The Golden Coach will not return to the Royal Stables in The Hague next year after its restoration, but will be on display in the Amsterdam Museum from June to November. This has been announced by the Rijksvoorlichtingsdienst (RVD).
It will be another job to get the carriage into the museum, says the museum director:
Whether the carriage will then be used again by the head of state on Prinsjesdag is still unclear. “That is the big question,” said Royal House reporter Kysia Hekster on NPO Radio 1. “I don’t expect it, but the official decision hasn’t been made yet.”
In recent years, the carriage came under fire because of alleged racism on the side panel ‘Homage to the Colonies’. On it, a white woman can be seen on a throne surrounded by people with dark skins who bow before her and lay gifts at her feet.
The carriage is the property of the Royal House. King Willem-Alexander said last summer that the controversial ‘slave panel’ will not be removed. “It is part of the Dutch cultural heritage.”
According to Hekster, apart from the controversial panel, there are also other reasons not to use the coach on Prinsjesdag. “It is an art object that is being restored for a few million. Is it obvious to ride through the rain with it? Besides, it’s controversial. Only one person has to come up with a can of paint and the restoration can start all over again.”
The carriage has been restored for years. It was donated by the inhabitants of Amsterdam to Queen Wilhelmina in 1898, when she was inaugurated at the age of 18. Many residents of Amsterdam contributed to it. The cushions were embroidered by the orphan girls from the Amsterdam orphanage. That building now houses the Amsterdam Museum.
This autumn, the museum is already starting a public programme in which, among other things, time has been set aside for a discussion about the panel and the Dutch colonial past.
The Golden Coach will be on display in a special glass enclosure in the courtyard of the museum. The history and function of the carriage will be discussed in six museum rooms. “The RVD writes: “Here, attention is also paid to different perspectives on history.