Dutch Museum to Ban The Term 'Golden Age'

Published September 14th, 2019 - 08:22 GMT
Amsterdam Museum (Twitter)
Amsterdam Museum (Twitter)
Highlights
'But positive associations with the term such as prosperity, peace, opulence and innocence do not cover the charge of historical reality in this period. 

A Dutch museum has decided to ban the term Golden Age when referring to its 17th Century pinnacle as a military and trading empire to be more 'polyphonic and inclusive'. 

Amsterdam Museum decided that the term Gouden Eeuw did not do justice to those who had been exploited during a time when the Netherlands led the way in scientific and artistic discovery. 

The 17th Century curator at the museum, Tom van der Molen, told the Guardian: 'The Golden Age occupies an important place in Western historiography that is strongly linked to national pride. 

'But positive associations with the term such as prosperity, peace, opulence and innocence do not cover the charge of historical reality in this period. 

'The term ignores the many negative sides of the 17th century such as poverty, war, forced labour and human trafficking.' 

{"preview_thumbnail":"https://cdn.flowplayer.com/6684a05f-6468-4ecd-87d5-a748773282a3/i/v-i-7…","video_id":"70f96e6a-c7cd-41b4-8c0c-175519725d87","player_id":"8ca46225-42a2-4245-9c20-7850ae937431","provider":"flowplayer","video":"Hamas Shoots Down Israeli Drone on Way to Rafah"}

The treatment of the Dutch colonial period has raised eyebrows in the past and even resulted in the change of street names and debate on the importance of statues of military heroes. 

An MP for the governing VVD party, Zohair el Yassini, told Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf: 'First we had to change the street signs, then the statues had to go and now the whole Golden Age is for the scrapheap? It’s a bit cowardly to want to rewrite history.'

Others have complained of the change and suggested the museum just explain that there were bad connotations to the 17th Century empire. 

The museum will continue to broaden its telling of history later this month with a new exhibition called Dutch Masters Reviewed, which will detail the work of 13 Amsterdam residents and visitors of colour during the 17th and 18th centuries.

Another of Amsterdam's most-famed museums, Rijksmuseum, has decided to carry on using the term but says they also acknowledge the darker side of it.

This article has been adapted from its original source.


© Associated Newspapers Ltd.

You may also like