Dutch Royals to retire golden coach with echoes of colonialism

The First Art Newspaper on the Net    Established in 1996 Friday, May 24, 2024

Dutch Royals to retire golden coach with echoes of colonialism
The “Golden Coach,” built for Queen Wilhelmina of Holland in 1896, is emerging as a new focus of debate over slavery, colonialist oppression and history.

by Claire Moses

NEW YORK, NY.- The Dutch royal family will stop using a horse-drawn gold-covered coach dating from the late 19th century that has long drawn criticism for its painted panel glorifying the Netherlands’ history of colonialism.

“As long as people in the Netherlands are experiencing daily pain from discrimination, the past will cast a shadow over our time,” King Willem-Alexander said in a video message announcing the decision Thursday. “The Golden Coach will be able to ride again when the Netherlands is ready, which isn’t the case right now.”

The city of Amsterdam presented the carriage as a gift to Queen Wilhelmina, the first woman to sit on the Dutch throne, in 1898. It’s covered in gold and decorated with paintings on its side panels that were created by a prominent Dutch artist of the time, Nicolaas van der Waay.

One of those paintings, “Tribute from the Colonies,” depicts a young woman on a throne, a personification of the Dutch kingdom at the time, with an African in a loin cloth bowing down before her and Asians dressed in batiks presenting her with gifts, a representation of the Netherlands’ colony in what is now Indonesia. The themes of slavery and Dutch colonialism have long made the carriage a target for critics, particularly for descendants of formerly colonized peoples in the Netherlands.

“We can’t rewrite the past,” Willem-Alexander said in the video, “but we can try to come to terms with it together.” Last year, an online petition to stop the use of the coach got more than 9,000 signatures, and activists have long been against its use.

The king and queen primarily used the carriage for the annual ceremonial opening of the Dutch Parliament every September in The Hague, most recently in 2015. Since then the coach has undergone a roughly $1.4 million renovation and has been on display to the public as part of an exhibition at the Amsterdam Museum, which closes at the end of February.

Urwin Vyent, director of the National Institute for the Study of Dutch Slavery and its Legacy, said the decision was a step in the right direction, adding that he hoped it would lead to an official apology for the Netherlands’ colonial legacy. “As far as we’re concerned it can stay in a museum and be part of a new historical awareness,” Vyent said.

Devika Partiman, who is a board member of Netherlands Gets Better, an organization that aims to educate the Netherlands about the consequences of its history of colonialism and slavery, praised the decision but said she wondered why the king left the door open to use the coach again in the future.

“Even if there comes a day when we’ve processed the colonial past,” Partiman said, “why would you want to ride in a carriage where colonial history is surrounded by splendor?”

The carriage has long divided opinion in the Netherlands. Many people have also defended it as part of the history of the Netherlands.

“There won’t be a moment that we will be done with this,” said Margriet Schavemaker, artistic director of the Amsterdam Museum. “It’s important to enter into conversation with each other about this.”

As part of the exhibit and wider research in the country, she said the museum talked to many people about their thoughts about the coach and its meaning.

During the summer, Willem-Alexander said he was “listening” to discussions and public forums about the topic, and had promised to come back with a decision about the carriage at a later date.

“The king follows the societal discussion about the Golden Coach and knows about the different perspectives in society and politics,” a spokeswoman for the Dutch Royal House said. She said the coach would be kept at the Royal Stables in The Hague, alongside the royal family’s other carriages, after the Amsterdam exhibition.

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.

Today's News

January 15, 2022

Hugh Hayden, surrealist sculptor, addresses the education debate

Dutch Royals to retire golden coach with echoes of colonialism

Christie's announces highlights included in the Old Master and British Drawings Online Sale

First solo exhibition of Roy DeCarava's work in London in over thirty years opens at David Zwirner

The MSU Broad presents 'Kahlo Without Borders'

Spider-Man's black costume origin sells for $3.36 million at Heritage Auctions to shatter comic art record

Jeff Wall presents a group of "near documentary" realist pictures at Gagosian

Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art opens an exhibition of works by Bice Lazzari

Landmark exhibition of African American art opens at Toledo Museum of Art

She was named Europe's best director, but finds few fans at home

Shannon's Internet Fine Art Auction, now thru January 20th

Action Comics #1 copy sells for $3.18 million, setting record for third most expensive comic of all-time

"This Tender, Fragile Thing" opens at The School

BAMPFA's Senior Curator for Asian Art Julia White to retire after fifteen years

BIPOC Award recipients showcased in exhibition honoring remarkable Texas ceramicists

Chrysler Museum of Art transforms gallery into a dark and glittering cosmos

Mick Peter brings playful cartoon-like sculpture installations to Bath's Holburne Museum

Painting by Julie Hart Beers climbs to $20,000 in Bruneau & Co online auction

Edward Kirkland, who helped preserve historic Chelsea, dies at 96

Brian Gross Fine Art opens an exhibition of medium and large-scale photoworks by Keira Kotler

Camden Art Centre opens an exhibition of works by Allison Katz

How to check what motherboard I have?

10 news apps for you to stay more informed

5 Ways to Sell Your Art

Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .


Ignacio Villarreal
(1941 - 2019)
Editor & Publisher: Jose Villarreal
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez

sa gaming free credit
Truck Accident Attorneys
Accident Attorneys

Royalville Communications, Inc

ignaciovillarreal.org juncodelavega.com facundocabral-elfinal.org
Founder's Site. Hommage
to a Mexican poet.

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site Parroquia Natividad del Señor
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful