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The Future of the Dutch Colonial Past

Register for the symposium ‘The Future of the Dutch Colonial Past ‘ on November 26 and 27, 2021 at the Hermitage and Lutherse Kerk. The symposium is organized by Amsterdam Museum and its partners: ASCA, NIOD, Rijksmuseum, The Black Archives, University of Amsterdam, National Museum of World Cultures, VU University and Amsterdam City Archives.

Brons van Nelson Carrilho in het Amsterdam Museum. Foto © Michiel van Kempen

The Netherlands has seen many recent examples of cultural institutions addressing the Dutch colonial past, its legacies, and afterlives. Museums are dedicating exhibitions to similar themes incorporating present-day perspectives, such as Slavery (Rijksmuseum), Aan de Surinaamse grachten (Museum van Loon), and The Golden Coach (Amsterdam Museum).

De Gouden Koets in het Amsterdam Museum.
Foto © Michiel van Kempen

In 2020, the government-commissioned report Colonial Collections and Recognition of Injustice was published, which stated that the government should show a willingness to return colonial looted art. Research projects such as the Pilotproject Provenance Research on Objects of the Colonial Era (PPROCE), and Pressing Matters: Ownership, Value and the Question of Colonial Heritage in Museums, are addressing the methodology and execution of provenance research, from which concrete steps towards restitution and redressing can be taken. From the archive to artistic practices, and public space, a reckoning with the Dutch colonial past is simultaneously taking place in different areas. Not just heritage objects, but the knowledge, symbols, and language that we work with today are subject to a re-evaluation.

In this symposium, we aim to confront this deep-rooted prevalence of the Dutch colonial past in our present-day cultural and academic practices. How do we connect the approaches of cultural institutions, artists, and academics to further our collective conversation and turn it into tangible results? We will address this question by facilitating an interdisciplinary conversation about the Dutch colonial past and the ways in which this history is dealt with and shapes our practices today.

Organising Commitee:
Isabelle Britto, Mitchell Esajas, Ellen Grabowsky, Eloe Kingma, Susan Legêne, Imara Limon, Wayne Modest, Esther Peeren, Mirjam Schaap, Margriet Schavemaker, Inez Blanca van der Scheer, Esmee Schoutens, Valika Smeulders, Rowan Stol, Frank van Vree.

De Gouden Koets in het Amsterdam Museum. Foto © Michiel van Kempen

Friday November 26 2021
09:00 – 09:30 Walk-in and registration
09:30 – 11:00 Dutch colonial heritage in a global context
11:00 – 11:15 Short Break
11:15 – 12:45 Repair and Redress
12:45-13:45 Lunch
13:45 – 15:15 Curating Contested Heritage
15:15 – 15:30 Short Break
15:30 – 17:00 Artistic Practices and Reflections
17:00 – 17:30 Closing statements day 1

Saturday November 27, 2021
09:00 – 09:30 Walk-in and registration
09:30 – 11:00 Activism, Academic Research and Decoloniality
11:00 – 11:15 Short Break
11:15 – 12:45 Iconoclasm: toppling statues, changing street names, challenging dominant narratives
12:45-13:45 Lunch
13:45 – 15:15 Rereading the Archives
15:15 – 15:30 Short Break
15:30 – 17:00 Closing session day 2

The cost of the program is 25,00 euro for Students, 60,00 euro for an Early Bird ticket (until november 4) and 90,00 euro for a regular ticket. The ticket includes all sessions and lunch on both days.

In light of new coronavirus preventive measures that may be announced on November 12, ticket sales have been temporarily paused. We take into account a reduced seating capacity.

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