Monday, January 17, 2022

Dutch king will not use carriage critical of colonial image

The Dutch king on Thursday refused to use at least the royal family’s Golden Carriage, one side of which is a painting that critics say glorifies the Netherlands’ colonial past, including its role in the global slave trade.

The announcement was an acknowledgment of the heated debate about the carriage as the Netherlands regards as a 17th-century colonial superpower with serious sides to its history, with Dutch merchants making vast fortunes from slaves.

King Willem-Alexander said in a video message: “The Golden Carriage will be able to drive again only when the Netherlands is ready, and that is no longer the case.”

One side of the vehicle is decorated with a painting titled “Tributes from the Colonies” that shows Black and Asian people, one of them kneeling, offering goods to a seated young white woman that is a symbol of the Netherlands.

After a lengthy restoration the carriage is currently on display at the Amsterdam Museum. In the past it was used to carry Dutch monarchs through the streets of The Hague to the State Opening of Parliament each September.

“There is no point in condemning and disqualifying what has happened through the lens of our time,” King said. “Banning only historical objects and symbols is certainly not the solution. Instead, a concerted effort is needed that goes deeper and takes longer. An effort that unites rather than divides us.”

Anti-racism activist and co-founder of The Black Archives in Amsterdam, Michel Esjas called King’s statement “a good sign” but also a “minimal” monarch could have.

“He says that the past should not be viewed from the point of view and values ​​of the present … and I think this is an illusion because even in the historical context, slavery can be seen as a crime against humanity and a violent system.” is,” he said. , “I think logic is often used as an excuse to brush off its violent history.”

The Netherlands, along with many other countries, is revisiting its colonial history in a process inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, which affected the world following the death of George Floyd, a black man in the United States.

Last year, the country’s national museum, the Rijksmuseum, staged a major exhibition that took an intrepid look at the country’s role in the slave trade, and Amsterdam mayor Femke Halsema apologized for the Dutch capital’s former governors’ extensive involvement in the trade. Asked.

Halsema said she wanted to “carve the great injustice of colonial slavery into the identity of our city.”

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This article is republished from – Voa News – Read the – original article.

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