The Golden Age had a seamier side in the shapes of slave trade and slavery. That was also true for the city of Groningen, that established its own chamber of the West-Indische Compagnie with a ship yard at the Noorderhaven [North Harbor]. From here ships sailed to the coasts of Africa to buy enslaved Africans, ship them across the Atlantic and return with colonial wares.
Prominent citizens of Groningen invested in this lucrative trade and in plantations in Suriname and the Antilles. After the abolishment of slavery in 1863 not the enslaved but their owners were compensated financially for their loss of ‘property’.
This equally dramatic and profitable era did not remain limited to the Dutch overseas terrritories; it can be traced in Dutch society to the present day. Traces of the colonial past and of the slavery that accompanied it are linked to the locations you can find walking the city or taking one of the four bike tours in the province. In that respect you will be drawn into an as yet unfamiliar historical past. Afterwards you will never again experience Groningen and its surroundings areas in the same way.
Apart from the walking tour shown above, slavery heritage in the province of Groningen is also mapped in four cycling tours, found here.
Curious about traces of this past in different Dutch regions? Take a look at our other maps.
Margriet Fokken works as a PhD student at the Modern History department of the University of Groningen. She conducts research into the identity and formation of communities among the Hindu population of Suriname between 1873 and 1921.
Barbara Henkes is a staff member at the Department of Modern History of the University of Groningen. Her research focuses on how forms of violent exclusion and repression in the past continue to exist in present-day society.
Marit Berens received her bachelor degree in History at the University of Groningen and her Master in Cultural History of Modern Europe at Utrecht University. Presently she work at the collections department of the Railway Museum in Utrecht.
Okke ten Hove studied history at Utrecht University and is specialised on the Suriname slavery in the 19th century. He has published on the subject in the journal of the foundation for Surinamese Genealogy ‘Wi Rutu’ amongst others.
Lieuwe Jongsma finished his research master in Modern History and International Relations at the University of Groningen.
He now works as a history teacher. He also edits the Historical Yearbook Groningen.
Yme Kuijper is professor of history at the Department of Literature of the University of Groningen; he focuses on the study of historical country seats. Until 2014 he was professor of Historical Anthropology and the History of Religion, also at UG.
Tristan Lemstra is an MA student Contemporary History at the University of Groningen. Apart from this he is the general secretary of the Groningen section of a political youth organisation.
Anne van Lieshout has finished her masters in Contemporary History at the University of Groningen in August 2017.
Meggy Lennaerts is finalizing her bachelor in History at the University of Groningen.
Miriam Claude Meijer is a freelance historian, researching the work of Petrus Camper.
Simon Peschar finished his masters in Contemporary History at the University of Groningen in August 2016. At present he is working on a publication based on his thesis on the Groningen city council in the 18th and 19th centuries.
John Sang-Ajang is researching his Surinamese ancestors and publishing on this subject in Wi Rutu (a.o.).
Ank de Vogel-Muntslag is researching his Surinamese ancestors and publishing on this subject in Wi Rutu (a.o.).