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The Hague, July 2 – Dutch King Willem-Alexander has apologised for the first time for the country’s slavery past at an event to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the end of slavery in Dutch colonies.
“I apologise as your King and as part of the government,” the King said on Saturday in the Oosterpark in Amsterdam.
“And these apologies are intensely experienced by me with heart and soul.”
“Of all forms of lack of freedom, slavery is the most hurtful, the most degrading,” the King added.
“We carry with us the horror of the slavery past. The consequences can still be felt today in racism in our society.”
The King also mentioned the role of the royal family in slavery, which is under investigation since December last year, Xinhua news agency reported.
“But today, on this day of remembrance, I ask forgiveness for the clear failure to act in the face of this crime against humanity.”
The words were received with loud cheers by the hundreds of people present, including Prime Minister Mark Rutte.
In December 2022 Rutte apologised on behalf of the Dutch government for what was done to the enslaved people.
Saturday marked the start of a commemorative year, as 150 years ago slavery came to an end in all Dutch colonies — 10 years after the official abolition of slavery in the Dutch Kingdom in 1863.