King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands has stated he’ll now not use the royal gold carriage amid a debate over slavery hyperlinks.
One aspect of the household’s “Golden Carriage” bears a portray that critics say glorifies the Netherlands’ colonial previous.
The Netherlands has been reckoning with its historical past as a Seventeenth-century colonial superpower, the place Dutch retailers made huge fortunes from slaves.
“The Golden Carriage will only be driven again when the Netherlands is ready and that is not the case now,” King Willem-Alexander stated in a video message.
The carriage portray — referred to as “Tribute from the Colonies” — reveals Black and Asian individuals providing items to a seated younger white girl who symbolizes the Netherlands.
The carriage is at present on show in an Amsterdam museum following a prolonged restoration. It has beforehand been used to hold Dutch monarchs by way of the streets of The Hague to the state opening of Parliament every September.
“There is no point in condemning and disqualifying what has happened through the lens of our time,” the king stated.
“Simply banning historical objects and symbols is certainly not a solution either. Instead, a concerted effort is needed that goes deeper and takes longer. An effort that unites us instead of divides us.”
Anti-racism activists have welcomed the choice however have referred to as for extra motion from the Dutch royal household.
“He says the past should not be looked at from the perspective and values of the present,” said Mitchell Esajas, co-founder of The Black Archives in Amsterdam
“I think that’s a fallacy because also in the historical context slavery can be seen as a crime against humanity and a violent system,” he added.
Last 12 months, Amsterdam mayor Femke Halsema apologised for the involvement of former governors within the slave commerce.