The Golden Coach is no longer used by the Royal House for the driving tour on Prinsjesdag or other official occasions. King Willem-Alexander announced this in a video message today.
“We cannot rewrite the past. We can try to come to terms with it together. That also applies to the colonial past. The Golden Coach will only be able to drive again when the Netherlands is ready for it. And that is not the case now says the king.
“There is no point in condemning and disqualifying what has happened through the lens of our time. Simply banning historical objects and symbols is certainly not a solution either. Instead, a concerted effort is needed that goes deeper and lasts longer. An effort that unites us rather than divides us.”
Watch the video of King Willem-Alexander here:
The carriage was last used in 2015 during the traditional ride on Prinsjesdag. After more than five years of restoration, the Gouden Koets was brought to the Amsterdam Museum, where it is displayed in a glass enclosure in the courtyard. During the restoration, King Willem-Alexander used replacement transport, the Glass Coach from 1826.
The exhibition also focuses on the discussion about the controversial side panel Tribute to the Colonies, which many nowadays call racist. There was not yet a decision about what would happen to the carriage after the exhibition.
Colonial past glorified
Even before the start of the restoration in 2015, there was a social discussion about the panel, on the side of the coach, that would glorify the Dutch colonial past. Critics believed that for this reason the coach can no longer be used or that the panel should be replaced.
The king decided that the Golden Coach had to be restored to its original state, “as part of our cultural heritage”. “We are not going to rewrite history,” he said in a press interview last year. “As soon as the restoration is complete, we will see further.”
The coach was donated by Amsterdam to Queen Wilhelmina in 1898 in honor of her inauguration. Since 1903, the coach was mainly used for the driving tour on Prinsjesdag. There has been no driving tour on Prinsjesdag for the past two years due to the corona measures.