By Marvin Hokstam
AMSTERDAM — The City Council of Amsterdam will be allocating 100,000 euros in its budget to carry out a feasibility study on establishing a National Museum for the Slavery Past, it has been reported. Council member Simion Blom (Groen Links) who proposed the museum together with fellow members from the SP and PvdA, was excited on hearing the news following the council’s last meeting on September 21.
“What we want is a location for everybody in the Netherlands where this underexposed part of our history can be commemorated. It is time we no longer hide from our history. It makes me happy that the council has allocated these funds, because that means that we are now finally taking concrete steps. Human rights organizations, grass roots organizations and many people of afro Caribbean have been calling for this museum that would celebrate black heritage for years,” Blom said on Friday.
Blom, a Dutch national of afro Surinamese origin who lives in the predominantly black neighborhood of Amsterdam Zuidoost, said there is question about whether the museum should be located in Amsterdam. “The capital of the Netherlands has played an ominous and even dominant role during the era of the transatlantic slave trade. And even today the city still profits from the material heritage that was built among its picturesque canals that draw millions of tourists every year. That is why it makes sense to establish this museum here,” the dreadlocked council member said. Ironically enough, he said that the museum could potentially be an interesting addition to the capital’s touristic offerings.
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