Black Professional Collective Meeting: Connect, Inspire, Grow
How to use this guide: Freedom to explore: There is no fixed route. It is possible to start at any of the locations. Using the guide you will travel back and forth through time, from the 17th century to the present. The stories are about what happened in each place in the past. Each page has a numbered location, which corresponds to the map. The texts are both in Dutch and English with one or more images of the present location or that highlights the story. The guide is a starting point, not a complete overview. Four different themes are chosen to recognize visible aspects of this complex history that is so clearly connected with Amsterdam. The user is invited to recognize how some locations are directly and others more indirectly connected to the history and heritage of the slave trade and slavery.
Four Themes: Trade and profit, the first theme that covers the largest number of locations, deals with owners, directors, trade and products. Amsterdammers were actively involved in slavery and the slave trade, as investors in ships; owners of plantations and the enslaved who lived there; as rulers of the WIC and VOC; as merchants of colonial products (tobacco, sugar, coffee, cotton, spices and tea) and as producers and exporters of numerous goods that were used to barter for enslaving people, including textiles, genever, mirrors, beads, and arms.
Blackness in the city: Africans and Asians in Amsterdam is the second theme. There were already some black inhabitants in Amsterdam in the 17th Century, but this was barely noticed for a long time. Artists like Rembrandt, Rubens and Govert Flinck painted black people. There is also attention for the symbolic black presence in the shape of many ‘moors’ and ‘gapers’ (lit ‘yawners’) throughout the city.
Resistance and abolitionism, the third theme, deals with resistance against slavery, by the enslaved on ships and in the colonies, and in Amsterdam. In Surinam groups of slaves (Maroons) escaped the plantations to settle in communities in the hinterland. There was resistance in the Indian archipelago/Dutch East-Indies also, as court cases by the VOC in Batavia show. In Amsterdam there were debates and protests too.
Museums and archives is the fourth theme. There is increased attention for the history of slavery. More and more institutions and organizations, families and groups look into their own ties with the slavery of the past. Several monuments and iconic locations point to the history of slavery and colonialism.
Dienke Hondius lectures history at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, staff member of the Anne Frank House and initiated the research project Mapping Slavery.
Nancy Jouwe is a cultural historian and works at the intersection of art, heritage and (post)colonial history. With Kosmopolis Utrecht she initiated the project Traces of Slavery Utrecht (2011-2012).
Dineke Stam is an independent professional working on intercultural museum and heritage projects. She was a guest curator for the NiNsee exhibit Child in Chains. Together with Ineke Mok she developed in 2013 the project Why, Haarlem and Slavery.
Jennifer Tosch is the founder and CEO of Black Heritage Amsterdam Tours. This is the first of its kind canal boat and walking tour that focuses on the Black presence and 'hidden history' in Amsterdam from the 17th century forward.
Annemarie de Wildt is a curator at the Amsterdam Museum. She was, among other things, responsible for the slavery exhibit The Dark Page of the Golden Age in 2013.
* http://www.blackheritagetours.com/ In May 2014 we organized the first Black heritage Tour for children, check out the video here: