Universiteit Leiden

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Slavery Memorial Year

During the Slavery Memorial Year, from 1 July 2023 to 1 July 2024, the Kingdom of the Netherlands will reflect on its colonial and slavery history.

In 2023, it will be 150 years since slavery was abolished in Suriname and the Caribbean Islands.  Abolition took place officially on 1 July 1863, but for ten years after that forced labour still continued ‘under state supervision’.  It was not until 1873 that enslaved people were actually given their freedom.

Commemorating our colonial and slavery history is also about accepting responsibility for our role in this history. During the memorial year, Leiden University will work to promote knowledge and awareness of the colonial and slavery past within the University community and the city. The University recognises that it has an important role and responsibility in studying and critically reflecting on that history and its repercussions. As the oldest university in the Netherlands, we are after all part of that history.

Faculties and units are organising a range of activities, including a  Keti Koti dialogue table, public events and an exhibition on Anton de Kom in the Lakenhal Museum. We look forward to new insights, encounters and open discussions. 

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