Tijdschrift over Cultuur & Criminaliteit

Article

De achterkant van Vrijheid, Gelijkheid, Broederschap

Nederland en zijn slavernijverleden

Trefwoorden slavery, Dutch history, abolishment, Christianity, enlightenment
Auteurs prof. dr. Alex van Stipriaan
Auteursinformatie

300830 prof. dr. Alex van Stipriaan
prof. dr. A.A. (Alex) van Stipriaan is hoogleraar Caraïbische geschiedenis aan de Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam.
  • Samenvatting

      The central question of this contribution is whether slavery was considered in the Netherlands at the time as something normal, an argument which is often heard in debates about this phenomenon today. This paper shows that during the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, slavery was indeed something that happened far away from home, however, all the time voices could be heard in this country opposing at least the cruelties of the slave system, or even the basic incompatability of slavery and christianity. It even turned out to be a public problem with the hundreds of enslaved people who came over time with their owners from Suriname or the Dutch Antilles to this country, and after a while became free citizens, because in the Netherlands itself slavery was not allowed.
      During the second part of the eighteenth century in literary and political Dutch circles the individual voices against (the cruelties of) slavery turned more or less into a choir. These opponents of the system were obviously influenced by and often fervent supporters of the Enlightenment and its ideals for mankind of freedom, equality and brotherhood. Eventually, however, in 1797 the revolutionary Dutch National Assembly in its first constitution voted against an article meant to abolish slave trade and slavery in the near future. It took more than two generations to finally settle this question in 1863.

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