Wednesday 08 February 2023

Royal family’s role in colonial history in the spotlight

Photo: Mauvries via

King Willem-Alexander has commissioned an independent report into the role of the Oranje-Nassau family in Dutch colonial history.

The report will take over a year to complete and will cover the period from the late 16th century to the post-colonial present, the state information service RVD said.

‘Far-reaching expertise on the past is essential to understand historical facts and developments and the impact on people and communities,’ the king said.

The research team will be led by professor Gert Oostindie, a specialist in colonial and post colonial history at Leiden University.

In November, it was announced that the royal family’s collection of colonial era artefacts is to be checked over by experts to make sure none of it was stolen or taken by force.

The decision to sanction the investigation was taken by the royal collection foundation SHVON, which includes queen Maxima on its board.

The king and queen are ‘very much behind’ this independent research which is ‘essential to answer questions about the legality of the management of the objects,’ the foundation said.

The royal family have also stopped using a ceremonial golden coach which has repeatedly come under fire for a painted panel which depicts scenes of colonialism.

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