Public can view Golden Carriage in Amsterdam Museum courtyard from Saturday
Although King Willem-Alexander announced on Thursday that the Golden Carriage wouldn't be used for the time being, the public can still view the carriage in the courtyard of the Amsterdam Museum for the coming period. From Saturday, the museum will open the gates to the outdoor area where the controversial carriage is housed in a glass enclosure. The public can have a look at it for free until the end of February.
As things stand, the museum will remain closed for the foreseeable future due to the many coronavirus infections. But the museum still wants to give people the opportunity to come and look at the carriage. The accompanying exhibition, which the King himself opened in June, can be viewed online. According to the museum, security guards will ensure that it does not get too crowded in the courtyard.
The carriage was out of public view for five years as it underwent major restorations. The vehicle has been causing controversy in the Netherlands for years, specifically because of the imagery on the Tribute to the Colonies panel. It depicts slaves offering riches to the Dutch royal family. A growing number of people consider the carriage a loaded heritage piece and believe it should no longer be used. On Thursday, the King said in a video message that the Netherlands is not ready for the carriage to be put back into use.
During the exhibition, the Amsterdam Museum gauges opinions about the carriage. The initial findings show that opinions vary widely.
"We understand the King's decision," said Margriet Schavemaker, the museum's artistic director. "As a museum, we think - precisely because we have experienced this in our own exhibition and museum - that an object such as the Golden Carriage comes into its own best in a museum context because there is room for deepening and layering and getting a conversation about it underway."
The carriage will return to The Hague at the end of February. Due to planned renovations to the Amsterdam Museum, it cannot remain there.
The Golden Carriage was a gift from the people of Amsterdam to Queen Wilhelmina at her inauguration in 1898. She did not use the carriage until 1901 for her wedding, presumably because her mother had already ordered another coach for the inauguration. Since then, the carriage has been used at Oranje weddings and baptisms and since 1903 on Budget Day.
Reporting by ANP.