King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands has announced that the royal family will stop using a historic golden carriage that features a controversial image of colonial-era subjects supplying agricultural products to a white woman, symbolizing the Netherlands.
On Thursday, King Willem-Alexander admitted that the carriage, called De Gouden Koets, offended many when it announced its retirement.
The carriage, which has been out of service since 2015, bears an image titled “A Tribute from the Colony.” It depicts blacks and Asians, one kneeling, presenting cocoa and sugar cane to a seated young white woman.
Also featured in the image is a seated man offering a book to a young boy. In 1896, artist Nicholas van der Vay said the painting was meant to depict the “gift” of the Netherlandscivilization“to its colony.
The image has drawn growing criticism in recent years, with critics claiming it glorifies the country’s colonial past.
King Willem-Alexander announced the move in a video, acknowledging that banning historical objects and symbols is not a solution to the country’s questionable past, but instead calling on the country to face up to its colonial past.
“It doesn’t make sense from the perspective of our time to condemn and cancel what has happened,” He said.
“As long as people living in the Netherlands feel the pain of discrimination every day, the past will still cast a shadow over our time,” the king added.
After a lengthy restoration process that ended last year, the coach remains in the Amsterdam Museum. Traditionally, it was used to carry the monarch to the opening of parliament.
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