Published On: Fri, Jan 27th, 2023

Dutch politicians oppose reparations

THE HAGUE — The Netherlands will not pay reparations to descendants of slaves in the Caribbean, the Telegraaf reported on Thursday. Minister Bruins Slot (Home Affairs) made a statement to this extent during a debate in the Second Chamber, the Dutch parliament. The Netherlands will however set up a fund of €200 million ($218) that will remain available for several years. Descendants of slaves will get the opportunity to take part in discussions about the way this money should be spent.

Bruins Slot repeated that the Netherlands is not going to pay reparations, after Prime Minister Mark Rutte made a similar statement in December of last year. Several left-wing political parties urged the government to make additional financial compensation available. But the CDA-Minister sticks to an awareness fund, that will get a one-time financial injection of €200 million.

The fund is evenly split in two parts that both hold €100 million. The first part is a subsidy-regulation with a low threshold. The other part is available for research. “Together with the descendants of enslaved people we will design this fund,” Bruins Slot said.

Prime Minister Rutte rejected the call for reparations by several opposition-parties. This would only ‘judicify’ the apologies, Rutte said. “It only muddles and causes delays, you end up in the trenches of parliamentary debates.” The outcome could even be an annulment of the apologies. “While right now these apologies have been made by the government.”

The parliament debated mainly about money during a debate about the history of slavery. A part of the parliament criticizes the creation of an awareness fund, while another part wants the government to pay more to the descendants of enslaved people.

“For us reparations are a no-go,” said VVD-MP Van Strien.

From left to right parliamentarians praised the apologies Rutte made on December 19 of last year, but the opinions about the consequences vary.  The VVD demands that the government informs the parliament about whom it will give the money “to prevent that it ends up with all kinds of questionable clubs. Right now we are asked to issue a blank check.”

Van Strien previously labeled the awareness fund as insanity, but now he is only asking some questions about it.

It looks like the fund will get the support from a majority in the Dutch parliament, even though some parties are asking for more money. Coalition-party D66 did not want to judge this issue, though MP Belhaj expressed support for structural funding for awareness. She did not want to say in which form this should take place. “I would find it a pity if this is only about money,” she said. “That this has had financial implications is a sideshow. Very few people have talked about it. I find it uncomfortable. That is all I want to say about it.”

Christian Union-MP Ceder is also holding his horses. “We should not decide today about the fund, we must have a debate with the stakeholders about it.”

BBB-leader Caroline van der Plas does not want to pay anything at all and she is firmly opposed to the awareness fund. “There are an enormous number of pots for subsidies. You cannot give a subsidy of €200 million in a time when people are unable to pay their bills.”

MP Van Haga severely criticized the actions of the cabinet. “What else are we going to apologize for? We should not let us be pushed by wokism and misplaced victimhood.”

The PVV shares this opinion. JA21-faction leader Joost Eerdmans stated that this is about enforces apologies whereby it is first and foremost about money.

The Dutch parliament debated on Wednesday about the apologies of the government for the history of slavery. Rutte offered those apologies on December 19 of last year, while seven other ministers went to the Caribbean and to Suriname for talks about the issue.


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