Colonialism and Slavery
An Alternative History of the Port City of Rotterdam
Amsterdam University Press
Unlike most city histories, this book focuses exclusively on the city’s connections with colonialism and slavery. Rotterdam, the second-largest Dutch city, is one of Europe’s leading ports. Its maritime expansion was intrinsically linked to Dutch colonialism, including slave trading and colonial slavery in the Americas, Africa and Asia. This painful history sits uneasily with the city’s modern cosmopolitan image and its large population of ‘new Rotterdammers’ with colonial roots. The present volume provides a summary of the research that has documented this history, with chapters on the contribution of colonial trade to economic development; the city’s involvement in slavery; the role of the urban political elites; the impact on urban development and architecture; the ‘ethical impulse’; colonial art and ethnographic collections; colonial and postcolonial migration; and finally the resonance of this history in postcolonial Rotterdam.
Gert Oostindie is director of the Royal Institute of Linguistics and Anthropology (KITLV) in Leiden and professor of Caribbean history at Leiden University.