Kings Wilhelm Alexander and Maxima of the Netherlands will stop using at the inauguration of the political course their Golden Carriage, criticized by racism, as a side panel shows a white woman surrounded by bent black people depositing gifts at her feet, confirmed this Tuesday the Dutch government.
The ceremonial horse-drawn carriage will not return to the Royal Stables in The Hague: at the end of its restoration, scheduled for 2021, it will be transferred to an exhibition at the Amsterdam museum from June to November and it is not clear if it will ever be used again by the Dutch royal family.
This float was used in the tour of the monarchs in The Hague during the Prinsjesdag, the third Tuesday of every September and one of the most important days in the politics of the Netherlands, as it involves the opening a new course, with a speech delivered by the monarch from the throne – although the text is written by the Executive – to describe the official policy for the year.
That day is also relevant due to the presentation before the Dutch Parliament of the national budget, which, despite the usual leaks to the press, is officially secret until the moment the king finishes reading the speech.
According to the statement from the Government Information Service (RVD), the Golden Carriage (Gouden Koets, in Dutch), which has been restored since 2016, will be “temporarily transferred“for the exhibition”Golden Car, Gift from Amsterdam“in June 2021.
It will be placed in a glass cubicle to display in the museum courtyard and visitors and experts will be able to participate in a discussion on “a variety of topics related to the Gouden Koets such as dutch cultural heritage“says the RVD.
The history and function of the carriage will be explained in six rooms of the museum, so “attention will also be paid to different perspectives on history.”
The float, in whose elaboration they worked more than 1,200 artisans from the Dutch capital, it was a gift from Amsterdam locals to Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands in 1898, when she ascended to the throne at age 18.
Children from the Burgerweeshuis orphanage, now the site of the Amsterdam Museum, also helped embroider the pillows on the carriage, now owned by the Dutch Royal Family.
In recent years, the carriage has come under fire for one of its side panels, a “Tribute to the colonies“Dutch, which features a white woman sitting on a throne surrounded by black people bowing before her and placing gifts at her feet.
In response to criticism, King William Alexander warned that the controversial panel will not be removed from the carriage because “it is part of the Dutch cultural heritage”, although the monarchs have not confirmed whether they will permanently stop using this carriage.
The Dutch Government does not specify if this sudden decision is temporary, and if it is due to criticism for the racism it represents, although many experts add that the carriage should not circulate on the streets again because it is a piece of art which is being restored worth more than 1.2 million euros and its protection must be prioritized.