Three hundred years ago the Treaty of Utrecht helped to end a terrible war, but it fostered a growth in the trans-Atlantic slave trade. One hundred and fifty years ago the Netherlands abolished slavery as part of the great movement to end legal slavery. On this double anniversary we have arrived at a unique historical moment, when slavery is so diminished, so little a part of our global society and economy that it stands on the precipice of its own extinction – if we choose to take steps to bring it to an end. Allow me, your Highness, to suggest provisions that you might propose that will establish a global movement that will eradicate slavery in the same way that global health campaigns have ended smallpox. An historic new Treaty of Utrecht that will be de nous, chez nous, avec nous.
The Colonial Legacy Conference examined the colonial and post-colonial heritage of the Treaty of Utrecht and assessed its legacy in contemporary scholarship on human trafficking, in the study of cultural memories of historical traumas, in practices of reconciliation and in popular culture.