King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands announced on Thursday that he will no longer use the royal golden coach until further notice. The vehicle is at the center of a debate because of representations that glorify slavery. The sumptuous horse-drawn carriage, called “Gouden Koets”, however, has not been used since 2015. After a complete renovation that lasted five years, it sits as the centerpiece of an exhibition in Amsterdam on the colonial past of the Netherlands. Low.
The carriage gilded with fine gold was used by the royal family for baptisms, weddings and other occasions. But he is the subject of controversy because of a decoration on his left flank depicting black men kneeling before their white masters, including a young woman on a throne representing the Netherlands, to whom they hand over cocoa and cocoa. sugar cane.
On the painting, called Tribute to the colonies, we also see a young white man giving a book to a black boy, a scene in which the painter Nicolaas van der Waay said in 1896 to have represented “civilization”.
“We cannot rewrite the past”
King Willem-Alexander believes that Dutch society is not “ready” to see the coach walking through the streets again during official ceremonies. “We cannot rewrite the past. We can try to accept it together. This also applies to the colonial past, ”King Willem-Alexander said in an official video.
“The Gouden Koets can only be used when the Netherlands is ready for it. And this is currently not the case, ”he continued. “As long as there are people living in the Netherlands who feel the pain of discrimination on a daily basis, the past will still cast its shadow on our time,” he added.