How the Dutch are changing colonialism to suit themselves

Today we went to the Tropenmusem, and it was not what I expected. Going to the museum, I expected there to be decolonization efforts in the museum. However, I didn’t expect the entire part of Dutch colonization to be removed from the museum. Although we didn’t explore the entire museum yet, the museum made it seem like the Dutch were only going to the colonies to trade and that they were forced to fight wars and kill thousands of people to keep their own interests. The museum tries to make colonialism less severe than it was and make it seem like the Dutch were the innocent ones in this era. Considering what we learned about Dutch colonization and the canal tour today that very far from the truth. It’s true that the Dutch were in the colonies for trade, but it doesn’t mention how rich the Dutch got from controlling the spice market and how brutal they were to the indigenous people. Also, the realistic mannequins were kind of creepy.

In my opinion, the most interesting part of today’s activities was the interactive canal tour. It gave useful information about Dutch colonialization and slavery that wasn’t available at the museum. It told us the forgotten parts about colonialization that the Dutch don’t want us to know about. The canal tour talked about how the colonies made the Dutch very wealthy and how the slave market created an oppression of the black Dutch community. The interactive parts of the canal tour made the experience much better. At first, before we got on the boat I thought that the interactive part was interesting but weird. However, certain parts of the interactive parts made me feel like either a slave or one of the people buying slaves. The part where the actors kept yelling bid at us made me feel awkward and a little scared. It made me wonder if this was actually how they used to sell slaves back then and how the slaves would feel at that moment knowing that their entire lives are in the hands of the one who buys them. In all, I thought the canal tour was fascinating and informative and made me consider what I learned about Dutch colonization.




4 thoughts on “How the Dutch are changing colonialism to suit themselves

  1. I agree, some of the parts of the tour made me very uncomfortable. But Jennifer said we probably would! Its totally alright to feel uncomfortable.

    I also agree about the museum. The Dutch killed so many to leverage themselves in areas that they colonized. They were ruthless, and the museum seemed a bit too sterile. It was focused on history and artifacts, but it didn’t feel like it fully took responsibility. Perhaps that will change with the new exhibitions, but I don’t feel like celebrating culture now is enough. The museum needs to look at ways to right its wrongs.


  2. “It told us the forgotten parts about colonialization that the Dutch don’t want us to know about.”
    I’d argue it’s not us as foreigners the dutch are hiding their past from, they are hiding it from themselves. A history that they can’t, or at least don’t want, to face.


  3. The insight Jennifer had to offer about the Troopen museum was very interesting. Although the museum has made attempts to “decolonize” its exhibits it was very obvious it still has a long way to go. The museum still has a long way to go in order to correct the mistakes they have made in their presentation of the colonies. The canal tour we went on within a Jennifer in the afternoon was amazing and showed us a different side of the story than the Troppen Museum did. The combination of Jennifer’s narrative and the interaction with the actors created a wonderful experience. The tour proved how much history the Troppen museum is allowing to be forgotten by the exclusive narrative.


  4. I agree about the mannequins! Why do you think the Troppenmuseum started out so one sided and why they are having such a difficult time now correcting it? Because of the Dutch cultural and moral changes away from slavery and colonization, the whole museum feels out of place and needs to be drastically updated. I know Jennifer mentioned that this change is (hopefully) in the works, but will there be enough change? A state-run museum is not going to talk negative about anything the Dutch did in the past, including their role in colonization and slave trade. It is something that they wish to forget. But it is something that cannot and should not be forgotten. Covering up just makes the Dutch more guilty and points more attention to it.


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