nl en
030 - 233 60 30

Slavery Memorial Year Background

Read this announcement in Dutch or in Papiamentu here. The announcement in Papiamento will follow soon.

Throughout the Dutch Slavery Memorial Year - which runs from 1 July 2023 to 1 July 2024 - special attention will be paid a year long to an important, painful and until very recently underexposed part of our shared history. With this context, the Government of the Netherlands is making € 2 million available for activities and initiatives that contribute to commemorating and celebrating the abolition of slavery in the Kingdom.

Through two subsidy schemes, organisations or individuals with ideas (either in groups or otherwise) are invited to organise social and/or cultural activities to commemorate the Dutch slavery past and broaden and share knowledge on that past.

Within the subsidy scheme of the Cultural Participation Fund, the focus is on participatory activities where the participants are actively involved. This subsidy is for initiatives wherein aspects of history and slavery are brought to the fore, that create educational material, stimulate healing processes or set up (international) cooperation between institutions. As such, the Fund wants to contribute to increasing knowledge and raising awareness and visibility of the slavery past, also for future generations.

This subsidy scheme, for which €1 million is being made available, is set to open for submissions around mid-January 2023. The Mondriaan Fund will open a subsidy scheme for the other €1 million in November 2022, where the focus will be on reception-oriented activities such as presentations, exhibitions and performances.

Slavery Memorial Year Background

The repercussions of the Dutch slavery past are still continuing to affect the present. By supporting various activities, education, participation projects and research, it is possible to raise awareness about the Dutch slavery past. Over the long term, this is valuable for communities and benefits society as a whole and its shared history.

For over 300 years, adults and children from parts of Africa were abducted and shipped across the Atlantic Ocean under degrading conditions - in most cases also by Dutch slave traders -to the former Dutch colonies: Suriname and the Caribbean islands of Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao, Saba, St. Eustatius and St. Maarten. The original inhabitants of the various Dutch colonies were not spared either. In Asia, enslaved people were traded to areas under the administration of the Dutch East India Company (VOC). People were born into slavery for generations. They were forced into slave labour throughout their lives, in the service of Dutch plantation owners.

On 1 July 1863, slavery was abolished by law in the former colonies of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, then Suriname and the Caribbean islands. Despite this, a large proportion of those enslaved had to continue working on the plantations under state supervision for another 10 years afterwards to curb the "damage of this measure" to the plantation owners. It was for this reason that for many in the former kingdom, slavery did not actually come to end until 1873. July 1, 2023 will mark 150 years since that time.

From 1858 until long after 1873, contract labour also subjected people from Asia to hard work in Suriname under Dutch colonial rule.

During the Slavery Memorial Year, the Kingdom of the Netherlands pauses to reflect on this painful history. And at how this history is still playing a negative role in people's lives today. The Government of the Netherlands supports initiatives by or in cooperation with the various groups and communities that have a relationship with the slavery past. This will make the Dutch Slavery Memorial Year a year that stems from society itself.

Would you like to be informed by email as soon as the subsidy scheme opens? Sign up here.

Read the news release and Q&A Government of the Netherlands - Commemoration Year here

Read more

If you have any questions, please contact one of the staff members below.

Dyonna Benett
Dyonna Benett
Subsidiecoördinator a.i.
Arie Koelemij
Arie Koelemij
06 112 054 47
Francisca Priem
Francisca Priem
06 501 992 06