The Dutch royal family’s Golden Coach (Gouden Koets) will be retired and moved to a museum because of racist depictions on its side panels, according to news reports in the Netherlands.
The royal horse carriage, used by the King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima on ceremonial occasions, is currently undergoing restoration before it will be put on display between June and November next year at the Amsterdam Museum, according to the Government Information Service (RVD).
The carriage has been the subject of years-long controversy because of a triptych on its sides, called “Homage of the Colonies,” which depicts people of South Asian and African origin kneeling, prostrating, and offering gifts to a white woman seated on a throne.
An online petition, signed by almost 8,000 people, has called to move the carriage to a museum with proper historical context. Some have also called to remove the triptych, which became known as the “slave panels,” from the carriage, but the Dutch king has reportedly rejected these requests, saying that the painting is part of Dutch cultural heritage.
The Golden Coach will be displayed in a glass box in the courtyard of the Amsterdam Museum with historical context about Dutch colonization.
Last year, the Amsterdam Museum announced that will no longer use the term “Golden Age” to describe the Netherland’s colonial past. However, it bears mentioning that the Dutch national tradition of dressing in blackface to portray the character of “Black Pete” still persists.
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Author: Hakim Bishara