Where’d you get that?! Golden Carriage decorated with gold from Suriname

The Netherlands’ famous Golden Carriage has been a topic of controversy for some time now. Adding fuel to the fire, it has been revealed that the carriage contains gold leaf from Suriname, RTL Nieuws reports.

Originally a gift to Queen Wilhelmina from the people of Amsterdam, the coach has been used by the royal family for generations. 👑

Not a golden situation

However, while all that glitters may indeed be gold, this discovery certainly isn’t golden. In discussion with RTL Nieuws, sociologist Aspha Bijnaar says that it is no surprise that the gold leaf originates, with 99% certainty, from Suriname.

READ MORE | Dutch King sends mixed messages about controversial Golden Carriage

According to her, there is a high likelihood of the coach’s gold having been obtained in an economically unfair manner (hmm…colonisation perhaps?? 🤔). This makes it all the more important that the carriage is put out to pasture and removed from view of the general public.

As the Director of Musea Bekkenen Kleur — an organisation of Dutch institutions that stand against racism and discrimination — Bijnaar is certainly no stranger to the task of speaking out against the exaltation of slavery.

An already touchy topic

The carriage’s link to the slave trade has long been evident. One need only look at the slave images on its panelling.

Nicolaas van de Waay’s “Tribute of the Colonies” depicts a white woman on a throne surrounded by darker skinned men, some of whom are kneeling and offering her gifts.

Intended as an allegory of the relationship between the Netherlands and its colonies in the East, understandably, the panel has come under fire in recent years.

Drifting in the right direction

In a move that would no doubt please many, King Willem-Alexander announced his intention in January of this year to no longer make use of the carriage.

However, despite its retirement from royal use, the carriage is still very much in the public eye.

Previously under restoration, the Amsterdam Museum even organised an exhibition of this historical piece from June 2021.

What are your thoughts on the Golden Carriage? Should it be displayed for its historical importance, or retired for its connections to slavery and racism? Tell us in the comments below!

Feature Image: Rijksoverheid.nl/Wikimedia Commons/CC.0

Liana Pereira 🇱🇰
Liana Pereira 🇱🇰
Liana juggles her role as an Editor with wrapping up a degree in cognitive linguistics and assisting with DutchReview's affiliate portfolio. Since arriving in the Netherlands for her studies in 2018, she's thrilled to have the 'write' opportunity to help other internationals feel more at home here — whether that's by penning an article on the best SIMs to buy in NL, the latest banking features, or important things to know about Dutch health insurance.
  1. If you remove history, you will have nothing from which to learn, and once the generation which removed it has passed, the next generation will make the same mis-takes.

    To quote from Shakespeare, “It is the child htat fears the painted devil.”

    No knee-jerk reactions, please.


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