Got an idea for a holiday? Send it to us

Submit Now

212 Shares
212 Shares
SatJul 1

Keti Koti – July 1, 2023

Keti Koti is a celebratory festival commemorating the emancipation of slaves on July 1 of every year in the Netherlands. Keti Koti, translated to ‘Broken Chains,’ was marked as the day when slavery was abolished in the country back in 1863. It is a day when liberty, equality, and solidarity are nationally honored by parading out on the streets with music, dance, and food.

History of Keti Koti

Keti Koti means to ‘break the chains’ — a symbol that depicts freedom from slavery. Although July 1, 1863, was the day when slavery was formally abolished in Suriname and the kingdom of the Netherlands (and its colonies), it took another 10 years to completely weed out the remains of servitude.

In the Dutch colonies, July 1 is remembered with the term ‘the abolition,’ stemming from a misguided pride of the government that instituted slavery, maintained it for centuries, and intentionally ‘abolished’ or brought disruption to it in 1863.

The event of July 1, 1863, was not recognized in the Netherlands until 1963 — 100 years later. After 1963, the city of Amsterdam began to organize performances and parades and highlighted them in the national newspaper. However, that wasn’t enough — the Dutch government was yet to apologize for centuries of injustice.

By the 1990s, in Rotterdam, the Afro-Dutch community began to voice their criticism, demanding that July 1 be included in the history books, made into a memorial or national holiday, and, importantly, that they receive an apology from the Dutch government. Their efforts paid off and July 1 was proclaimed a national memorial holiday in the Netherlands, characterized by the Keti Koti festival.

Keti Koti timeline

1863
The Abolition

On July 1, the instituted slavery of the Dutch colonies is declared abolished.

1963
Amsterdam Brings the Abolition to Attention

Only the city of Amsterdam organizes parades, performances, and mentions the abolition of slavery in the newspapers.

1990s
Criticism Surfaces

The Afro-Dutch community in Rotterdam demands a better way of recognition for the day by the government.

2013
150 Years of Keti Koti

A monument is erected in Lloyd Pier in Rotterdam, the city that was a second home to the practice of slavery, to commemorate 150 years of Keti Koti.

Keti Koti FAQs

When was slavery abolished in the Netherlands?

Slavery was abolished in the Netherlands on July 1, 1863.

What does Keti Koti mean?

‘Keti Koti’ means to ‘break the chains’ or ‘the chains have broken.’

Does the system of slavery still exist?

Despite it being prohibited, the sinister practice of slavery exists in modified forms in the modern world, including forced labor and child labor.

How To Observe Keti Koti

  1. Join in the parades

    If there’s a Keti Koti festival around you, make sure you do not miss out on it!

  2. Participate in Free the Slaves

    Free the Slaves is an international non-governmental organization that encourages people to mobilize others and do their part in erasing racism and slavery in the modern world. Ensure that Keti Koti doesn’t limit itself to Dutch and Surinamese communities — it can be a celebration for all people.

  3. Spread the word

    Use Keti Koti as a day to spread the message of the occasion on social media. On this day, run a social media campaign using the #FreeTheSlaves and #KetiKoti hashtags.

5 Facts About Slavery That You Didn’t Know

  1. The Netherlands took their time

    It was one of the last countries to abolish the system of slavery.

  2. Two slaves died daily on Dutch ships

    During the era of Dutch slavery, approximately two out of every 1,000 slaves died every day on the Dutch slave ships per month — the highest total compared to English or French slave ships.

  3. International slavery continues in the 21st century

    In 2019, an estimated 40 million people were enslaved with 25% of them being children.

  4. Slavery generates billions in profit

    It is reported that slavery generates around $150 billion in annual profits.

  5. Modern forms of slavery

    Slavery is still an international problem, with modified and modern forms including forced marriages, child soldiers, sex trafficking, and sexual slavery.

Why We Love Keti Koti

  1. It celebrates the abolition of the slave trade

    For over 200 years, the Netherlands remained involved in the slave trade, and Keti Koti is a day to celebrate the ultimate eradication of that horrible practice.

  2. It celebrates equality and freedom

    All humans are equal. Everyone has the right to live a life of their own, remain free of influence, and live as equals. This day emphasizes the fact that slavery or discrimination is intolerable.

  3. It’s a day of remembrance for the Dutch government

    Similar to how the Afro-Dutch community pressured the government to include Keti Koti as a national memorial holiday, the day on the calendar is an ever reminder of the Dutch government's unjust actions and discrimination and that they should continue to try to make amends for this.

Keti Koti dates

YearDateDay
2023July 1Saturday
2024July 1Monday
2025July 1Tuesday
2026July 1Wednesday
2027July 1Thursday
Clean Beaches Week
National Culture Consciousness Week
American Zoo Day
Bank Employee Day (Guatemala)
Blink 182 Day
Burundi Independence Day
Canada Day
CPC Founding Day
Doctor's Day (India)
Dog House Repair Month
Early Bird Day
Ghana Republic Day
Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Establishment Day
Hop A Park Day
International Cherry Pit Spitting Day
International Chicken Wing Day
International Day of Cooperatives
International Joke Day
International Reggae Day
Keti Koti
Ketikoti
Madeira Day
National Baby-Led Weaning Day
National Creative Ice Cream Flavors Day
National Financial Freedom Day
National Gingersnap Day
NATIONAL HOP-A-PARK DAY
National Postal Workers Day
National Television Heritage Day
National U.S. Postage Stamp Day
National Wrong Trousers Day
Second Second Half of the Year Day
Sir Seretse Khama Day
Smart Irrigation Month
Territory Day
The Day of Dombyra
Virgin Islands Day
ZIP Code Day
AgitÁgueda
Bank Account Bonus Month
Beans Month
Bereaved Parents Awareness Month
Bioterrorism / Disaster Education and Awareness Month
Cord Blood Awareness Month
Corn Month
Eggplant Month
Family Golf Month
Fragile X Awareness Month
French-American Heritage Month
Global Enterprise Agility Month
Good Care Month
Hemochromatosis Screening And Awareness Month
Herbal / Prescription Interaction Awareness Month
Hitchhiking Month
Independent Retailer Month
International Blondie and Deborah Harry Month
International Group B Strep Awareness Month
International Women with Alopecia Month
International Zine Month
Juvenile Arthritis Awareness Month
Lasagna Awareness Month
National Anti-Boredom Month
National Baked Beans Month
National Bison Month
National Blueberry Month
National Cell Phone Courtesy Month
National Child-Centered Divorce Month
National Cleft and Craniofacial Awareness and Prevention Month
NATIONAL CONTRACT SEWING MONTH
National Culinary Arts Month
National Family Reunion Month
National Grilling Month
NATIONAL HEMP MONTH
National Horseradish Month
National Hot Dog Month
National Ice Cream Month
National Lost Pet Prevention Month
National Make A Difference to Children Month
National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month
National Pet Hydration Awareness Month
National Picnic Month
National Watermelon Month
Nutrition Month Philippines
Sarcoma Awareness Month
Social Wellness Month
Talk to Us
UV Safety Awareness Month
Wild About Wildlife Month
World Watercolor Month

Holidays Straight to Your Inbox

Every day is a holiday!
Receive fresh holidays directly to your inbox.