The King of the Netherlands decided to abandon the “Golden Carriage” as a symbol of the colonial past The King said that the image on the carriage door is offensive to most people. He acknowledged that it is pointless to deny the historical past and it “will continue to cast a shadow” on the country as long as there is discrimination
King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands has announced that he and other members of the royal family will stop using the traditional “Golden Carriage”, made in the 19th century, reports the BBC. The reason was the images decorating the carriage, & mdash; many perceive them as racist and glorifying the country's colonial past.
We are talking about a drawing on the doors of the carriage called “Tribute from the Colonies.” It depicts several Africans and Asians presenting gifts, including cocoa and sugar cane, to a white woman who symbolizes the Netherlands.
A man sits next to a woman who holds out a book to people: according to the author of the work, the artist Nicholas van der Waay, she represents the “gift of civilization” that the Netherlands gave to its colonies.
In his address, Willem-Alexander stated that “Tribute from the Colonies” offends the feelings of most people. At the same time, he acknowledged that it is senseless to deny the country's historical past and that banning historical objects and symbols will not solve the problem. “As long as there are people living in the Netherlands who daily feel the burden of discrimination, our past will continue to cast a shadow on us,” — added king.
“Golden Carriage” at the end of the 19th century, Queen Wilhelmina received as a gift from the inhabitants of Amsterdam upon her accession to the throne. The royal family used it in ceremonial occasions such as the monarch's annual address to Parliament. In 2015, the carriage was sent for restoration.
In the 17th century, the Netherlands and the territories that were colonially dependent on them formed the Netherlands Colonial Empire. By the 18th century, it included Guiana, Indonesia, trading posts in India, Ceylon and the island of Formosa, as well as other territories. In the 1660s and 1670s, the Netherlands ceded its possessions in North America, including modern New York, to Great Britain, and in the 19th century they also abandoned Ceylon and the Cape Colony in South Africa.
In the Netherlands, As in other European countries, the debate about the colonial past and slavery has been revived since the emergence of the Black Lives Matter movement in the United States. Bloomberg named its founders among the top people of 2020. Last year, the movement claimed the Nobel Peace Prize.
In July 2020, the Central Bank of the Netherlands decided to find out if its activities were connected with the support of slavery in the former colonies. This decision was made by the regulator on the example of the Bank of England, which decided to take portraits of leaders associated with the slave trade.
Last year, the Art Museum in Amsterdam (Rijksmuseum) hosted an exhibition on the role of the country in the slave trade, and the mayor of Amsterdam Femke Halsema apologized for the active participation of the city in it.
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