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Walk through Colonial Rotterdam

Rotterdam has many locations with a link to its colonial past. Indeed, Rotterdam played a role in Dutch colonial trade and slavery from 1600 onwards. You can discover what the city looked like in those days and what money was earned with the interactive app Koloniaal Rotterdam.

A total of 27 different places have been collected in the app. Short and long routes can be walked through the city centre and beyond. That way, walkers can learn about this past. The short route (coloured dotted line) is about 3.5 kilometres and takes about two hours. This walk can be shortened by walking a section, as well as extended by the other locations on the interactive map.

Using today's technology, the municipality of Rotterdam aims to make the city's colonial and slavery past visible. Besides text, sound and images, augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) have been added. The app was created by ArtiShock XR Productions and can be downloaded for Apple and Android. The route is interactive and educational for both adults and children.

Apologies for slavery past

Commissioned by the municipality, the Royal Institute of Language, Land and Ethnology (KITLV) conducted research into Rotterdam's colonial and slavery past. Rotterdam played a role in Dutch colonial trade and slavery from 1600 onwards. Rotterdam was a major participant in the United East India Company (VOC) and West India Company (WIC) in the 17th and 18th centuries. On 10 December 2021, Mayor Aboutaleb apologised on behalf of the municipality of Rotterdam for its role in the slavery past.

The app 'Colonial Rotterdam' was created as part of the city programme Our colonial and slavery past and the city of today. With this programme, the municipality of Rotterdam aims to further promote recognition, awareness and knowledge sharing about this painful past. More background information on Rotterdam's colonial and slavery past can also be found on the website of the Stadsarchief Rotterdam.

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