Protesters descend on Dutch royals


King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima of the Netherlands had to be escorted to their vehicle after their visit to the Iziko Museum in Cape Town on Friday after numerous protesters descended on them.

Slogans such as “you are stealing our culture”, “respect us” and “we want compensation” were shouted in the direction of the royals, referring to the Netherlands’ involvement in slavery in South Africa, among others.

The couple, who are currently on their first state visit to South Africa, were escorted to their vehicle by a ghost after their visit to the museum. An indigenous bow was stuffed into King Willem-Alexander’s hand in the process, reports the NL Times.

Security guards almost had to scramble to get Queen Máxima through the protesters and into the vehicle.

However, the royal couple were not injured during the incident.

According to the Dutch publication, the majority of the protesters outside the museum were identified as Khoi-San. The protesters were initially polite with the royals’ arrival at the museum this morning and even held discussions with the couple.

However, the atmosphere changed as the group grew.

In July this year, King Willem-Alexander issued a royal apology for this country’s involvement in slavery at the time. In December, the Dutch Prime Minister, Mark Rutte, officially apologized on behalf of the government for the Dutch’s part in slavery.

Pres. Cyril Ramaphosa accepted Willem-Alexander’s apology at the Union Building in Pretoria on Thursday and described it as “an important step towards the promotion of reconciliation, restoration and healing of old wounds”.

“We are gathering at a time when our resolve to build a peaceful, equal future is being tested, and where reconciliation and healing are most needed,” Ramaphosa said during the solemn event at the Union Building.

Ramaphosa also pointed out that South Africa and the Netherlands have long-established historical ties that date back to the arrival of the first Dutch settlers in the Cape in 1652.

“More than 200 years since the Dutch ceded sovereignty of the Cape, there are a number of Dutch influences that still play an important role in the cultural and linguistic life of many South African communities.

“The Afrikaans language has its origins, among other things, especially in Dutch and is the third most spoken national language of South Africa. Our country’s Muslim community can trace its origins to the arrival in 1658 of free laborers and political exiles from the then Dutch East Indies. There are clear Dutch influences in the cuisine and customs of our country.

“The strength of our bilateral relations today and the bonds between our respective peoples reflect a commitment to recognize and confront the injustices of our past,” said Ramaphosa.