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The Future of the Dutch Colonial Past

Conference organized by the Amsterdam Museum, ASCA, NIOD, Rijksmuseum, The Black Archives, University of Amsterdam, NMVW & VU University, Amsterdam City Archives| November 26 (Hermitage), November 27 (Hermitage)

On June 18th, the exhibition The Golden Coach (Amsterdam Museum, June 18, 2021- February 27, 2022) opened its doors. The present-day debate about the carriage’s symbolism, and that of the Tribute pictured on the Colonies panel in particular, is part of the country’s belated reckoning with its colonial past. How to face this colonial past and its afterlives in the present in a responsible and accountable manner is a question that is being tackled by different Dutch cultural and academic institutions, each in their own way. How do we connect the approaches of cultural institutions, artists and academics to further our collective conversation and turn it into tangible results?

In this symposium, we zoom in on recent research projects, performances and museum exhibitions in the Dutch context, and relate them both to each other and to international perspectives and developments. Moving from provenance research to archiving, curating, theory and artistic reflections, the symposium aims to facilitate an interdisciplinary conversation about the Dutch colonial past and the ways in which this history is dealt with and shapes our practices today.

An accompanying publication, to be published in fall 2022 by Amsterdam University Press, materializes and expands on the presentations and conversations of the symposium.

Session themes

  • Dutch colonial heritage in a global context (hosted by all parties)
  • Repair and redress (hosted by NMVW NIOD)
  • Iconoclasm: toppling statues, changing street names, challenging dominant narratives (hosted by The Black Archives)
  • Curating Contested Heritage (hosted by Rijksmuseum)
  • Decoloniality in Academic Research, Activism and Artistic Practice (hosted by ASCA)
  • Artistic Practices and Reflections (hosted by Amsterdam Museum)
  • Rereading the Archive (New Narratives - Stadsarchief)