In observance of the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade, an exhibition entitled Slavery: Ten True Stories of Dutch Colonial Slavery opened one week ago ( tuesday 28 feb) at United Nations Headquarters.
The exhibition has been made possible through partnership of the United Nations Outreach Programme on the Transatlantic Slave Trade and Slavery, with the Rijksmuseum and the Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the UN.
The Head of History at the Rijksmuseum, Dr. Valika Smeulders said, “we wanted to show through this exhibition that this history belongs to all of us. It’s national history. It’s about your ancestors. My ancestors. It’s about a people who were part of the system, the people who were enslaved and the people who fought against it. ”Smeulders said, “we’re hoping that these ten stories that we gathered will be the beginning of a larger conversation with millions of stories, because we understand that this is at least 250 years of history and a large, large region that we have to speak about. So, by bringing this out in the open, we are building a common future.”
Originally curated and displayed in 2021 by Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum, the Netherlands’ national museum of art and history, the adapted version of the Rijksmuseum’s Slavery exhibition will be open to the public from 27 February to 30 March in the Visitors’ Lobby of the United Nations Headquarters.
Smeulders said, “when George Floyd died and all of the Black Lives Matter movements around the world showed that we need to take a harder and more critical look at slavery, that this really pushed us forward to bring this to the fore.”
The Ten True Stories exhibition focuses on slavery in the Dutch colonial era, from the seventeenth to the nineteenth century — in Brazil, Suriname and the Caribbean, as well as in South Africa, Asia and the Netherlands itself. It presents 10 true personal stories of people who were enslaved, people who profited from the system of slavery and people who raised their voices against it.