Whilst the Laeken royal glasshouses are open to the public until today (Friday), a public collective group, currently in its infancy, has distributed leaflets on Thursday afternoon to raise awareness of Belgium’s colonial past. So Belga has learned. “Considered a source of Belgian national pride, the history of their construction and funding has been completely wiped from the Belgian collective memory,” confirms the group Colonial Truth Collective in a communiqué.
According to this recently constituted group, which includes eight people who are moreover involved in other organisations, the Laeken glasshouses were erected thanks to the provision of financial means. These arose from the occupation of The Congo by Belgium, as well as the slave system developed by the highest Belgian authorities.
The collective demands that the “the historical truth is restored”, in particular, the responsibility shouldered by the Belgian royal family at the time.
It also requires the Belgium education system is involved in this dissemination of Belgium’s colonial history, by including it in school curricula.
Thursday’s action was the group’s first initiative. The group anticipates organising other such events to counter Belgium’s collective “amnesia” concerning its colonial past, as Laini Benjamine, a member of the collective indicated.