The Dutch government will apologise later this year for its role in slavery during the nation’s colonial past, a member of Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s Cabinet said on Friday.
Minister for Legal Protection Franc Weerwind confirmed a report by broadcaster RTL that the government planned to make a formal apology in December.
The government also plans to spend 200 million euros on a fund promoting awareness about the colonial power’s role in slavery and 27 million euros to open a slavery museum, RTL reported.
The decision follows the recommendation last year by an advisory panel that the government acknowledge that the 17th-19th century transatlantic slave trade amounted to crimes against humanity, and that the Dutch government apologise.
It is a “big moment and a beautiful moment,” Weerwind was quoted by news agency ANP as telling journalists in The Hague on Friday. By apologising, the government will “open the page to a shared future. You do that together and you do that by making this statement.”