Willem-Alexander asks for patience regarding investigation into colonial past

April 28, 2023  –ROTTERDAM – King Willem-Alexander has asked for patience so that an independent investigation can take place into the role of the royal family in colonial history. The king did this during his visit on King’s Day in conversation with several residents of Rotterdam, including singer Natascha Slagtand. 

The king commissioned an independent investigation into the role of the royal family in colonial history at the end of last year. The investigation takes three years and is being carried out by Leiden University, the RVD reported in December. 

On Thursday, the king discussed this topic with Slagtand and several others at Afrikaanderplein. Slagtand called the government’s apology for the history of slavery offered at the end of December of incredible importance and a beautiful step. 

According to her, there is a lot of attention on the king on July 1st to see if he also offers apologies. On that day, the abolition of slavery is commemorated and celebrated with Keti Koti. 

The king replied that we do not know exactly what happened. That is why he considers an investigation important. He asked for patience to await the outcome of the investigation. Let the right research be done, then we can move forward. 

He continued by saying that he has no problem with the investigation taking place. “Nothing sticks to me,” he said, “but the history does.” The king does not want to interfere with the independent investigation. Especially when you have yourself investigated, you should stay as far away from it as possible to make it as objective as possible. 

Willem-Alexander said that the consequences of the slave trade are visible in society. He emphasized the importance of addressing inequality of opportunity. “My point has always been that if you don’t solve inequality and discrimination today, you can’t come to terms with the past either.” 

In his Christmas speech, Willem-Alexander said: “In the past year, my wife and I have talked to people of all ages about this subject, including descendants of people who lived in slavery a few generations ago. In the coming commemoration year, this will remain our focus. We will remain involved.” 

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