Netherlands sets aside hundreds of millions of pounds to pay slavery reparations

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said the Black Lives Matter movement had made him "think differently about" the topic

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The Netherlands has set aside hundreds of millions of pounds to pay reparations for slavery.

Next year, the nation will set up a fund worth around £174million (€200million), while apologising for its role in the slave trade.

The country’s fund marks the 150th anniversary of the abolition of slavery in the Netherlands.

It comes despite Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte previously hitting back at calls for a national apology.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte

He changed his stance during a recent trip to the former Dutch colony of Suriname.

Speaking during the visit on Monday, Mr Rutte said his outlook on slavery “had really changed".

Adding that it is a topic we "really need to talk about", he said: "Even though no one lives from that time anymore, that has really changed for me."

He said his position comes "partly because of the whole discussion that has arisen around the Black Lives Matter movement".

Mr Rutte continued: “That really made me think differently about it.

“Next year will mark 150 years from when it was abolished. Those are huge topics, we need to talk about them.

“Even though no one lives from that time anymore, it is still an unfinished chapter.”