Central Bank Chief Klaas Knot: “Many of my predecessors saw commodities where people were concerned”
Photo: Koen Van Weel / dpa
The Dutch Central Bank (DNB) has apologized for its role in slavery in the past.
At the national commemoration in Amsterdam for the abolition of slavery, bank president Klaas Knot asked for forgiveness from the families of all those who were once enslaved by the Netherlands.
"On behalf of the Netherlands Bank, I recognize that many of my predecessors saw commodities where people were concerned," Knot said.
Many had long defended slavery, and the bank itself traded in capital from the slave trade.
"I apologize to all those people who have been reduced to their skin color by the personal decisions of my predecessors."
15 million euros for projects
The bank also announced that it intends to allocate a total of 15 million euros to alleviate the consequences of slavery.
It is about projects in the Netherlands and former colonies of Suriname and the Caribbean islands.
It is expressly not about direct reparations, a decision about it lies with the government, it said.
In February, the bank published a study on its own role in slavery.
From this it became clear that the bank and its management were personally and economically closely linked to human trafficking.
One of the conclusions drawn by the researchers at Leiden University was that the seed capital of the DNB, founded in 1814, came in part from entrepreneurs with a direct interest in plantation slavery.
Some central bank executives were themselves involved in the administration of plantations, and represented the interests of slaveholders to the government.
When slavery was abolished in Suriname and the Caribbean part of the kingdom in 1863, three then-DNB directors received financial compensation for the damage they had suffered as a result.