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US News a royal 19th century carrier in the heart of a controversy on the racism of its decor in the Netherlands

14:50  18 june  2021
14:50  18 june  2021 Source:   lefigaro.fr

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Le carrosse avait été envoyé en restauration en 2015, puis exposé au musée d'Amsterdam pour que chacun « puisse se faire son opinion ». © Robin van Lonkhuijsen / ANP / AFP The coach was sent in restoration in 2015, then exposed to the museum of Amsterdam so that everyone "can make his opinion".

To see the sumptuous royal carrier carrier coated with gold leaves, decorated with sculptures and paintings on its flanks, difficult to imagine what the origin of such controvemic can be. And then, approaching more closely, we discover a decoration on his left flank representing black men kneeling in front of their white masters, including a young woman on a throne representing the Netherlands, to whom they give cocoa and sugar cane. On painting, called " settlement homage ", we also see a young white man give a book to a black boy, a scene in which the painter Nicolaas van der Waay said in 1896 have represented the " civilization " . Decorations that are debating in the Netherlands, many Dutch denouncing racism that reflects through the vehicle.

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The coach, dating from 1898, used by the royal family for baptisms, weddings and other occasions, thus become " an object of controversy ", says Margriet Schavemaker, artistic director of the Museum of Amsterdam. The representations " depicting the Dutch colonial past put an uncomfortable a large group of people in the Netherlands ," she explained.

In 2015, King Willem-Alexander from the Netherlands and his wife Maxima sat on the bench of their golden coach for the last time before his restoration, at the traditional opening ceremony of Parliament. Six years later, the coach and the monarch were briefly gathered Thursday in a museum of Amsterdam, where the sumptuous horse car just renovated throne as a centerpiece of an exhibition on the colonial past of the Netherlands.

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" there must be a place for the divergent perspectives "

The coach was to make its return for the official ceremonies after making a new look, but the government decided to mark the step because of the controversy, and has chosen to expose it to the museum. In the Netherlands, as in other European countries, the recurring debate on the colonial past and slavery has resurfaced after the Black Live Matter movement in the United States. The subject is currently discussed in various museums, including the Rijksmuseum of Amsterdam, which has recently opened an exhibition entitled Slavery .

The golden coach is to be seen until February at the Museum of Amsterdam, " so that everyone can make his own opinion ," said Margriet Schavemaker at AFP. " There must be a place for divergent perspectives. People will not agree with each other . This does not mean that the museum is " neutral " in the debate, she stressed. Thus, in 2019, the institution officially abandoned the use of the term " century of gold ", a period of Dutch prosperity through the maritime trade in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

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The last word for King

The golden coach throne behind a showcase in the center of the museum. In adjoining rooms are displayed by the opinions of different people on the question and the origins of the car, offered at the end of the 19th century by the inhabitants of Amsterdam at Queen Wilhelmina. At the time, opinions were already shared on whether the royal family should benefit from a means of transport as opulent. " Do not people know that such carriers, which corresponded to the ideologies of 100 years and over, are not suitable for our time? , "wrote a militant newspaper in 1896.

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The current Prime Minister Mark Rutte defended the "Great " car. " Rewrite the story by defigrating the golden coach, I am not favorable ," he said, a quote displayed in the museum. But that's all the way to the monarch of the country to make the decision to leave the carriage on the garage. It would not be destroyed by another royal vehicle, since it has another, just as sumptuous, called the glass carriage.

If the king had recognized last year on public television

our that the golden coach made " part of the Dutch cultural heritage ", he added that it was important to combat discrimination. " I pay attention to the debate, although I do not participate ," he added. " Once the coach has found all its splendor, we will decide next steps to follow ".

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