The memorial was inaugurated on the 25th of March, 2012.
At the 150th anniversary of the Abolition of Slavery in 1998, Nantes adopted the idea of constructing a commemorative monument along the Fosse quay.
Conceived by the artist Krzysztof Wodiczko and architect Julien Bonder, the Memorial to the Abolition of Slavery marks a period of more than 25 years of public action and struggle to develop and promote the knowledge and appreciation of Nantes’ slave history. Beyond the work done to commemorate the victims of the Atlantic slave trade, it also pays respects to the struggles and fights against slave trades and slaves around the world.
Along the Loire quays, stretches 7,000m² of planted walkways, throughout which are some 2,000 glass plaques renamed after the ships, the dates of the Nantaise slave expeditions and slave colonies, ports and trade ports in Africa as well as in the Antilles.
From the esplanade, an enormous open-air staircase leads the visitor down to the underground passageway, which forms the heart of the Memorial. There, visitors are welcomed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, behind which the word ‘freedom’ is displayed in around 50 different languages, originating from the countries affected by the slave trade.
An immense glass plaque, measuring 90m long, is displayed on the right where a selection of texts that span over 5 centuries, can be found: laws, personal accounts, literary works, songs and core abolitionism texts.
An urban path, composed of 11information panels, symbolically connects the Nantes History Museum of the Castle of Dukes of Brittany.
The Memorial is a free public space and therefore it’s open all year.