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The Golden Carriage (Dutch: Gouden Koets) is a coach owned and used by the Dutch royal family. The Gold Coach is used every year to carry the Dutch monarch from the Noordeinde Palace to the Ridderzaal in order to deliver the Speech from the Throne.
The coach is made of teak wood, much of which is covered in gold leaf. It is decorated with paintings and symbolic ornaments. The coach was built in Dutch Renaissance style. It is pulled by eight horses when the reigning monarch is being carried; only six horses when other members of the royal family are travelling in the coach. Queen Wilhelmina wanted to be able to stand upright in the coach, which explains the bent form of the coach's roof. This increased height of the coach has made it more difficult to drive.
The coach features a celebration of the country's history of subjugation of African and Indonesian peoples in the form of a painting by Nicolaas van der Waay, who depicted barely clothed African and Indonesian men presenting spoils to the Dutch royal house, symbolized by a fully clothed white woman on a throne. According to Barryl Biekman of the Landelijk Platform Slavernijverleden, this is a "celebration of slavery and colonialism." Calls for the painting's removal or the ending of use of the Golden Carriage have intensified in recent years.
Queen Wilhelmina received the Gold Coach at her 1898 investiture as a tribute from the citizens of Amsterdam. The coach was designed and built by the Spijker brothers. Because Queen Wilhelmina wished not to receive gifts on the day of her inauguration on September 6, 1898 she actually took receipt of the Golden Carriage the following day.
The vehicle was first used on the occasion of the marriage of Queen Wilhelmina and Prince Hendrik on February 7, 1901. Since 1903 it has mainly been used once a year, in The Hague, on the third Tuesday in September, Prinsjesdag, on the occasion of the Monarch's Address. In 1974 however the coach was not used.
Other occasions when the carriage has been used are:
- the wedding of Princess Juliana and Prince Bernhard (The Hague, 1937)
- the baptism of Princess Beatrix (1938)
- the wedding of Princess Beatrix and Prince Claus (Amsterdam, 1966)
- the wedding of Prince Willem-Alexander and Princess Máxima (Amsterdam, 2002)
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Gold Coach.|
- Laparlière, Maurice (2010-09-17). "Dutch royal extravagance: the queen in the golden coach". Radio Netherlands Worldwide. Retrieved 2011-04-17.
- Konig, Eppo (15 September 2014). "Na Zwarte Piet moet ook de Gouden Koets anders". NRC. Retrieved 2 August 2015.