Dutch king ditches golden coach amid slavery row

·1-min read
Footmen walk alongside the Golden Carriage as it transports Netherlands' King Willem-Alexander in 2013  (AP)
Footmen walk alongside the Golden Carriage as it transports Netherlands' King Willem-Alexander in 2013 (AP)

Dutch king Willem-Alexander has announced he will no longer use a historic golden carriage following accusations that it contains a racist symbol.

The opulent horse-drawn carriage, known as the Golden Coach, has traditionally transported the Dutch monarch to the opening of parliament and other state occasions.

However, the mode of transport has become embroiled in controversy due to a colonial-era picture on its left-side panel.

Called “Tribute to the Colonies”, the image shows Black and Asian people bringing offerings to a white woman on a throne representing the Netherlands.

King Willem-Alexander (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
King Willem-Alexander (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

"We cannot rewrite the past," the Dutch king said an official video.

But "we can try to accept it together. This also applies to the colonial past," he added.

"The Gouden Koets can only be used when the Netherlands is ready for it. And that is not the case at the moment," he continued.

After a complete renovation that lasted five years, the royal coach became the centrepiece of an exhibition in Amsterdam on the colonial past of the Netherlands.

“As long as there are people living in the Netherlands who feel the pain of discrimination on a daily basis, the past will still cast its shadow over our time,” the king added.

The carriage, along with statues of naval heroes from the country’s 17th century golden age, has become a hot topic of debate since the Black Lives Matter protests erupted in the United States in 2020.

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