Below you find an annotated bibliography with publications pertaining Dutch slavery heritage, compiled by Kosmopolis Utrecht in 2014. Since then, new documents have come to light and important work was published, so we are working on a renewal of our overview. For now, you can find the a simplified version of our bibliography here, in addition to the annotated version below.

The list includes a number of (popular) scientific texts and the occasional novel based on the Dutch slavery heritage. Given the large number of existing publications on the subject of slavery, certain criteria have been established for publications to qualify for inclusion in this bibliography.

  • The choice has fallen on more general, in particular non-fiction and (popular) scientific publications on slave heritage and the Dutch participation therein;
  • Most of the texts are written in Dutch and published in the Netherlands. The few English texts have specific relevance to the Netherlands;
  •  They are (mostly) suited to a non-academic Dutch readership;
  •  They are listed in alphabetical order.


Baay, R.

2008 De Njai. het concubinaat in Nederlands- Indië. Amsterdam:

Athenaeum-Polak & Van Gennep

In colonial Dutch Indies, European males have always outnumbered European women. A practical solution was found for the male surplus:  concubinage. The soldiers, planters or officials cohabited with Indonesian, Chinese or Japanese women. These women were called njai. Their history (and that of their offspring) is recounted here for the first time. It is a tale of imparity, grief at not being able to raise their own children, economic dependence, hypocrisy and carnal bondage. It is a hidden history: the offspring of the njai often had no idea of who their grandmother or uncles and aunts were. All of it centers around love: maternal love for children and sometimes too the love between European men and indigenous women


Search terms: concubinage, Netherlands, Netherlands Indies, VOC

Baay, R.

2015 Daar werd wat gruwelijks verricht. Slavernij in Nederlands-Indië. [Amsterdam: Singel Uitgeverijen].

In this publication, Reggie Baay focuses on slavery heritage of the Verenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie (VOC) and Dutch Indies from the 16th  to 19th century. Based on source material research in (VOC) archives in the Netherlands and various locations in Indonesia (Java, Bali, Sulawesi, Molucca Islands). A pioneering book as very little has thus far been published on the subject in the Netherlands and abroad.


Search terms: Slavery, Netherlands, Netherlands-Indies, VOC

Bakker, E., Hassankhan, M., Egger, J., Dalhuisen L., en F. Steegh.

1998 Geschiedenis van Suriname. Zutphen: Walburg Press.

The book illustrates in word and image the stirring history of the 10,000-year period: dealing with the indigenous inhabitants, the arduous road from slavery and colonization to democracy. About Indians, Europeans, slaves and Maroons, Creols, Hindus and Javanese. A team of Dutch and Surinamese authors throw light on the role of Surinam in World War II, the contribution the colony made to prosperity in the Netherlands and the role of bauxite in Surinam. So too the background to independence, the nascent Republic, the coup by Bouterse and Brunswijk’s jungle commando. The links between Surinam and the Caribbean, Surimanese in the Netherlands and the Dutch in Surinam, are all dealt with in turn.


Search terms: Surinam, slavery, colonization, ethnicity

Balai, L.

2011 Slavenschip Leusden: moord aan de monding van de Marowijnerivier. Zutphen: Walburg Pers.

On 1 January 1738, the West-Indische Compagnie (WIC) slave ship Leusden sank near the mouth of the Marowijne river in Surinam. Of the 716 incumbents captured and transported from Africa, only 16 survived the disaster. Though it undoubtedly counts as the greatest tragedy in Dutch shipping history, this disaster remains virtually unknown. The Leusden was one of the last WIC vessels used to transport slaves and moreover, it was the only one deployed exclusively for this purpose. With each journey the ship transported on average 660 slaves – manacled and packed closely together – to the Caribbean. Once at sea, slave ships were floating prisons under a vicious regime. Many slaves did not survive the journey, largely due to the fact that diseases had free reign in the unhealthy atmosphere within the bowels of the ship. As of her maiden voyage in 1720 to her sinking in 1738, the Leusden tallied a total of 10 slave trips, of which only 73% of the slaves on board reached the other side alive. Very little research has been carried out to date into the particular ships which facilitated the transatlantic slave trade. It is most likely that the moral indignation – or shame for that matter  – preempted any attempts at objective enquiry into the phenomenon of slavery. Leo Balai however uncovered diverse, as yet unknown sources revealing the actual day-to-day course of events on board slaveships

Source:   en

Search terms:  slave ship, WIC, slave trade, trans-Atlantic

Balai, L.

2013 Geschiedenis van de Amsterdamse Slavenhandel. Een zwarte bladzijde in ons Vaderlands verleden. Zutphen: Walburgpers

In the historiography of Amsterdam, very little has been written about the period in which the city and her officials were intensively involved in  slavery and slave trading. Since the inception in of the West-Indische Compagnie (WIC) 1621 and the Sociëteit van Suriname (Surinam Company) in 1683, the  Amsterdam officials were closely connected to the transatlantic slave trade. They may have been long-distance officials but nonetheless profited in different ways from this human trafficking. They were meticulously kept abreast of the transportation of captive Africans to the plantations in America. They knew about the inhuman conditions existing in the colonies and the merciless manner in which slaves were suppressed and abused. It is also shown that, contrary to what was generally assumed, both free blacks and slaves from West Africa and environs were domiciled in Amsterdam from as early as the seventeenth century. The fact that enslavement of West Africans in Europe started in Portugal in the first half of the fifteenth century is also explored. One important detail in the transatlantic slave trade is that the slaves always were black people from West Africa. It was common practice to find Biblical and other arguments to justify the enslavement of black people.


Search terms: Amsterdam, WIC, slave trade, trans-Atlantic

Barend-van Haeften, M.

2002 Op reis met de VOC: De openhartige dagboeken van de zusters

Lammens en Swellengrebel. Zutphen: Walburg Pers.

Travel journals by female passengers are rare. Only two have survived from the VOC period: those of Johanna and Helena Swellengrebel from 1751 and the recently discovered account by Maria and Johanna Lammens from 1736. The sisters recount in detail how they passed the day reading, playing games and making music; what meals they were served and their impressions of life at The Cape.

But also the less pleasant aspects of the voyage pass the review: sea-sickness, cockroaches in luggage trunks and fear of shipwreck.

Truly not that unpleasant to behold, though rather nauseating to undergo. Maria Lammers wrily comments after she had inadvertantly ‘bestowed’ her vomit upon a skipper. The books are remarkable for their attention to detail. They offer a frank insight into daily life aboard an 18th century East Indiaman.


Search terms: maritime, colonial, VOC, Cape

Beets, N.

1856 De bevrijding der slaven. Redevoering gehouden in de openbare vergaderingen van de Nederlandsche Maatschappij tot bevordering van de Afschaffing der Slavernij. Haarlem Erven F. Bohn.

In his 1856 discourse entitled ‘De bevrijding der slaven’ (The emancipation of slaves) held at het Gebouw voor Kunsten en Wetenschappen (the Arts and Sciences Building) in Utrecht, the present-day Utrecht Conservatory, Beets presented four arguments  in favor of the abolition of slavery – all in line with the body of ideas prevalent in nineteenth century. The abolition of slavery was primarily viewed a matter of philanthropy, secondly a question of civilization, thirdly within the Christian spirit and the fourth instance in compliance with the demands of the time. Beets concludes his appeal by addressing himself to King Willem III: ‘Thee too Majesty, hark the voice.’

Sources: Haarlem Erven F. Bohn

Search terms: slavery, abolitionism, Netherlands

Boos, C.

2011 De Slavernij: Mensenhandel van de koloniale tijd tot nu toe. Amsterdam: Uitgeverij Balans.

Throughout three centuries, eleven million African slaves were held in servitude on the plantations and in households of white colonists in the Americas. Eleven million souls measured according to their manpower potential and expressed in cash. These eleven million at least had a name and a life. One million others died nameless during transportation to the coast and the crossing from Africa to America. The  Republic of the Netherlands’ share in this trade amounted to 5 per cent of the total sum: some 600,000 human lives. The Republic was also involved in slave trade on the other side of the globe – the East. This taboo-ridden chapter of our national history has, however, always been shied away from. It took one and a half centuries after the abolition of slavery for a modest (and also controversial) commemorative monument to slavery to be erected. In the wake of the successful series ‘De Oorlog’ (The War), Dutch television has broadcast the series ‘De Slavernij’ in five episodes starting September 2011. The series not only gives an account of Dutch participation in the transatlantic slave trade – from its inception to the abolition in 1863 – but also of its legacy coupled with the fact that in 2011, there still are as many people living in conditions of modern-day slavery as were traded in the entire colonial period. Accompanying the series is a richly-illustrated book which acutely exposes the history of slavery in all its facets, based on personal historical material such as diaries, letters, ship’s journals, and revealing archival documents – the fear, pain, resistance and survival instinct but also avarice, thoughts of superiority as well as the scruples.


Search terms: slavery, slave trade, trans-Atlantic

Broek, L. van den, en M. Jacobs (eds.)

2006 Christenslaven: De slavernij-ervaringen van Cornelis Stout in Algiers (1678-1680) en Maria ter Meetelen in Marokko (1731-1743). Zutphen: Walburg Pers.

Pirates scoured the Mediterranean Sea in earlier centuries in search of loot and live merchandise for the slave markets in North Africa. Ships on the Atlantic were in danger as well. The Schiedam cooper Cornelis Stout and his family suffered this fate en route for Surinam in 1678. His ship was captured and all on board were sold into slavery in Algeria.

For one and a half years Cornelis Stout and his family endured hard times which finally came to an end in 1680 with the signing of the peace treaty between Algiers and de Republiek der Verenigde Nederlanden (the United Republic of the Netherlands). Upon his return to the Republic, Cornelis recorded his experiences.

A much longer period of enslavement awaited Maria ter Meetelen who, together with her husband set sail from Spain for the Netherlands in 1731. Their ship was captured by Moroccans to the north west of Lisbon and brought to Salé. There began Maria’s 12-year existence as a slave which played out largely in Meknes. After the death of her husband, marrying a Dutch Christian slave of some position was the only way for her to evade the King’s harem. The latter actually granted the resolute Maria permission to marry Pieter Janzlede. For 12 anxious years Maria turns out to be a masterful survival strategist. In 1743 she was finally freed together with her husband and two children. The intriguing light thrown on the daily lives of Christian slaves in North Africa by these slavery accounts is unprecedented.

Source: Zutphen: Walburg Press:

Search terms: slavery, Christen slave, slave ship

Brommer, B. (eds.)

1993 Ik ben eigendom van… Slavenhandel en plantageleven. Wijk en Aalburg: Pictures Publishers.

Records accumulated by the Wesselman brothers held at the  Gemeentearchief van Helmond (The Helmond Municipal Archives) provide insight into the Surinam slave trade and plantation life in the 18th century.


Search terms: slave trade, Surinam, plantation

Captain, E., together with H. Visser

2012 Wandelgids sporen van slavernij in Utrecht / Traces of slavery in Utrecht: a walking guide. Utrecht: centre for the humanities, Utrecht University

In this Utrecht  lieux de mémoire , Esther Captain and Hans Visser explore the connections between the colonial history of the Dutch Indies, Surinam and the Dutch Antilles/Aruba. With the aid of actual (residential) locations city in the city, this illustrated route map enables visitors to stroll along sites connected to the colonial history of the city.

2013 marked the 300th celebration of the Vrede van Utrecht (Treaty of Utrecht). The treaty brought to an end nearly two centuries of (religious) wars and conflict. Part of the accord was the  asiento   whereby agreements pertaining to the transatlantic slave trade were made. The publication forms part of the Sporen van Slavernij Utrecht (Traces of Slavery Utrecht), a collaborative project between Center for the Humanities, Vrede van Utrecht and Kosmopolis Utrecht. The guide is bilingual: English and Dutch.


Search terms: slavery, trans-Atlantic,  Utrecht

Daalder, R., A. Kieskamp en D. Tang (eds.)

2001 Slaven en schepen: Enkele reis, bestemming onbekend. Leiden /Scheepvaartmuseum Amsterdam: Primavera Pers

The Dutch slave trade forms a dark and partly unrecorded chapter of our national history. In this publication, various authors throw light on a wide range of views on slavery and the slave trade. An extensive chapter is dedicated to the ships which transported the slaves. Furthermore a comprehensive chapter in the book contains contributions about white Christian slaves in Africa, slavery in Nieuw-Nederland (present-day New York), slavery in South Africa, slavery in the East Indies, free blacks in Paramaribo, endemic slavery on the Gold Coast, rebellion amongst the female slaves in Paramaribo and the Curacao slave trade. Finally Henri van der Zee gives an account of his research into records on Jacobus Capitein, the first black preacher.

This richly illustrated book by Dirk Tang from the Nederlands Scheepvaart Museum Amsterdam ( Amsterdam Maritime Museum) contains an extended introduction, is easy to read and accessible to anyone interested in finding out more about the role the Netherlands played in the slave trade.

Source: Leiden / Scheepvaartmuseum Amsterdam: Primavera Pers

Search terms: slave trade, Netherlands, trans-Atlantic, slavery

Dalhuisen, L., Donk, R., Hoefte R. en F. Steegh (eds.)

1997 Geschiedenis van de Antillen. Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao, Saba, Sint Eustatius en Sint Maarten. Zutphen: Walburg Press

Geschiedenis van de Antillen’  brings to life the entire history of the six islands in the Caribbean Sea that, until 1986, formed a single unit under Dutch governance.

It covers the first indigenous inhabitants, the arrival of the Spanish and the later Zeeuwen (Zealanders) and Hollanders. It is about slavery and its abolition and more recently about the oil refineries. Certainly too, the  transition from colony to overseas territory and the acquisition of ‘status aparte’ as well as that of Dutch municipality is covered.

Geschiedenis van de Antillen is the most up to date publication on not only the better-known islands Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao, but also the oftentimes neglected history of the Windward Islands Saba, Saint Martin and Saint Eustatius. The narrative of intricate demographics, the reciprocal ties between the six islands as well as relations with the Netherlands and other countries is elucidated from within the Caribbean context. In this completely revised edition attention is paid to not only the economic, political and demographic aspects, but also other sides of the Antilles are given in-depth attention. These include the natural environment as well as social and cultural life on the islands. A richly illustrated and clearly written standard account of a heritage which has been tied to the Netherlands for centuries.


Search terms: Antilles, Netherlands, slavery

Emmer, P.

2003 De Nederlandse slavenhandel 1500-1850. Amsterdam: Arbeiderspers

The Netherlands was also involved in the slave trade, a form of illicit profiteering which left deep-rooted scars in the culture of the Atlantic region of which Surinam and the Antilles are a part. In De Nederlandse slavenhandel , historian Piet Emmer sketches a nuanced, enlightening image of this blind spot in our collective memory. His insights are based on the most recent outcome of current international research. Emmer provides invaluable information on the role played by the Netherlands in the slave trade, a subject which still gives rise to heated media discussions. In a new appendix  Slavenhandel en politieke correctheid  he provides answers to the commentaries his book has given rise to. He continues the debate on the impact the slave trade had on Africa and the New World, and delves deeper into the moral aspects of the slavery question, the compensation demands and what the slave monument, unveiled in Amsterdam in 2002, represents.


Search terms: Netherlands, slave trade, trans-Atlantic

Engelen, M.

2013 Het kasteel van Elmina. In het spoor van de Nederlandse slavenhandel in Afrika

No other chapter of Dutch history has impacted as much on the image of the Western World as the slave trade in West Africa has. For almost three centuries, from 1612 to 1872, the Netherlands owned ten forts on the former Gold Coast (present-day Ghana). The most important one was the Elmina Castle from which place African men, women and children were shipped in less than human conditions to North and South America and the Caribbean.

‘Het kasteel van Elmina’  tells the story of life and trade around this fort. Van Engelen travels from the coast into the African heartland to visit the places from where the enslaved were carried off. In so doing, he immersed himself in the newly revived slavery debate in the Netherlands. Wasn’t  the slave trade at least as African as it was European? This book is a grim tale of a history which still impacts modern-day life and which should never be forgotten. The author was awarded the M.J. Brusse prijs (M.J. Brusse Prize) 2014 for the best journalistic novel.


Search terms: Elmina, forts, Western Africa, slavery

Heijer, H. den

1994 De geschiedenis van de WIC. Zutphen: Walburg pers

Most of the Dutch are familiar with the vanquishing of the silver fleet at the hands of Piet Heijn. But knowledge of the West Indies Company (WIC) usually does not go beyond that. Unjustly, as this book illustrates. The rise, prosperity and subsequent demise of the WIC make up a fascinating episode of Dutch history. From its founding in 1621, the WIC built an empire stretching from Brazil, the Caribbean Islands, to parts of West Africa. Through a complicated network of forts and factories, this company engaged in intensive merchandise and slave trading. The Dutch did not shy away from wars with the Spanish and the Portuguese.

In Geschiedenis van de WIC  historian Henk den Heijer looks beyond this feat of arms. He exposes the running of the WIC in the Netherlands as well as the administration of the colonies in America and trade activities in Africa. Of course, the setbacks that ulimately led to the to the wretched disbanding of the Compagnie in 1791 are also examined.  Geschiedenis van de WIC  is a standard work about the tumultuous existence of this important organization.

Together with  De geschiedenis van de VOC   this book sketches a complete picture of the genesis of the Dutch colonial project.


Search terms: WIC, Imperium, trans-Atlantic, colonialism

Hondius, D, N. Jouwe, D. Stam, J. Tosch and A. de Wildt

2014 Gids Slavernijverleden Amsterdam Slavery Heritage Guide. Arnhem: LM Publishers

This bilingual guide focuses on the slavery heritage of the city of Amsterdam by way of more than one hundred locations in (and around)  Amsterdam. The headquarters of the WIC, the VOC and Sociëteit van Suriname (Surinam Company) were established in Amsterdam. At one given point, Amsterdam itself was owner of the plantation colony Surinam. Traces of this history can still be found on and around gables, (town)houses, cemeteries and monumental buildings. The guide has four themes:  trade and profit, black presence: Africans and Asians in Amsterdam, resistance and abolitionism, and museums and archives. Linking WIC and VOC to Dutch colonial history has provided a broader and more multilayered perception of the history of slavery. The book focuses not only on traders and produce but also on the presence of (previously) enslaved living in the city. The guide is rich in visual material.

Source: LM Publishers, Arnhem

Search terms: Amsterdam, history of slavery, VOC, WIC, Suriname Company

Jordaan, H.

2013 Slavernij en vrijheid op Curaçao: De dynamiek van een achttiende-eeuws Atlantisch handelsknooppunt. Zutphen: Walburg Pers

Curacao turned out to be unsuitable for tropical plantation agriculture. With the slave trade as its economic engine, the island evolved into an Atlantic trade hub. The concentration of inhabitants in the urban areas round the harbor where half of the slaves also lived, is a reflection of this focus on an economic orientation. The city and harbor offered good opportunities for slaves to earn money to buy their own freedom and that of their children. During the eighteenth century, the population of freed slaves and their freeborn offspring increased rapidly. In around 1790, the number of whites and free non-whites was comparable. Free blacks and coloreds were viewed with a mixture of hatred, suspicion and fear. Through white eyes, they were viewed as being in the same category as slaves. This was expressed in local legislation and led to irregularities in the area of jurisdiction and many others. Notwithstanding this, free non-whites secured for themselves a firm position within the Curacao economy and became indispensable in the  maintenance of internal control and defense. A field of tension developed between the government, the white population and the free non-white group. Another dimension was added to this when, towards the end of the eighteenth century, the island was caught up in the maelstrom of social unrest and violence riding on the shock waves of the French and Haitian revolutions.


Search terms: Curacao, slaves, trans-Atlantic, colonial, economy, trade

Kamp, Lody van de

2014 De Joodse slaaf. Zoetermeer: Mozaïek

‘ No, you won’t get this one. He has to remain in the group!’. Kwodwo sat upright with a jerk as soon as he heard the voice above him. I need to have some merchandise left when we reach Elmina’, the voice continues. ‘Come on, this bundle of muscles is pretty valuable, but without him you still have a lot left.’ Kwodwo knows the two fellows standing over of him. One of the men pinches firmly into his upper arm. Then someone forces his jaws apart, peers inside his mouth and subsequently commands: ‘ Squat! Hurry up, one more time!’ So begins the long journey of a proud son of the kingdom of the Ashanti in Ghana, a journey which brought him to Elmina, the fort where he and his companions in misfortune were stored like merchandise. Only a full shipload of slaves would make the passage to the Caribbean profitable for the West Indies Company. Salvino, a Jewish trader in coffee, sugar and cocoa from far-off Amsterdam is introduced to Kwodwo and the world of slavery. He is astonished. Will he be able to put an end to the dehumanizing practices? Or will the pursuit of profit and  wealth in the Golden Age prove to weigh more heavily than the life of one branded? A touching tale which will grasp both young and old.


Search terms: slavery, slave trade, trans-Atlantic

Kolfin, E.

1997 Van de slavenzweep en de muze. Twee eeuwen verbeelding van slavernij in Suriname. Leiden: KITLV uitgeverij

Synopsis of engravings, lithographs and drawings related to two centuries of Surinamese slavery. Artists and their images are presented in word and images. The prints are very well suited to make slavery more tangible to students. One can also see the changing perception of slavery throughout the ages. In the eighteenth century attention focused on slaves largely as economic tools, whilst in later periods the interest shifted to a more ethnographical representation. Much attention is given to the impact the nineteenth century emancipation debate has on the imagery. Finally, a comparison is made between the presentation of slavery in North America and the Caribbean area.

Source: Leiden: KITLV Uitgeverij.

Search terms: Suriname, slavery, imagery

Kom, A.

1934 Wij slaven van Suriname.  Amsterdam: Atlas Contact

Over many centuries, Surinam was carelessly used by countries like England, Spain, France and the Netherlands. From the fifteenth century onwards, Surinam has been the target of manipulation, domination, fortune seekers and adventurers. The slaves from Africa – abused an extorted and defiled – rose in rebellion.

‘Wij slaven Suriname’ gives an account of this struggle. The book appeared in 1934 as an indictment of the situation in which descendants of slaves (the first revolutionaries), Hindus and Javanese had to live: high infant mortality, malnutrition, unemployment, slums and poor health care.

In spite of all the misery, the book has a positive, optimistic message and De Kom succeeds in bringing together different population groups in their struggle for a dignified existence. The book appears not to have lost any of its relevance in the years running up to independence (25 November 1975). Now, a quarter of a century again later, Surinamese and others still find hope and inspiration in this unique document which is viewed as an indispensable publication in the evaluation of current developments in Surinam.

Source: Amsterdam: Atlas contact

Trefwoorden: Suriname, sugar, slavery

McLeod, C.

1995 Hoe duur was de suiker. Amsterdam: Conserve

Half-sisters Eliza and Sarith lived with their family on a huge sugar plantation in Surinam. It is the heyday of the sugar culture but also the ever-present fear of attacks on plantations perpetrated by Maroons  under the command of Boni. In spite of their sheltered upbringing, the girls still come into contact with rebels and the Boni wars. They come to understand that there is a high price to be paid for sugar……..

In ‘Hoe duur was die suiker?’ Mc Leod sketches a penetrating portrait of the situation in Surinam in the period 1765 – 1779. Through the interweaving of historical facts and the dramatic tale of a plantation family and their slaves, McLeod gives a fascinating account of the history of Surinam.

Cynthia McLeod (Paramaribo 1936) is one of the most popular Surinamese writers. Other titles she has written include ‘De vrije negerin Elizabeth,’ ‘Slavernij en de Memorie’ en ‘Ma Rochelle Passee, Welkom El Dorado.’ More than 50,000 copies of ‘Hoe duur was de suiker?’ were sold in Surinam alone.

Source: Amsterdam: Conserve

Search terms: sugar, plantations, slavery, fiction.

Nankoe, L. and J. Rijssen, editors

2013 De slaaf vliegt weg: Beeldvorming over slavernij in de kunsten. Arnhem: LM publishers

Essays based on lectures presented at the international symposium on the relationship between historical novels and image of the Dutch slavery heritage form the nucleus of this edited volume.

During the symposium, novelists and story tellers from Surinam, Aruba, Guadeloupe, London and Paris debated with fellow-writers, experts and readers on the above-mentioned theme.

The speakers were Lucia Nankoe (Surinam-the Netherlands), Michiel van Kempen (the Netherlands), Ernest Pépin (Guadeloupe), Quito Nicolaas (Aruba-the Netherlands), Cynthia Mc Leod (Surinam), Rihana Jamaludin (Surinam-the Netherlands) and Fausten Charles (Trinidad-England). Suzanne Diop was unable to attend due to illness but did put  her essay at the disposal of the symposium. The chairperson for the day was Margot Dijkgraaf (the Netherlands). In the public debate with for example descendants of enslaved Africans, reference was often made to historical novels as proof and defense of points of view. In particular novels by successful Surinamese and Antillian authors such as Edgar Cairo, Lou Lichtveld/Albert Helman, Frank Martinus Arion and Carel de Haseth in which the slavery heritage of the Netherlands is the subject. Both the authors and their historical novels are viewed as authoritative on the subject and their body of ideas come up in diverse argumentative debates.


Search terms: Imagery, slavery, historical fiction

Nimako, K. and Willemsen, G.

2011 The Dutch Atlantic: slavery, abolition and emancipation. London: Pluto Press

The Dutch Atlantic interrogates the Dutch involvement in Atlantic slavery and assesses the historical consequences of this for contemporary European society.
Kwame Nimako and Glenn Willemsen show how the slave trade and slavery intertwined economic, social and cultural elements, including nation-state formation in the Netherlands and across Europe. They explore the mobilization of European populations in the implementation of policies that facilitated Atlantic slavery and examine how European countries created and expanded laws that perpetuated colonization.
Addressing key themes such as the incorporation of the formerly enslaved into post-slavery states and contemporary collective efforts to forget and/or remember slavery and its legacy in the Netherlands, this is an essential text for students of European history and postcolonial studies.


Key terms: The Netherlands, slavery, trans-Atlantic

Oostindie, Gert

1995 Fifty years later:  Antislavery, Capitalism and Modernity in the Dutch Orbit. G. Oostindie, ed. Leiden: KITLV Press

The Dutch slave trade, slavery and abolitionism have long remained unduly neglected issues in the burgeoning international debate on capitalism, modernity, and antislavery. Fifty Years Later now offers a thorough and wide-ranging discussion of antislavery in the Netherlands and in the Dutch colonial world, and also provides a fresh contribution to the ongoing debate on the relationship between abolitionism and economic, political, and cultural modernization in the Western world at large.

Source: Leiden: KITLV Press

Search terms: antislavery, abolitionism, capitalism, modernity

Oostindie, Gert

1997 Het paradijs overzee: De ‘Nederlandse’ Caraïben en Nederland. Amsterdam: Uitgeverij Bert Bakker

‘Het paradijs overzee’ offers a surprising and stimulating tour through the main themes of a history that still ties the former colonies to the motherland. Gert Oostindie writes with an amazing insight about the often upsetting egotism, carelessness and naivety on the part of the Dutch, but also the desperate attempts at making something good of it. The book deals with Surinamese, Antilleans and Arubans. Their experiences under colonialism and the arduous road to establishing their own identity. About the indeterminate character of what is so deceptively indicated as the Dutch Caribbean, a collection of territories which had never constituted a cultural unit of any kind and of which the inhabitants, since the exodus to the Netherlands, are not even geographically discernable. Numerous references to the Caribbean context of this history contribute towards ‘Het paradijs overzee’ providing an intriguing image of a collection of societies which to this very day remain remarkably dualistic – evidently Carribean as well as Dutch.

Source: Amsterdam: Uitgeverij Bert Bakker

Search terms: colonial, the Netherlands, Caribbean

Oostindie, Gert

2001 Het verleden onder ogen: herdenking van de slavernij. Amsterdam: Uitgeverij Arena

This collection of essays aspires to contribute to the Dutch debate on its slavery heritage. Half of the recorded essays pertain to the memory and commemoration of slavery in the Netherlands and the Dutch-Carribean domain. In other contributions, authors from other corners of the globe write about their countries. Through their diversity, the essays lend a stimulus to the Dutch debate.


Search terms: the Netherlands, Caribbean, slavery.

Paesie, R.

2014 Geschiedenis van de MCC; Opkomst, bloei en ondergang. Zutphen: Walburg Pers

The Middelburgse Commercie Compagnie (Middelburg Commercial Company or MCC) established in 1720 is one of the smaller eighteenth and nineteenth century Dutch corporations which gained notoriety through the trans-Atlantic slave trade. However, the organization encompassed many more activities. Besides slave trade, the company engaged in whale and cape cruises and fitted out ships for European commerce trade and sea trade to West Africa and America. They even organized a costly South Seas expedition. After the dissolution of the large trading companies VOC and WIC, the MCC was the only one that managed to stay afloat. After 1800 the MCC focused primarily on third-party shipbuilding; besides frigates, barks and schooners, also various steam ships were constructed. It wasn’t until 1889 that the MCC was liquidated. In  ‘Geschiedenis van de MCC’ all facets of this unique organization are highlighted.


Search terms: MCC, Middelburgse Commercie Compagnie, slave trade, trans-Atlantic

Postma, J.

1990 The Dutch in the Atlantic slave trade, 1600 – 1815. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

Presenting a thorough analysis of the Dutch participation in the trans-Aatlantic slave trade, this book is based upon extensive research into the Dutch archives. The book examines the whole range of Dutch involvement in the Atlantic slave trade from the beginning of the 1600s to the nineteenth century.


Search terms: the Netherlands, slave trade, trans-Atlantic

Ruggenberg, R.

2007 Slavenhaler. Amsterdam: Querido

Tyn goes in search of his only remaining relative: his half-sister Obaa. The only scant knowledge he has of her leads him to a town on the African Slave Coast. His father fathered her with an enslaver African woman. Tyn becomes a cabin boy on a ship bound for Africa to purchase slaves and manages to locate the town. Obaa, however, has been driven out into the interior where she has to defend herself against enraged warriors, cunning magicians and ruthless slave traders. Do Tyn and Obaa find each other?

Source: Amsterdam: Querido

Search terms: Africa, slave trade, fiction

Stipriaan, A. van

1991 Surinaams contrast. Leiden: KITLV uitgeverij

Historian Alex van Stripiaan (1954) has since 1986 been employed in the  Historische en Kunstwetenschappen (History and Arts) faculty at Erasmus University in Rotterdam. This book is an adaptation of his PhD thesis on which he graduated cum laude at the University of Amsterdam in 1991.

The study sketches a lively and detailed image of Surinamese society in the eighteenth and nineteenth century.  Surinaams contrast  further reveals that the society was fluid and in a constant state of change. Surinamese plantation society was characterized by a precarious balance between over cropping and survival.

The extent of the disparity in this and other aspects between Surinam and the general Caribbean pattern becomes apparent through the many comparisons drawn between other plantation colonies in the region.

Source: Leiden: KITVL publishers

Search terms: Suriname , plantation, colonialism

Stipriaan, A. van, Heilbron, W., Bijnaar, A. and Smeulders, V.

2007 Op zoek naar de stilte: sporen van het slavernijverleden in Nederland Leiden: KITVL uitgeverij

How visible are the traces of the Dutch slavery heritage? Are there still remaining clandestine references which elude our fleeting perception? Four researchers went in search of the above. They not only searched through collections of estate institutions in Amsterdam and Middelburg, but also turned their attention to less conventional locations. In so doing they continued their search outside the commonly known slave trade cities, for instance Leeuwarden where they unexpectedly came across some fascinating slavery heritage.

Further silent testimony they found in the form of banking institutions, on walls and facades of buildings, in cemeteries and in private collections in homes. Heritage also turned out to have a mental dimension. It is nestled in the psyche of Surinamese, Antilleans and native Dutch. Discussions with them lead to open-hearted accounts of their personal slavery heritage legacy.

‘Op zoek naar de stilte’ is an indispensable addition to existing publications on the Dutch slavery heritage. It is the first survey of non-conventional slave heritage sites. The attempt at identifying a mental legacy through interviews is innovative. The result is a fascinating, sometimes unexpected and accessibly recorded account.

Source: Leiden: KITVL uitgeverij

Search terms: slavery, the Netherlands, heritage

Tang, D.

2013 Slavernij: een geschiedenis. Zutphen: Walburg Pers

How does one reconcile the disparity between the Dutch Republic’s fervent fight against Spanish dominion and freedom, and its participation in the international slave trade? How do merchants, housewives and pastors sooth their conscience at Sunday church services? Was the Netherlands the greatest and most brutal slave trader in the Western hemisphere? Was our glorious Golden Age borne on the bent backs of millions of African slaves? These are questions posed in countless variations whenever the topic of the Dutch slave heritage is debated.

The author sets out the gradual emergence of slavery and the slave trade. What it meant to those enslaved and stripped of anything of value. How and when subjects of the Republic became a part of a trading system which perfidiously went in pursuit of maximizing profits. What day-to-day life in Surinam, the largest slave colony of the Netherlands looked like. Why proud Africans rose in rebellion against their exploitation and humiliation. How some people enriched themselves whilst many others did not. How slavery and the slave trade finally, but agonizingly slowly disappears from the Netherlands and her colonies.

The text is written for a broad readership, beautifully illustrated and accompanied by a well-reasoned bibliography which invites further examination.


Search terms: maritime, colonial, slavery