The Golden Coach is going to a museum next year and that news leads to a lot of reactions. The coach came under fire in recent years because of alleged racism on the side panel ‘Hulde der koloniën’ (Homage to the Colonies).
And with the announcement that the carriage would be moved to the Amsterdam Museum at least from June to November 2021, it was once again trending on social media.
How does the carriage enter the Amsterdam Museum, and why that place? Director Judikje Kiers explains:
It is unclear whether the coach will be officially used after 2021. But if it is up to Nugah Shrestha, the carriage will remain in the museum. “I’m surprised it seems to work out so quickly,” says Shrestha, co-initiator of a petition to get the carriage into a slavery museum. The petition has now been signed 7802 times.
“I think this decision is a good step forward, but it is not yet permanent. It shows that the Royal Family is working on this and is listening to sounds from society”, Shrestha refers to the anti-racism demonstrations at home and abroad’.
King’s house fan Oscar Meijer thinks it’s a pity that the big Golden Coach won’t be driving for the time being. On Prinsjesdag, he is often one of the first people along the route taken by the royal couple. “This was to be expected and we have to resign ourselves to it. Throughout the discussion it had become impossible to use the carriage.”
That discussion is about the aforementioned side panel on the gilded carriage. On it a white woman can be seen on a throne surrounded by people with dark skin who bow before her and lay gifts at her feet.
One finds it racist and a glorification of the colonial past, while the other sees the carriage as a national symbol that belongs to a tradition that must be preserved.
“We respect the king’s decision,” says Pieter Verhoeve, chairman of the Royal Association of Orange Associations. “But to say right now that it will never be allowed to take to the streets again, it doesn’t have to come to that as far as we are concerned
“Rutte allows herself to be blackmailed
Verhoeve, also mayor of Gouda, emphasizes that the carriage is part of the collective memory. He thinks that it is better to explain why the vehicle was made this way, instead of not using it anymore. “In Noordeinde Palace there is an Indian room, a gift from the colonies. We’re not wiping it out, so where do you draw the line?”
On Twitter, Martin Bos, Zeeland Member of Parliament for Forum for Democracy, announces that he is vehemently against the decision. “The drammers have succeeded.” PVV leader Wilders agrees: “Rutte is once again being blackmailed by left-wing anti-racism terror.”
Nugah Shrestha understands that a part of the population has the feeling that something is being taken away from them. “There are people who feel attacked that the carriage is now going to a museum. But I think it’s a new beginning and brings people together. Because some people feel pain at the statues on the side of that coach.”
The discussion has been going on for years. In 2011, the SP and GroenLinks suggested removing the panel. “Good news, the Golden Coach, a product of the colonial past, does indeed belong in a museum”, tweets SP Member of Parliament Sadet Karabulut.
Into the country to gauge opinions
By the way, the Amsterdam Museum is also fully engaged in the debate about the carriage. From October onwards, residents throughout the Netherlands will be interviewed about their knowledge and opinion about the Golden Coach. That information will be used for the exhibition of the carriage.
“It’s a pity he won’t be driving for a while,” says royal lover Meijer, “because he’s very beautiful. But Wilhelmina found him horrible and hasn’t used him for years. Prinsjesdag remains the same for me: the most important thing is contact with the royal family”