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The Netherlands

Protestors on royal visit demand reparations

The King and Queen of the Netherlands, as well as the Princess of Orange, are currently on tour in the Dutch Caribbean.

This is the Princess of Orange’s first tour, and she has jumped in and taken to her royal duties. The tour is not without controversy, though, as protestors have demanded reparations for slavery under Dutch rule. 

A group of indigenous protestors part of the group, Aruban Warriors, were waiting for the royal party in San Nicolas with banners and signs. They gave a list of demands to the State Secretary of Kingdom Relations, Alexandra van Huffelen, who agreed to give their document to the King. 

The group is demanding that the Dutch government provide financial compensation for the gold that was stolen under Dutch rule so that it can be invested in scholarships for indigenous youths, research, and health insurance. 

A protestor, Giselle Sint Jago, interrupted a lecture in Aruba in an attempt to hand deliver a request for an official apology and for reparations to be made to the descendants of slaves. Sint Jago was escorted out of the hall before she was able to meet King Willem-Alexander. 

In early December 2022, Willem-Alexander announced that he was commissioning an independent study on the role of the Dutch Royal Family in Dutch colonialism. The study is being led by Professor Emeritus of Colonial and Postcolonial History at Leiden University, Gert Oostindie. The research is due to published publicly in 2026. 

On 19 December 2022, the Dutch Prime Minister, Mark Rutte, issued an apology on behalf of the Dutch government for the Netherlands’ history of slavery. He specifically noted that he did not believe that the monarch should be involved in the apology as it is a politically fraught statement; the monarch is a “symbol of the unity of the country,” and he didn’t “want to draw them into the political debate.”

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