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Mapping Slavery

The project is an initiative at VU Amsterdam aimed at including the history of slavery and the slave trade in local, national and regional history in Europe. This is done by pointing out locations in European cities and towns that have a direct or indirect connection with these histories.

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.

Funded by:

  • Mondriaan Fund: Mapping Slavery in the Netherlands EUR 20,000 (2014-2015).

Partners: Network of researchers, archivists and heritage professionals in cities in the Netherlands; Kosmopolis Utrecht;; International Museum and Heritage Projects; Amsterdam Museum; VU University, Faculty of Humanities.

  • Gemeente Amsterdam, Dienst Maatschappelijke Ontwikkeling: Netwerk Slavernijverleden Amsterdam, Erfgoed en Onderzoek: EUR 10,000 (2014-2015).

Partners: NINSEE (Nationaal Instituut Nederlands Slavernijverleden en Erfenis), Amsterdam Museum, Bijlmer Parktheater.

  • Dutch Culture / Netherlands Consulate, New York, NY: Including slavery history and heritage US/NL: EUR 8,000 (2015).

Partners: New Amsterdam History Center, New York, NY; Center fort he Study of Slavery and Justice, Brown University, Providence, RI.

Dineke Stam MA; NancyJouwe MA; Jennifer Tosch; Annemarie de Wildt MA; Guno Jones PhD; plus local, national and international network of researchers.

Research assistants
Ahmed Abbas; Maurice San A Jong; Erica Jonker

Dr. Dienke Hondius

Mapping Slavery (in Dutch)


  • Hondius, D.G. (2014). Blackness in Western Europe. Racial Patterns of Paternalism and Exclusion. Rutgers University, Piscataway, New Jersey (USA): Transaction Publishers.
  • Hondius, D.G., N. Jouwe, D. Stam, J. Tosch & A. de Wildt (2014). Amsterdam Slavery Heritage Guide / Gids Slavernijverleden Amsterdam. LM Publishers: Arnhem.
  • Hondius. D.G. (2014). Mapping Urban European Histories of Slavery: New Developments in Historical Research, Commemoration, and Heritage. In: WerkStattGeschichte, vol. 66/67, Europas Sklaven.