A Dutch ecumenical leader said churches in the Netherlands must examine their role in the history of slavery and underlying prejudices that still exist in Dutch society. 2013 will mark 150 years since the Dutch abolished slavery. The Dutch West India Company shipped some 450,000 slaves from West Africa, mainly to plantations in the Dutch colonies of the Caribbean region, the Antilles and Suriname. Churches should be "honest about our past" and "the supportive role" played by the church's theology and clergy, said Klaas van der Kamp, general secretary of the Council of Churches in the Netherlands. "It is not difficult to draft a letter of apology. ... The skill is how to get church members to have feelings as to what this is about."
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