Golden Carriage won't be used until Netherlands is ready, Dutch King says
King Willem-Alexander will not use the Gold Carriage for the time being, he said in a video message posted on social media. The Golden Carriage is currently on display in the Amsterdam Museum as part of an exhibition that will end next month. "The Golden Carriage will only be able to be used again when the Netherlands is ready, and that is not currently the case," the King said.
"All citizens of this country should be able to feel that they are equal and have fair opportunities. Everyone should be able to feel part of what has been built up in our country and be proud of it," he said. "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, and it will not yet be over."
The imagery on the Golden Carriage has been causing controversy in the Netherlands for years. Especially the panel called Tribute to the Colonies, which shows half-naked slaves offering their riches to the royal family, is considered insensitive by some and downright racist by others.
"Our history contains much to be proud of. At the same time, it also offers learning material for recognizing mistakes and avoiding them in the future," the King said. "We cannot rewrite the past. But we can try to come to terms with it together. This also applies to the colonial past."
The Golden Carriage is traditionally used to take the Royal Couple from their palace to the King's Speech on Budget Day. It hasn't been used since 2015, first due to restorations and then due to its part in the Amsterdam exhibition.
The controversy around the vehicle had Dutch parliament divided, with left-wing parties and centrist D66 saying the Carriage should be retired to a museum. And far-right parties citing Dutch tradition and heritage and the Carriage's recent expensive restoration as reasons for its continued use on Budget Day.