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(This article is the second in a series of essays written by Dr. Nilda Arduin to commemorate 1 July 1863, the Abolition of slavery within the Dutch Kingdom) - July 2022
According to the Dutch Constitution of 1815, enacted after the Netherlands became a Monarchy, the Dutch Kingdom encompassed the Netherlands and a few colonies and assets of the State (‘volksplantingen en bezittingen van het rijk’). Let’s take a look at what happened since 1 July 1863. Consider the following timeline:
The pertinent institutions in these territories obtained limited powers to regulate their internal affairs. Holland, the motherland of the colonists, had an obligation towards her people stationed in the overseas territories.
During the war Queen Wilhelmina in exile announced a Kingdom conference to discuss new relationships between the Kingdom partners. The Netherlands was seeking to further strengthen ties with their largest colony, Indonesia, noting the importance of economic, political and so called interpersonal contacts. However, the Netherlands could no longer play its former role.
The Island Regulation introduced the formula of ‘general interest of the Kingdom’; followed and further outlined in article 50 of the Charter, which includes supervision.
Reviewing the socio-economic and political history of the relationships within the Kingdom in the period 1954-2022 is vital to understand how we reached where we are today, and understand what we did, or did not do adequately as partners within the Dutch Kingdom to resolve continued conflicts. Who were the negotiators around the table leading up to the enactment of the Charter, if general voting rights to include the descendants of the former enslaved Africans was obtained only in 1948.
Up to 2010 Sint Maarten only had formal representation within the Dutch Kingdom via the Netherlands Antilles.
Whether interested, indifferent or even some what hostile towards each other, the intra-regional connection within the Dutch Kingdom is a fact with international consequences. The few colonies and assets of the State became equal partners.
Consider the following actions and discussion points: