Mea Culpa

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The Netherlands’ central bank apologized for its role in the 19th-century slave trade, the latest show of regret in the country over its previous role in the trade of enslaved people, the Associated Press reported.

De Nederlandsche Bank acknowledged that it was involved in the transatlantic slave trade between 1814 and 1863. It added that it had compensated plantation owners and members of the bank’s board when the Netherlands abolished slavery in 1863.

Bank President Klaas Knot expressed his apology “for these reprehensible facts” on July 1, the national day marking the Netherland’s abolishment of slavery.

Following the apology, the central bank announced a number of measures, including increasing diversity and inclusivity in its ranks, as well as establishing a $5.2-million fund for programs aimed at minimizing “contemporary negative effects of nineteenth-century slavery.”

Knot’s announcement marks the latest apology by Dutch authorities and institutions over their role in the slave trade.

Last year, Amsterdam Mayor Femke Halsema issued a similar apology. In April, another Dutch bank, ABN AMRO, also apologized for its historic links to slavery in the 18th and 19th centuries.

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