Slavery exhibition in Dutch museum


This video is called Going Dutch – The Netherlands’ slave trade.

Translated from Rijksmuseum Volkenkunde in Leiden, the Netherlands:

This year is the 150th anniversary of the abolition of slavery in the Dutch colonies. In that context the Ethnology Museum shows until September 29, the exhibition of banners: Slavery in words and pictures. It is an accessible and concise historical overview of the history of slavery, compiled by the University of Amsterdam. A second set of banners shows Raymann’s choice. Jörgen Raymann [Surinamese-Dutch comedian] chose with his daughter Melody ten objects, each telling a story about slavery. The gallery shows a single object. An object which in its simplicity speaks volumes: an iron slave shackle, from Burkina Faso.

Slavery works like this. A human being is made a slave, and becomes a thing afer that. No longer a human being, but a tool or a sex object. Something which you can buy”.

In clear words and powerful images the exhibition shows the history of slavery. Including the major player role of the Netherlands in the slave trade. In 1637, the Netherlands conquered the important fort Elmina in Ghana, part of Angola and part of Brazil: a golden triangle of trade.

African slaves were transported in Dutch ships to Brazil where they had to work at sugar plantations. The same ships then brought that sugar back to the Netherlands.

Raymann’s choice

Melody Raymann, student of History at the University of Amsterdam, together with her father Jörgen Raymann chose ten objects from the Special Collections of the University of Amsterdam and from two private collections. Each of these objects tells a story about slavery. Melody wrote the captions about the objects which she and her father saw and discussed. The ten stories are, eg, about punishments, freedom, slave trade and plantations.

Slave shackle

The foot shackle, part of the Ethnology Museum’s own collection, was collected in the nineteenth century (before 1888) by the German linguist and African studies scholar G.A. Krause. Krause was strongly opposed to German colonial policy and refused any coöperation with it. He publicly fought German colonial bureaucrats in Togo who sold slaves. The foot shackle is from the region of the Mossi, the biggest ethnic group in Burkina Faso.

This exhibition will be open until 29 September 2013, 5pm.

7 thoughts on “Slavery exhibition in Dutch museum

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