Pro-slavery -genocide statues in the Netherlands?


This 18 August 2017 Dutch TV video is about controversial statues of three men who played a role in the history of the Netherlands.

First, Peter Stuyvesant; known as the 17th century governor of what is now New York City in the USA. The video says Stuyvesant is controversial. He owned slaves, had a Quaker tortured because of his religion, was anti-Jewish and violent against native Americans. He also had plans to increase the slave trade from Africa to Curaçao and further.

(Still Stuyvesant, while alive, maybe killed less people than the cigarettes named after him in the 20th century killed with cancer).

The second controversial statue is of Jan Pieterszoon Coen, seventeenth century Dutch East India Company Governor General in what is now Indonesia.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV, 18 August 2017:

Henk te Velde, professor of Dutch history, says that Coen was called the butcher of Banda. “He has thousands of dead people on his conscience because he led the punitive expedition to the Indonesian island Banda.” That was about getting for the Netherlands the monopoly of the trade in nutmeg.

The third statue is of General Van Heutsz.

Translated from NOS TV:

As Governor General in the Dutch East Indies, General Van Heutsz played a major role in the bloody Aceh war. According to [historian] Fatah-Black, he has hundreds of thousands of dead on his conscience. But he was initially praised by Queen Wilhelmina, who gave him a high level medal.

The statue erected for him in the 1930s was already controversial then.

There are less statues of controversial people in the Netherlands than, eg, statues of United States Civil War Confederate warriors fighting to keep slavery; statues now criticized in, eg, Charlottesville, Virginia and praised by President Donald Trump. According to Fatah-Black, this is because in the Netherlands there is not such a big tradition of erecting statues of persons considered to be heroes by some.

Statues and politics in the USA and Britain: here.

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3 thoughts on “Pro-slavery -genocide statues in the Netherlands?

  1. In the Netherlands we have the tradition to name streets after people. Most of the time these people are artist (painters, musician) or scientist. Sometimes they are highly controversial dictators like Stalin (already renamed in the Cold War). There are a whole bunches of streets named after South Africa Boors who later played a big role in the Apartheidsregime . Plus a whole lot of imperialist like the kind you mentioned.

  2. Pingback: Fascism in the USA and academics | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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