Restored Golden Coach ready for exhibition, royal return remains uncertain


The carriage was dragged over the buildings of the museum into the courtyard with a crane.Image ANP

The temporary placement follows a five-year restoration of the coach. The move happened without any announcement and took about 45 minutes. The carriage was hoisted over the buildings of the museum to the courtyard with a crane. Some local residents did get something from the operation, but there was not much to see.

It is uncertain whether the vehicle will return as the king’s carriage. On the left-hand side panel of the ‘Tribute of the Colonies’ carriage, half-naked black men and women are depicted in submissive poses. They have not been removed in recent years, King Willem-Alexander said last year. “We’re not going to rewrite history with the restoration.”

Gift

The king indicated that the future of the coach will be determined ‘once it is restored to its full glory’. Since Prinsjesdag 2016, the carriage has been replaced by the Glass Coach, the other gala sedan of the Oranjes.

Next Thursday, the king will open the exhibition of the carriage to the public. According to the Amsterdam Museum, ‘among other things, the craft, history and symbolism of the carriage’ will receive attention. The controversial elements of the saloon are also highlighted.

The Golden Coach was a gift from the people of Amsterdam to Queen Wilhelmina at her inauguration in 1898. At first, the gift was only moderately enthusiastic, and it was not for nothing that it quickly acquired the nickname ‘Beautiful from afar, far from beautiful’. Nevertheless, the coach overcame all first doubts and was invariably used by the Royal House from 1923.

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