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News | 13 June 2023

Van Lanschot Kempen publishes research on historical links to slavery

The history of Van Lanschot Kempen dates back to 1737 and the foundation of the Van Lanschot firm, based in the city of 's Hertogenbosch, for trading in mainly colonial goods. Independent research recently carried out at the University of Leiden has shown that part of those goods were produced using slave labour. The trading company purchased these goods at auctions and through business partners in the provinces of Holland and Zeeland and subsequently sold them in 's Hertogenbosch and surrounding areas. According to the research, the legal predecessors of Van Lanschot Kempen were thus indirectly involved in slavery.

The research
In the summer of 2022 Van Lanschot Kempen commissioned independent academic research into the possible involvement of its predecessors in slavery. Dr. Karwan Fatah-Black and Professor emeritus Dr. Gert Oostindie of the University of Leiden studied the period between 1737 and 1863/1873, from the establishment of the Van Lanschot trading company to the abolition of slavery in the Dutch colonies.

Based on their preliminary research, they came to the following conclusion: “As a trading company in the city of Den Bosch, Van Lanschot played a significant part in the distribution of colonial goods, including goods produced by means of slave labour. The company was indirectly involved in slavery by trading in goods that were produced using slave labour.”

While further study of the archives could be carried out, the researchers believe this is unlikely to produce any significant new findings.

Next steps
Maarten Edixhoven, Chair of the Management Board of Van Lanschot Kempen: '‘What is important to us, is that this research has clarified this part of our history. We are mindful that the past carries on in the present and regret the role that Van Lanschot as a trading house played in an economy that was – at that time –based partly on colonialism and slavery. The impact is still felt in society today.

We have discussed with our colleagues within Van Lanschot Kempen the outcome of the research and the steps that we should take as a result. The participants in this dialogue indicated clearly that they wish to convert our awareness of our past into concrete and meaningful steps in the present and in the future, aimed at promoting inclusiveness, diversity and equal opportunities. In doing so we will focus on our own organisation, on the companies we invest in and the society that we are a part of. In continuing dialogue with our colleagues, our clients and other stakeholders we will develop these ideas further in the period ahead.'' 

More information
Media Relations: + 31 20 354 45 85;
Investor Relations: +31 20 354 45 90;
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