Afro-Dutch are Dutch citizens of African descent. They comprise of Africans, .8% Caribbean, and South Americans. The black population is estimated at 5%. There is also an illegal immigrant population in the
Netherlands. Afro-Dutch tends to be from Dutch previous and present overseas territories Suriname( Creoles and Maroons) and Africa-- Curacao, Bonaire, Aruba, Morocco(about 2%), and Ghana. The Netherlands also has a strong Cape Verdean community.


Early prescense

Black people started arriving in the Netherlands when Holland became active in the trans-atlantic slave trade, with the formation of the Dutch West India Company(1621) and the Dutch East India Company(1602). The first Africans arrived in the Netherlands during the latter 1500s and resided in the region of Zeeland. 

Timeline of Afro-Dutch History

1600 Dutch emerge most powerful sea power
1619 Dutch brought 1st slaves to US, Jamestown, Virginia
1634 Dutch aquire Curacao
1636 Dutch acquire Aruba
1637 Dutch teach sugar production to English in caribbean
1652 Dutch settles at Cape of Good Hope, South Africa
1667 Dutch colony in Suriname in exchange for New York
1700 collapse of Dutch plantation economy in New World
          Jacobus Capitein, first African Protestant minister, studied        
          in Netherlands, returned to Africa 
1707 Dutch West India Company sells Anton Wilhelm Amo to             
          German Duke Wolfenbuttel
1807 Abolition Act, ends slave trade
1840s Abolition Movement increase activity
1831 Recruiting of Belanda Hitam or Black Dutchmen
1863 Holland bans slavery in all her territories
1901 Hendrik Verwoerd, architect of Apartheid, born in Amsterdam
1934 Anton De Kom publishes We Slaves of Suriname
1944 Boy Ecury executed for anti-German resistance
1974 many Surinamese flee to Holland to retain citizenship
1975 Suriname receive independence from Netherlands
1986 Aruba becomes self-governing country in Kingdom of Nether.
2003 Ayaan Hersi Ali elected to Dutch Parliament
2004 Moroccan Mohammed Bouyeri assassinates Theo Van Gogh
2010 Curacao,Saba, Sint Eustatius, Sint Maarten , Bonaire self  
         governing country in the Kingdom of the Netherlands

Dutchmen brought their slaves to the Netherlands from Dutch Brazil , Suriname, Netherland Antilles, and Aruba. Slavery was not tolerated on Netherland soil. Slaves once in the Netherlands were freed. Blacks in the Netherland seemed to have lived normal lives. Records of slaves being release from bondage, baptism, and marriage exist. Records exist of black men marrying Dutch women. Dutch men also sent their children by black Surinamese and Antillean women for schooling in the Netherlands. Afro-Dutch were servants of the middle class of Groningen. 

Black Dutchmen also fought in the military for the interest of the Netherlands.  Two military factions served this function, the Black Rangers and the Black Hollanders. The Black Ranger formed the Dutch West Indian Army and were used to fight Maroon revolts in Suriname. The Black Hollanders formed the Dutch East Indian Army and fought in Indonesia. Both factions fought on the side of Holland in World War II against the Germans. The Black Hollanders were used to fight in the Indonesian War of Independence.

Modern Immigration

In 1960, Moroccans and other North Africans(Tunisians) were invited into Holland as guest workers. When unemployment began to rise in the latter part of the 60s the government restricted labor immigration. They terminated the residency of Moroccans who returned home. Many Moroccans decided to stay. By 1990, the Moroccan population was at 200,000. 

Surinamese and Antilleans started arriving in the Netherlands in significant numbers in 1954, when they were incorporated into the kingdom, along with the Netherland Antilles and Aruba. In 1973, 60% of the Surinamese population voted for independence, to be implemented in 1975. Many Surinamese fled the country to retain Dutch citizenship in 1974. Duriing the 80s, political instability cause many Surinamese to flee to the Netherlands. By 1995, the population was at 296,000. Immigration by Antillean to the Netherlands was limited due to oil on the island of Curacao, where work was adequate. 

Current Status

The Netherlands initially adopted a multicultural approach to the Afro-Dutch population based on the assumption that the population would be returning home. It emphasized the language and culture of the individual Afro-Dutch community. Later, this policy changed to assimilation,  due to a large number of Afro-Dutch remaining in the country and becoming permanent residence of the Netherlands. The assimilation process taught Dutch values and culture. This has not prevented job discrimination and segregation in Dutch society. The existence of Bijlmermeer district in Amsterdam, described as the biggest ghetto in Europe, where a lot of Afro-Dutch and Afro-Arab live is a testament of failed assimilation policy.

During the 1990s, right wing parties were able to convince individuals that the economic ills of the Netherlands were caused by immigrants and lack of assimilation. Homosexual Pim Fortuyn and his Pim Fortuyn List party was on the forefront of the wave of anti- immigrant sentiments. Ironically, It was a black Cape Verdean ,Joao Varela, who was first in line to succeed Pim Fortuyn on his assassination in 2002. Muslims and Afro-Arab (Moroccan, Tunisian) populations have been the main focus of anti-immigration sentiments. This has been the case since the assassination of Theo Van Gogh by Moroccan muslim, Mohammed Bouyeri.

Famous Afro-Dutch

Ayaan Hersi Ali
Sitalsing--police commissioner from Suriname
Edgar Davids(Dutch international soccer legend)
Patrick Kluivert(Dutch international soccer legend)
Antony Nesty(Olympic gold medalist)
Letitja Friesde(Olympic medalist)
Francisco Elson(San Antonio Spurs player)
Ilonka "KILLER QUEEN" Elmont
Clarence Seedorf
Patrick Kluivert
Michael Reiziger
Pierre van Hoojdonk
Winton Bogarde
Anton de Kom - Activist/writer  died in a concentation camp
Boy Ecury - resistance fighter (shot by the Germans)
Laetitia Griffith - former politician, Council of State member and charmain of the Dutch security branche
John Leerdam - former theatre director and former politician
Kathleen Ferrier - politician
Humberto Tan - TV presentor
Noraly Beyer - Former TV news anchor
Jörgen Raymann - has a comedy show on Dutch TV (black/Asian/...?/...?)
Clark accord - writer and columnist (died in 2001)
Edgar Cairo - established writer (most productive black writer in the Netherlands - died in 2000) 
Astrid Roemer - established writer

Works Cited

Blacks in the Dutch World: The Evolution of Racial Imagery in a Modern