The King of Holland has ordered an investigation into the Dutch Royal Family’s role in the country’s colonial past. A human rights expert and three Dutch historians will spend the next three years carrying out research into the period from the late 16th century until the ‘post-colonial’ present, according to the Dutch government’s information service (RVD).
The RVD did not go into any more detail about how the researchers will be carrying out their work.
But in a statement from King Willem-Alexander he outlined why he has commissioned the investigation.
He said: “Profound knowledge of the past is essential to understand historical facts and developments and to see their impact on human beings and communities as clearly and honestly as possible.”
The announcement comes in the same month that The Guardian reports the Dutch government is set to apologise for its role in slavery during the country’s colonial past.
It is expected to allocate approximately £172million on a fund promoting awareness of the role that the colonial power had in slavery.
And it is set to spend £23million on a slavery museum.
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Earlier this year Holland’s central bank apologised for its role in the slave trade and said it would fund projects to raise awareness of slavery and to mitigate the effects it still has on people.
The Netherlands was a major player in the global slave trade until it abolished slavery in 1863.
Given that the 150th anniversary of the abolition is next year, advocacy groups for people in the former Dutch colony of Surinam and others are repeating their call for reparations for the descendants of enslaved people.