The official commemoration ceremony is held every year at the National Monument to Slavery in Amsterdam’s Oosterpark. National commemoration and celebration of the abolition of slavery on July 1st
Keti Koti, Broken Chains | Abolition of Slavery, National Memorial and festivals
July 1 is the day of the National Commemoration of the Dutch Slavery Past. During the commemoration, the Netherlands will reflect on the very painful history of slavery. Since 2002, the National Institute of the Dutch Slavery History and Legacy (NiNsee) has been organizing the annual National Commemoration of the Dutch Slavery History on 1 July from 2:00 pm to 3:15 pm in the Oosterpark in Amsterdam.
In 2023 the National Commemoration is also the official start of the Slavery Past Commemoration Year and is attended by a delegation from the cabinet. The commemoration ceremony will start at 2 p.m. and will be broadcast live on National TV, NPO 1, BVN, and NOS.nl.
➔ Keti Koti Amsterdam, Oosterpark Amsterdam
Keti Koti Festivals in the Netherlands
Keti Koti commemorations and festive events take place throughout the country where you can enjoy delicious Surinamese music, food, non-food, and dance. Most Keti Koti commemorations are on June 30th and most Keti Koti festivals are on July 1st.
➔ Keti Koti Festival Amsterdam, Museumplein Amsterdam 1 July from 13.00 hours till 23.00 hours.
➔ Keti Koti Festival Rotterdam, broken chains, several celebration locations
➔ Keti Koti Festival Alkmaar
➔ Keti Koti Festival Africa Museum, Berg and Dal, Nijmegen
➔ Keti Koti Festival Utrecht
Besides the Keto Koti festival, there are other festivals in the Netherlands that focus on African and Caribbean cultures and traditions, with music, dance, art, fashion, and different cuisines from these regions. One of the main goals of these festivals is to promote cultural exchange and understanding and to provide a platform for the African and Caribbean communities in the Netherlands to celebrate their heritage.
KWAKU SUMMER FESTIVAL, AMSTERDAM
The Kwaku Summer Festival is an annual event that occurs during the summer months, usually from late July to early August. It is organized in Amsterdam’s Southeast district, attracting a diverse crowd from different cultural backgrounds. During the Kwaku Summer Festival, visitors can expect live performances, concerts, sports events, market stalls, and a vibrant and lively atmosphere. The Kwaku Summer Festival is a grand celebration of cultural diversity and identity, with culture, sports, and food as the main forms of expression and where broad social participation and Surinamese origins are the most important pillars. The Kwaku Summer Festival is organized at Nelson Mandela Park, Bijlmer, Zuidoost Amsterdam.
➔ Kwaku Summer Festival, Amsterdam
REGGAE LAKE FESTIVAL, AMSTERDAM
The Reggae Lake Festival in Amsterdam is an annual music festival dedicated to reggae, ska, and dance hall music. The festival features a diverse lineup of renowned reggae artists, both local and international, who perform on multiple stages throughout the event. Attendees can expect to enjoy a mix of classic reggae hits, contemporary tracks, and other related genres. The festival has a vibrant atmosphere, with food stalls, craft vendors, and various activities that celebrate the reggae culture. It’s a great opportunity for reggae enthusiasts to come together, dance, and immerse themselves in the spirit of this popular music genre. The Reggae Lake festival at Gaasperplas, Bijlmer, Amsterdam.
➔ Reggae Lake Festival Amsterdam
Dutch Apology for the Role of The Netherlands in the History of Slavery
What a painful and shameful past the Netherlands has. I can’t even imagine how it feels to be owned by another person, to have no rights at all, to work very hard under extremely bitter conditions, to have non so ever any possessions, no future, and to be humiliated, and exploited.
The Dutch played a very big and significant role in the transatlantic slave trade. Especially in Suriname and the Caribbean Islands Aruba, Curacao, St Maarten, Bonaire, St Eustatius, and Saba, the former Dutch colonies.
On 19 December 2022, Prime Minister Mark Rutte apologized for the past actions of the Dutch State: to enslaved people in the past, everywhere in the world, who suffered as a consequence of those actions, as well as to their daughters and sons, and to all their descendants, up to the present day.
➔ Apology by the Dutch Prime Minister for the Dutch role in slavery
The Prime Minister of the Netherlands gave the apology at the National Archives in The Hague, in the presence of representatives of organizations that have pressed for acknowledgment of the effects of slavery.
About 17.5 million people live in the Netherlands, about 345,000 people are of Surinamese descent, and more than 130,000 people have an Antillean or Aruban background.
The Abolition of slavery
Suriname and the Caribbean islands are former Dutch colonies. Slavery was gradually abolished in the Dutch colonies. The Netherlands was one of the first countries to abolish the slave trade in 1814, but slavery itself was not abolished in the Dutch colonies until much later. Suriname only abolished slavery in 1863. In the Dutch Caribbean, including Curacao and the Netherlands Antilles, slavery was only abolished between 1863 and 1865. In 2023 it is 150 years
Descendants of former slaves
Many descendants of former slaves or female slaves live in the Netherlands. The legacy of Dutch slavery can still be felt, in the Netherlands but especially in Suriname and the Caribbean islands that were once Dutch colonies. Many former Surinamese live in the Netherlands, and many of them feel social and economic inequality. Many of these former Surinamese are descendants of enslaved Africans who were transported to Suriname against their will.
In recent years, there has been increased recognition and discussion of Dutch involvement in slavery, and efforts have been made to confront and address this history. The Netherlands has engaged in initiatives to acknowledge the country’s role in the slave trade and its consequences, including the establishment of museums, research projects, and public discussions aimed at promoting understanding and reconciliation.
If you like to know more about Dutch Slavery History you should visit the Africa Museum near the city of Nijmegen.
➔ Africa Museum