Inspired by a similar research project in London, archives of the compensation records were used to map the addresses of absentee slave-owners living in Amsterdam, for the first time in 2012. History students at VU University produced a map showing names and addresses of slave-owners living in Amsterdam at the time of abolition, in 1863. The basis for this map were the Indexes compiled by historian Okke ten Hove and other researchers at the National Archives in The Hague, based on the compensation records.
One of the new elements is redefining and reframing the concept of slave-ownership. In West European cities, slave-ownership remained mostly unmentioned, but here the decisions were taken about investments in commerce, insurance and transport of slave-produced agriculture like sugar, coffee, and tobacco.
Across Western Europe a more direct acknowledging is emerging of the complex historical connections between ‘home’ in Europe, and ‘colony’ overseas. It requires persistence to include this history in the national, local and family historiographies, perhaps especially in the North West of Europe, where blackness remained so exceptional for such a long time.
The focus of the project is on addressing and collecting relevant locations to produce new digital maps, inviting users to explore complex histories with accessible tools, in particular Google Maps and Google database programs. New elements of the Mapping Slavery project include a first map and tour of New York with relevant locations in connection to Dutch history.