SK A 4024
the publication

State and Slavery is published by Uitgeverij Athenaeum on 15 June 2023. The publication calls upon the representatives of the Dutch state to make room for ongoing dialogue and the possibility of reparation in 2023, a year that is dedicated to the commemoration of the slavery past.

Afbeelding brandes2 website (2)
Portret van Maria van Oranje, Jan Mijtens, 1665, collectie Mauritshuis

The four parts of State and Slavery

This richly illustrated book shows the many ways in which the Dutch state and its predecessors were involved in the colonial slavery past. In over four hundred pages, more than thirty authors discuss important aspects of Dutch colonial slavery.

The book consists of four parts. Part 1 discusses contemporary issues around the history of slavery. Part 2 explores the abolition of slavery and the effects this had on colonial society. It shows how new forms of exploitation developed as a result of abolition. Part 3 focuses on the global impact the Dutch colonial slavery past has had on societies in Africa, Asia, and North- and South-Americas. The final part goes furthest back in time and looks at the early formation of colonialism and slavery. The editors have also invited the artists Iris Kensmil, patricia kaersenhout, Theo Frids Hutabarat and Brian Elstak to reflect on the history of slavery. Their work precedes each separate part of the book. 

Staat en slavernij boek mockup

Central questions:

  • What were the economic, political, and social conditions of slavery? What were the consequences and repercussions of the involvement of the Dutch state and society in the slavery past?

  • How did enslaved people, administrators, and entrepreneurs in colonized societies respond to the slavery past and its afterlives in the past and present?
  • How can we create space for restoration and healing?

State and Slavery contains chapters on the role of the Reformed Church; (the lack of) attention to slavery in history education in the Netherlands and the former colonies; the involvement of the House of Orange-Nassau; the role of the States General in the history of slavery; and the effects of Dutch colonial policy from Brazil and Indonesia to South India.

The authors

Markus Balkenhol, Ulbe Bosma, Pepijn Brandon, Jan Breman, Titas Chakraborty, Kate Ekama, Tom van der Geugten, Helmut Gezius, Jeanne Henriquez, Nicole Immler, Nancy Jouwe, Marjoleine Kars, Michiel van Kempen, Ellen Klinkers, Lauren Lauret, Andrea Mosterman, Kwame Nimako, Erik Odegard, Jeroen Puttevils, Charles do Rego, Matthias van Rossum, Alicia Schrikker, Valika Smeulders, Alex van Stipriaan, Martijn Stoutjesdijk, Raymund Schütz, Joris van den Tol, Arthur Weststeijn and many others.

The extent of state involvement

Dutch institutions deliberately made slavery the foundation of colonial rule in Africa, the Americas and Asia. The Dutch state and its predecessors were directly responsible: they made policies and controlled and supported initiatives that made colonial slavery possible. Predecessors of contemporary institutions, such as the States Generals, the navy, the church and the royal family, played a prominent role in this process. Colonial slavery contributed to the Dutch economic prosperity and led to structural changes in previously colonized society and societies from which people were enslaved. The afterlives of slavery and colonialism, in the form of for example racialization, legal inequality and cultural slighting, continue to this day. The clear connection between the colonial past and present day inequalities deserves much more research.

You can buy the book at your local bookstore or order it at the publisher’s website

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