Racism: The Dutch king leaves the “Golden Coach” standing

The Dutch king leaves the “Golden Coach” standing

King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima arrive in the Golden Coach at the traditional Opening of Parliament (2015). Photo: Frank Van Beek/Pool/ANP POOL/dpa

© dpa-infocom GmbH

It is about the illustration “Homage to the Colonies” on a side wall of the vehicle. This is a hotly debated issue in the Netherlands.

The “Golden Coach” of the Dutch royal family, which is controversial because of allegations of racism, will not be used until further notice. King Willem-Alexander (54) announced this in a video message on Thursday.

As long as the colonial past is still disputed, he will not drive in a carriage. “We cannot rewrite the past. But we can try to come to terms with it together, »said the king. “The Golden Carriage” will only be able to drive again when the Netherlands are ready for it. And that’s not the case now.”

Not only symbol of the monarchy

The Golden Coach is a symbol of the monarchy, but for many also a symbol of racism and oppression in more than 200 years of colonial history. For years there has been a heated argument as to whether the king should continue to use the vehicle. The cause of the dispute is the illustration “Homage to the Colonies” on a side wall. You can see a white woman on a throne, black half-naked people are kneeling at her feet and offering gifts.

The royal couple traditionally travels with this “Gouden Koets” every year in September to the opening of the parliamentary year. The last time was 2015, after which the almost 125-year-old vehicle was extensively restored. It has been on display at the Amsterdam Museum of City History since last summer. The exhibition ends in February.

The carriage was a gift from the people of Amsterdam to Queen Wilhelmina in 1898.


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