NETHERLANDS - Leader Apologizes for Slave Trade

Arno Froese

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte apologized on behalf of his government for the Netherlands’ role in slavery and the slave trade, in a speech welcomed by activists as historic but lacking in concrete plans for repair and reparations.

Rutte told reporters after the speech that the government is not offering compensation to “people—grandchildren or great grandchildren of enslaved people.”

Instead, it is establishing a 200 million-euro ($212 million) fund for initiatives to help tackle the legacy of slavery in the Netherlands and its former colonies and to boost education about the issue.

The prime minister’s address was a response to a report published [in 2021] by a government-appointed advisory board. Its recommendations included the government’s apology and recognition that the slave trade and slavery from the 17th century until abolition “that happened directly or indirectly under Dutch authority were crimes against humanity.”

The year starting July 1, 2023, will be a slavery memorial year in which the Netherlands “will pause to reflect on this painful history. And on how this history still plays a negative role in the lives of many today,” the government says.

In 2018, Denmark apologized to Ghana, which it colonized from the mid-17th century to the mid-19th century. In June, King Philippe of Belgium expressed “deepest regrets” for abuses in Congo. In 1992, Pope John Paul II apologized for the church’s role in slavery. Americans have had emotionally charged fights over taking down statues of slaveholders in the South., 19 December 2022

Arno's Commentary

The country often referred to as Holland, is known as a super-liberal nation and, at the same time, super-successful. The population stands at 17.4 million, with an amazing life expectancy of 82.2 years. Dutch people are also known to be the tallest in the world.

Now, the government apologizes to the descendants of some colonies that were subject to the slave trade. Several other European nations followed suit. If history serves us right, this will continue indefinitely. 

What about slavery? The first time the word is mentioned in the Bible is Jeremiah 2:14: “Is Israel a servant? is he a homeborn slave? why is he spoiled?” These three questions find their origin in the previous verse: “For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.” 

The article we are concerned with, however, mainly addresses people of dark complexion originating from Africa, who have been used as free labor throughout many centuries. Will they be compensated? Most likely not. The article identifies a certain Waldo Koendjbiharie, born in Suriname, who stated: “Apologies are words and with those words you can’t buy anything.”

Regardless of these horrible practices, particularly on the American continent (North and South), there is light at the end of the tunnel. It is the real light and with it, everyone and everything during all of history will be exposed. Those who have not trusted or accepted the substitute for their sins will stand before God, “and they were judged every man according to their works” (Revelation 20:13b). That’s the time when the words “too late” become a shocking and eternally unchangeable reality: the lake of fire and brimstone.

There is only one escape—2 Corinthians 5:17: “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” We have the guarantee: “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit” (Romans 8:1).

Arno Froese is the executive director of Midnight Call Ministries and editor-in-chief of the acclaimed prophetic magazines Midnight Call and News From Israel. He has authored a number of well-received books, and has sponsored many prophecy conferences in the U.S., Canada, and Israel. His extensive travels have contributed to his keen insight into Bible prophecy, as he sees it from an international perspective.

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