In the 17th century, many Dutch slaves were created by ‘ Berbers ‘, the original inhabitants of the current North African coastal States. Is it not time for these countries to offer their excuses for this?

I am always in a position to ask for this kind of question that there is a need to play down our role in this kind of crimes, or to cover up our responsibility because we are also a victim.

The problem with this suggestion is that it is not comparable to our slave trade.

Three big differences, which stand out to me:


The total number of Dutch slaves ever held by the Berbers is no more than 7000.A part of that was released after a few years because they were bought off, freed or incorporated into the Berber community.

In the Dutch slave trade an estimated 600 thousand Africans were shipped to America.And that hardly anyone was free.


The slave trade of the Berbers was undertaken by Piraten, it was not an organized central led industry.There was even no central authority in that area at all. The states that are there now, are all predominantly Arabic and not Berbers-the King of Morocco is an Arab. The fact that there was a market for slaves in Barbarije is not surprising, which was also in Europe-in the Netherlands, slavery was officially banned in 1776, with numerous loopholes in the law which made it possible to have slaves in the Netherlands.

In The Netherlands, slavery was organized by the WIC, which, like the VOC, was closely intertwined with the Republic.Slave traders carry under the flag of the Republic, and a large part was traded and employed in the colonies of the Republic.


The Berbers ‘ slave trade was cruel and opportune, but not racist.The Pirates of Barbarije traded everything and everyone they could get to grips with. Christians were no different, better or worse, treated than Muslims, Jews or captured Africans -the treatment did depend on the estimated ransom. In this sense, many Dutch people were better off, because there were regular mariners in the Netherlands-for this, even collection actions were held in Holland. But, of course, it is relative.

The European slave trade was clearly racist, it focused only on Africans.In the Netherlands and other slavening powers, there was a long ban on white slaves, while they happily continued to ship black slaves. Africans were seen as inferior. The treatment during the transport was also considerably more cruel than the treatment that caught Dutchmen at the Berbers fell part. Slaves were caught up as a commodity, as many slaves as possible in a confined space.

It seems to me somewhat disrespectful to a large industrial mass deportation of a specific group, to compare with the unfortunate bycatches of hijackers.Personally, you and I are not responsible for slavery, but we live in a country that has had a good share of it and has amed part of its wealth. We certainly have a collective responsibility for this.

Leave a Reply