Slavery was abolished in the Dutch colonies in 1863, but it was only in 1873 that the enslaved were able to leave the plantations. This may seem like a long time ago, but the unequal racial relations which were developed over hundreds of years have not dissipated by themselves. The Netherlands has been shaped by its history of slavery and that is perceptible and visible in Dutch society to this day.
Afterlives of Slavery is an exhibition about the current-day legacies of slavery and colonialism in the Netherlands. The exhibition shows how the enslaved resisted. They revolted — sometimes by using overt violence. Sometimes they did this in secret, by creating their own music, religions and languages. This was a form of cultural resistance. In this way, they tried to maintain their human identity.