July 10, 2020 / 9:15 AM / a month ago

Dutch central bank to investigate own role in slave trade

FILE PHOTO: President of Dutch central bank De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB) Klaas Knot arrives for the Frankfurt Finance Summit in Frankfurt March 19, 2013. REUTERS/Lisi Niesner (GERMANY - Tags: BUSINESS)

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - The Dutch central bank (DNB) on Friday said it would launch an investigation into its own role in the 19th-century slave trade.

Following a similar move by the Bank of England, DNB said it would ask independent researchers to determine what its relation towards slavery was at the time.

“The investigation will examine DNB’s role as an institution in the first years of its existence and presidents and board members from that period,” the bank said in a statement.

The DNB, which was founded in 1814 by Dutch King Willem I, said it would decide on further steps on the subject once the inquiry was complete.

The Dutch played a major role in the global slave trade from the 17th century until the Netherlands abolished slavery in 1863. The Dutch West India Company operated ships estimated to have traded 500,000 slaves in the 17th and 18th centuries.

The Bank of England last month said it would remove any portraits still on display within the 325-year-old institution of former governors or directors with links to the slave trade.

Reporting by Bart Meijer; Editing by Mark Heinrich

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