Social issues: Remember & Commemorate

Social issues: Remember & Commemorate

Slavery was abolished in the former Dutch colonies of Suriname and the Dutch Antilles on July 1, 1863. This July 1, 2013 marks the 150th year of this event.

Neither charts nor graphs can capture the full magnitude of the traumatic events of slavery, nor the extent of the heroic revolts against slavery. Thus, remembrances are crucial as they inform the public of the multitude of personal, familial, local, national, and international narratives that exist.

Music, art, debate and stories invoke a deeper understanding of history. Such connections engage the audience in not only commemorating the abolition of slavery on this date, but also in combating the effects of slavery, both past and present - every day.

Ask your local gemeente, what they are doing to observe the date; many are involved in holding commemorative events. And if not, ask them "Why not?"

In the meantime, why not check out the following organisations and their respective events to learn about the many narratives that do exist in the Netherlands. Bear in mind some are paid, others are free. Please refer to websites regarding possible costs.


NiNsee is the centre for the promotion of research and dissemination of knowledge and information regarding Dutch slavery and its impact on contemporary society. They are "officially closed" as a NGO, but have been commissioned to continue with special events.

NiNsee organises the Keti Koti (Breaking the Chains) Festival each year on July 1 in Oosterpark, Amsterdam to commemorate the abolition of slavery and to remember the victims. It is an all day event, which includes music, the cuisine of Suriname and the Antilles, Caribbean market stalls, as well as exhibitions and informative debates.

NiNsee also organises music, poetry and speeches for the Tula Commemoration each year on August 17 to celebrate the great slave revolt lead by Tula on the Kenepa plantation in Curaçao. Additionally on this date there will be a Tula memorial concert during the Grachtenfestival, starring Izaline Callister.

 Black Heritage Amsterdam Tours

Black Heritage Amsterdam canal tours delve into the history and narratives of the African Diaspora that have been absent from historical tours in general in Amsterdam.

Tour guide and BHAT founder, Ms. Jennifer Tosch, has created a tour agenda that covers an astounding amount of information regarding the African Diaspora narrative as it relates to Dutch society from the 16th century to the present.

Each tour brings to your attention the many representations of the African presence on and in the buildings of Amsterdam. She works closely with historians and is continually adding information to the program as new discoveries come to light. Tours usually do not have a set day and occur by reservation only.

 Centrum Beeldende Kunst Zuidoost

The Centre for Visual Arts South (an expertise center for contemporary art) located at Anton de Komplein 120, Amsterdam will be opening the group exhibition Shared Legacy: Slavery in Art at 5.30pm on June 20, 2013 (until August 31).

It will include an explanation of the historical aspects of the work of the artists Sara Blokland, Nardo brudet, Frank Creton, Brian Coutinho, Ken Doorson, Jeannette Ehlers, Antonio Jose Guzman, Remy Jungerman, Patricia Kaersenhout, Iris Kensmil, Renee Koldewijn, Carla Kranendonk, Charl Landvreugd, Runny Margarita, Tirzo Martha, Helen Martina, Henny Overbeek, Hector Raphaela, Brett Russell, George Struikelblok.


De Tolhuistuin's mission is to provide free space for arts & culture and in the spirit of this initiative it is hosting the AFRICAN HOMECOMING cultural event on June 30, 2013. Activities include music, spoken word, speeches, film, kids activities, as well as market stalls.

Most importantly, stay informed... not only on days of commemoration but also on any day when narratives need to be heard and communicated!

Christine  Fischer


Christine Fischer

Christine Fischer holds an M.A. & a M.Ed. in multicultural counseling psychology from TC, Columbia University, NYC. She created FischersFiresidechats discussions, workshops, and seminars to foster warm, informal, yet informed...

Read more



Leave a comment