King WIllem-Alexander to Open Slavery Exhibition in Statia

Part of a banner illustrating the ‘Days of Slavery in St. Eustatius’ exhibition.
Part of a banner illustrating the ‘Days of Slavery in St. Eustatius’ exhibition.

ORANJESTAD, St. Eustatius – King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands will open the exhibition entitled ‘Days of Slavery on St. Eustatius’ in the Museum of the St. Eustatius Historical Foundation (SEHF), the Simon Doncker House. This 18th century residence was bought for the SEHF by the King’s mother, Princess Beatrix. The exhibition was put together on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the abolition of slavery in the Dutch Caribbean. Historical objects and illustrations from the collection of the St. Eustatius Historical Foundation and from a private collection tell the story of where the enslaved Africans came from, the slave trade that brought them to St. Eustatius, their life in slavery, their resistance, and finally abolition and beyond.

The exhibition has been put together by the St. Eustatius Historical Foundation together with the St. Eustatius Archaeological Center (SECAR) with funding from the Mondriaan Fund. Incorporated in the exhibition are the results from the archaeological research conducted by SECAR on the former Schotsenhoek plantation, nowadays referred to as “The Farm.” The remains of the slave quarters of the plantation from the first half of the 18th century were discovered.

One of the slave huts has been reconstructed on the grounds of the museum. The Historical Foundation’s youth club, the Simon Doncker Club, worked on recreating the interior of the slave hut to illustrate what life was like for the enslaved Africans. The Simon Doncker Club educates youngsters about the past and culture of their island by organizing events for kids at the museum and elsewhere on the island and involving them in the museum’s activities.

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