Bonaire prominently present at opening of Slavery Exposition in The Netherlands

GRONINGEN/KRALENDIJK-  Thursday saw the opening of the exhibition ‘Slavernij. And the Groningers?’ which was opened in the Museum aan de A in the Northern city of Groningen.

A special feature of the opening was the prominent presence of a Bonerian delegation. One of the keynote speakers was Delno Tromp, who gave a short synopsis of the shared past of the slave traders and the enslaved.

Tromp spoke about the fact that the history of Bonaire and other islands was, above all, a history of ‘emancipation’, of liberation, of a rough journey to become a fully-fledged human beings. “Emancipation is a work-in-progress. This is what the exhibition serves above all, for students to seniors: let it make tangible what we have shed little by little – that is already a lot, let it be said! – and what we are still trying to shed with ballast from the past”.

Tromp also indicated that islands still carry many elements of the past with them. “The humiliations that come with slavery, and the accompanying fear of new humiliations, also appear to be passed down from generation to generation and wear out just as hard. We have one word for it: sSame. It was even frequently pasted on our Afro-Antillean societies: shame cultures (as if there were no ‘shame’ elsewhere, in the Netherlands for example). In short, we also continued to carry the necessary burdens with us.


In his speech, Tromp also made a connection with Papiamentu when it comes to the shame culture.

“So no one can doubt anymore that Papiamento is a full-fledged language, and not a backward dialect or something of that nature. However, it is not yet possible to continue vocational training in our mother tongue without any problems. Dutch sometimes wants to form a high barrier”.

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