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The National Institute for the Study of Dutch Slavery and its Legacy (NiNsee) is based in Amsterdam, Netherlands and was established to document the history of Dutch Slavery from various perspectives. NiNsee is an institute for researchers, educators and historians. It is the dynamic component of an initiative taken by the Dutch government in 2001 to erect a monument to commemorate the abolition of slavery in the Netherlands and to create and institute to research, discuss and process the history of Dutch slavery and its legacy.

History

In 1999, the Landelijke Platform Slavernijverleden took the initiative to erect a monument with a static and dynamic dimension, the National Monument for Dutch Slavery and its Legacy (Nationaal Monument Slavernijverleden). On 1 July, 2002 in the Oosterpark, Amsterdam, the static monument was unveiled in the presence of Her Majesty Queen Beatrix and many other honored guests from the Netherlands and abroad. The dynamic monument, the National Institute for Dutch Slavery and its Legacy (NiNsee) was opened on 1 July, 2003 upon the national commemoration of the abolition of slavery 140 years ago.

Mission

The mission of NiNsee is to develop and position itself as the national symbol of the shared legacy of Dutch slavery and the collective future of all Dutch people. NiNsee inventorises the tangible heritage in the form of "monuments" to the slave trade and slavery. These include plantations, forts and structures that were utilized to house slaves in Suriname, the Netherlands Antilles, Aruba and the west coast of Africa, Ghana. NiNsee also documents the oral history of slavery to help stimulate awareness of the collective history of slavery. NiNsee organizes conferences and workshops to shed light on the history of Dutch slavery and its impact on Dutch society from varied and diverse perspectives, on an international and national level. The institute has the goal of realizing a nuanced and realistic image of Dutch slavery and its legacy.

Background

The decision to establish the institute was influenced by a number of national and international developments. On the national front, descendants of slaves questioned the recognition of their heritage and the impact it has had on their position in current society. A petition for a monument was first produced during a conference organized by the Afro-European Women's Movement, Sophiedela. In September 1998, this petition was submitted to the Dutch Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations. Minister Roger van Boxtel of the party Democrats 66 was integral to the process of coordinating the project. Through much discussion and debate, the realization of the plan was announced on July 1, 2000 and the municipality of Amsterdam announced its readiness to host the monument. Surinamese artist Erwin de Vries was asked to create the monument.

At the same time, there was growing interest in the Dutch colonial past and a general development towards reconsidering, recalibrating and rewriting the historiography of the former Dutch overseas colonies. As a result of the above developments, the involvement of the Netherlands in the Trans-Atlantic slave trade and slavery now forms part of the 50 windows of the Dutch historical and cultural canon.

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