14 Jan. 2022 17:31 Uhr
Dutch royals are set to scrap an old carriage as it is adorned with a controversial colonial-era image. King Willem-Alexander announced this in a video message. He called on the nation to face up to its colonial history.
Willem-Alexander, the King of the Netherlands, has announced that the royal family will no longer use the historic golden carriage, which features a controversial image. The portrait shows colonial subjects offering goods to a white woman symbolizing the Netherlands.
Known as the “Tribute from the Colonies,” the image shows black and Asian people, one of whom is kneeling and presenting cocoa and sugar cane to a young white woman. Also in the picture is a seated man handing a boy a book. Artist Nicolaas van der Waay said in 1896 that the picture was intended to represent the “gift of civilization” that the Netherlands would have brought to its colonies. In recent years, the artwork has come under increasing criticism as critics say it glorifies the country’s colonial past.
The car has not been used since 2015. After a lengthy restoration that was completed last year, the carriage remained in the Amsterdam Museum. Traditionally, it was used to bring the monarch to the opening of Parliament.
On Thursday, the king acknowledged that the carriage, dubbed ‘De Gouden Koets’, was an insult to many people and announced that it would be phased out. In a video, Willem-Alexander announced the move, stating that banning historical objects and symbols is not a solution to dealing with the country’s dubious past. However, he urged the nation to face its colonial history. He said:
“There is no point in condemning and disqualifying what happened through the lens of our time.”
“As long as there are people in the Netherlands who feel the pain of discrimination on a daily basis, the past will still cast its shadow over our time.”
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