nl en

The Dutch Slave Trade (Maritime History)


Admission requirements

Students should be able to read Dutch archival sources.


In 2014 will be commemorated that the Dutch government abolished the slave trade 200 years ago. During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries Dutch merchants transported nearly 600,000 African slaves to the plantation colonies in the Americas. Though we do know much of the ships which were used and the number of slaves who were shipped, there are still a lot of questions unanswered about the organisation and the profitability of the slave trade. In the second half of the eighteenth century the province of Zeeland played an important role in the Dutch transatlantic slave trade. The largest private Dutch slave trading company, for instance, was the Middelburgse Commercie Compagnie (MCC). The Archive of the MCC, which is well preserved in the Zeeuws Archief, is a unique an crucial collection of documentary heritage, that allows a greater understanding of the transatlantic slave trade. Research will be done in this important archive, which is listed on the Memory of the World Register of UNESCO since 2011.

Course objectives

Students will acquire insights in the organization and functioning of the Dutch slave trade and its organization in the Dutch Republic. Finally students will improve their ability to conduct research in primary eighteenth century sources, and produce a well-structured paper.


See here.

Mode of instruction

Research seminar

Course Load

Total cours load 280 hours:

  • Lectures: 2 hours x 14 weeks = 28 hours.

  • Archival research, literature study, writing paper = 252 hours.

Assessment method

Presentations and paper.


Yes, for communication, powerpoints and course documents.

Reading list

  • P. Emmer, De Nederlandse slavenhandel 1500-1850 (Amsterdam 2000).


via uSis.

Contact information

Email: Prof. Dr. H.J. den Heijer.