Koning opens Slavery Exhibition in the Rijksmuseum for Students

Den Haag , 22 december 2020 Kersttoespraak van Zijne Majesteit de Koning Willem-Alexander op paleis Huis ten Bosch.
Photo: ©RVD – Paul Tolenaar

Amsterdam – His Majesty the King will open the Slavery exhibition in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam on Tuesday afternoon 18 May. Due to the measures in force to combat COVID-19, the exhibition will be specially opened for secondary schools in the region for the first few weeks. Opening for the general public will follow as soon as possible. The Slavery exhibition will be accessible to everyone online from 18 May.

Based on ten personal stories, the exhibition examines slavery in the Dutch colonial period, which lasted from the seventeenth to the nineteenth century. The exhibition focuses on the true, personal stories of ten people who lived during that time. They are stories about living in slavery and how to profit from it, stories of resistance and ultimately of freedom. Slavery in Suriname, Brazil and the Caribbean, with the role of the West India Company (WIC), and Dutch colonial slavery in South Africa and Asia, where the United East India Company (VOC) was active, are discussed. . The Rijksmuseum also examines the effects of the system in the Netherlands itself during that period. The exhibition shows objects, paintings and special archive documents, as well as oral sources, poems and music.

Koning will be given a guided tour of the exhibition by director of the Rijksmuseum Taco Dibbits, head of History Valika Smeulders and fourteen-year-old Yosina Roemajauw. She is the narrator of the children’s audio tour for the exhibition and co-author of the magazine Slaverij en nu? that was made for education at the exhibition. During the tour, they explain various stories together with the relevant curators. In the “Look at me now” room, the King speaks with students who are working on a new artwork about Slavery under the supervision of artists from the Instituto Buena Bista from Curaçao.

The Slavery exhibition is the result of many collaborations with a variety of experts from outside the museum, including historians, heritage experts, cultural entrepreneurs, artists, theater makers and performers. Slavery has been specially opened to secondary schools from 19 May. Schools can visit the exhibition as part of the regular curriculum for the courses CKV and History. The exhibition can be viewed online from 18 May at After the museums have reopened, the exhibition can be viewed by the public until August 29.

During the visit, the generally applicable guidelines for meetings are observed.

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