” the researchers write. Researchers estimate that about a quarter of the local economy was tied to the slave trade at the time.
The city council wants the city to apologize on July 1. Apologies must also be made for the “insufficient and one-sided attention to the slavery past in recent decades and, as a result, for the insufficiently shown understanding for the feelings and descendants of the enslaved”, the decision reads.
The college of mayor and aldermen is further requested to express the apologies “in public” on behalf of the municipal council.
Prime Minister Rutte has previously apologized for the slavery past on behalf of the Dutch state. In a speech at the National Archives in The Hague, Rutte said the apologies are “for the actions of the Dutch state in the past. Posthumously to all enslaved people worldwide who have suffered from those actions. To their daughters and sons and all their descendants to the here and now.”
- Memorial monument in The Hague for the transatlantic slavery past
- Rutte made excuses for slavery in four languages, read the main points here
- Mayor apologizes for slavery past The Hague