Suriname Museum to open in 2023 explores fraught relationship

The National Slavery Monument in Amsterdam's Oosterpark. Photo: Deborah Nicholls-Lee
The National Slavery Monument in Amsterdam’s Oosterpark. Photo: Deborah Nicholls-Lee

A museum dedicated to the relationship between the Netherlands and its former colony Suriname will be be opening its doors in 2023, the organisers have said.

The Suriname Museum, which will be situated at the Zeeburgerdijk in Amsterdam, will cover everything between ‘the moment the first Dutchman set foot in Suriname to the moment the first Suriname national set foot in the Netherlands,’ Vincent Soekra, one of the museum’s champions told local broadcaster NH Nieuws.

Soekra has lobbied hard for the museum, which will cost an estimated €3m and will run over several floors illustrating various periods.

‘There are third, fourth, fifth and perhaps more generations of Surinamese who live in the Netherlands and who will probably never return. But they do have questions about the motherland. They can just come to the museum and find some answers,’ Soekra said.

Fellow founder Jan Gerards said many young Surinamese know very little about their background. ‘This museum will help make this part of history known to a large number of people. Schools and universities are welcome too.’ The aim is to attract some 50,000 visitors a year, the organisers said.

The opening year coincides with the 160th anniversary of the official abolition of slavery in the Dutch colony. Suriname was given self rule after World War II and became an independent republic on November 25 1975.

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