June 19, 2023 –THE HAGUE – Prime Minister Mark Rutte is not impressed by a study that reveals that the royal family earned a significant part of its fortune from the former colonies and the slave trade. Rutte stated in his weekly press conference that it was already known that the Netherlands played a significant role in the slave trade, and during that time, the Oranges and the State were closely intertwined.
The research, commissioned by the Ministry of the Interior and at the request of the House of Representatives, indicates that the Oranges earned at least 545 million euros from the Dutch colonies where slavery was widespread. This amount has been adjusted for current value. However, Rutte argues that this research does not provide new insights into this dark period in Dutch history.
According to the Prime Minister, the suggestion that the Oranges amassed a significant portion of their wealth through the slave trade is an oversimplified view of history. He argues that this gives the impression that the Oranges enriched themselves as a private entity, while distinguishing between the royal family and the state was extremely difficult until 1795 and also during the period from 1813 to 1848.
When asked whether King Willem-Alexander should offer his own apologies during the commemoration of the abolition of slavery on July 1 in Amsterdam, Rutte declined to comment. He emphasized that the king himself requested a further independent investigation. Previously, in December, Rutte had already offered apologies on behalf of the government for the role of the Netherlands in the slave trade.