Independent study of the role of the House of Orange-Nassau in the context of colonial history
His Majesty King Willem-Alexander has commissioned an independent study of the role of the House of Orange-Nassau in colonial history. The study will take three years and will cover the period from the late sixteenth century to the postcolonial present.
‘In-depth knowledge of the past is essential to understanding historical events and developments and to viewing their impact on people and communities as clearly and honestly as possible,’ explains the King with regard to the study of his family history. ‘In my view, it is important that such knowledge also be brought to light about the role of the House of Orange-Nassau in colonial history. This should be done on the basis of thorough, critical and independent research, which I have commissioned.’
Leiden University has been tasked with carrying out the study, which will be supervised by an independent committee. The committee will select and appoint independent researchers to work on the project.
The committee is comprised of the following members:
- Professor Gert Oostindie (chair and lead researcher), professor emeritus of Colonial and Postcolonial History at Leiden University’s Institute for History. Until late 2021, Professor Oostindie was director of the Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies (KITLV). In 2006, he published a book entitled De parels en de kroon [The pearls and the crown], an exploratory study of the historical role of the House of Orange-Nassau in colonial history.
- Dr Esther Captain, historian and senior researcher, and a member of the staff at the Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies (KITLV). She specializes in the postcolonial Netherlands, also focusing on Indonesia and the Caribbean. She contributed to the studies into slavery and colonialism in Rotterdam, Utrecht and The Hague.
- Kathleen Ferrier, expert in the areas of international relations, human rights, diversity and inclusion. She advised the municipality of Amsterdam about the establishment of a national slavery museum. She also served as a member of the House of Representatives (Christian Democratic Alliance) for 10 years; her portfolios included international cooperation, education, healthcare and social affairs.
- Professor Henk te Velde, professor of Dutch history at Leiden University’s Institute for History. Professor Te Velde is also president of the Royal Netherlands Historical Society (KNHG) and a member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW).
Following the completion of the study, in 2026, the findings of the study will be published.
Government Information Service, no. 323