Skip to Content

Photo from Amsterdam Museum.

Amsterdam Museum ditches the term ‘Golden Age’

The Amsterdam Museum, which chronicles the history of the city, has decided to ditch the term Gouden Eeuw [Golden Age] because the term is not politically correct.

Published: September 14, 2019, 9:08 am


    The term Gouden Eeuw, denotes the rise of economic and military might in the Netherlands, and has long been a source of immense national pride, associated with peace, prosperity and innocence.

    The museum announced on its website that the term was no longer “representative enough” of the 17th century.  According to the museum “the term denies the negative of the period, such as forced labour, poverty, war and the slave trade. It is history told from the perspective of the powerful.”

    Curator Tom van der Molen said many stories have not been told and that each generation and each person has to be able to contribute their stories. “The dialogue about this needs space and the term Golden Age is restricting that space,” he said.

    From now on everything to do with the Golden Age will be labelled “17th century”, including the museum’s permanent display of portraits which will now be called “group portraits from the 17th century”.

    In 1602, the Dutch East India Company [Verenigde Oostindische Compagnie or VOC] was founded. It was the first-ever multinational corporation, financed by shares that established the first modern stock exchange. The Company received a Dutch monopoly on Asian trade, which it would keep for two centuries, becoming the world’s largest commercial enterprise of the 17th century.

    Economists Ronald Findlay and Kevin H. O’Rourke attributed the rise of the Netherlands to its Protestant work ethic based on Calvinism, which promoted thrift and education. This contributed to “the lowest interest rates and the highest literacy rates in Europe”.

    The museum’s decision has received largely negative responses so far, with VVD MP Zohair El Yassimi saying the musem “lost the plot completely”.

    “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,” he told Dutch daily the Telegraaf.

    CDA MP Michel Rog said the name change is “a hyper-correct idea by the Amsterdam elite and too ridiculous for words,” adding that “Erasing the past is nonsense”. Rog noted: “Simply explain that the Golden Age also had its negative sides, there’s nothing wrong with that. And there is nothing wrong with a bit of national pride either.”

    The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam said it will keep using the term. “It refers to a period in history of great prosperity,” director Taco Dibbets told national broadcaster NOS. “But we do recognise there are dark sides. The Rijksmuseum approaches history from different perspectives. Next year we are mounting an exhibition on slavery.”

    Meanwhile another controversy about history has erupted involving the Museum of ‘s-Hertogenbosch. It is being criticised for exhibiting Nazi artifacts. But the museaum said the exhibition of the Third Reich has a didactic aim.

    Since September 8 and for five months, the design museum of ‘s-Hertogenbosch welcomed “Design of the Third Reich”. This exhibition of Nazi artifacts, from the Volkswagen ladybug to the 1936 Olympic Games, to the swastikas and Leni Riefenstahl’s propaganda films, aims to show “the contribution of design to the development of evil ideology”.

    In view of the controversy, the design museum has taken precautions. Visitors are not allowed to take pictures. In addition, it is now mandatory to book the time slot of a visit by buying a ticket on the Internet, a way to filter visitors.

    In opposition to the controversy, the newspaper De Volkskrant published an article entitled “How to put together an exhibition on Nazi design without glorifying fascism”.

    Consider donating to support our work

    Help us to produce more articles like this. FreeWestMedia is depending on donations from our readers to keep going. With your help, we expose the mainstream fake news agenda.

    Keep ​your language polite​. Readers from many different countries visit and contribute to Free West Media and we must therefore obey the rules in​,​ for example​, ​Germany. Illegal content will be deleted.

    If you have been approved to post comments without preview from FWM, you are responsible for violation​s​ of​ any​ law. This means that FWM may be forced to cooperate with authorities in a possible crime investigation.

    If your comments are subject to preview ​by FWM, please be patient. We continually review comments but depending on the time of day it can take up to several hours before your comment is reviewed.

    We reserve the right to del​ete​ comments that are offensive, contain slander or foul language, or are irrelevant to the discussion.


    Security and privacy experts sound the alarm on contact tracing apps

    The terrorist acts of September 11, 2001 became the starting point for massive surveillance of the world's citizens, and not least in Western countries such as the United States and the United Kingdom.

    Maghreb singer accuses French police of blanket racism

    ParisFor the deputy of the National Rally in France, the speech of the singer Camélia Jordana on Saturday evening claiming she is afraid when she sees a police officer, is a typical example of the excesses of the cultural left: They prefer to defend the delinquents rather than the police.

    Provocative statements from Turkey against Greece continue

    IstanbulThe Turkish Minister of Defense, Hulusi Akar during his visit to a Turkish naval base, spoke of "harassment in the Aegean" in recent days, which he described as a "very serious challenge", adding that he could not "explain them".

    The controversy over hydroxychloroquine intensifies

    WashingtonAmerican scientists concluded in a study that chloroquine was ineffective against Covid-19. The release of the study coincided with bad news about the US drug Remdesivir.

    Deaths in Swedish nursing homes hidden by municipalities

    In the "humanitarian superpower" Sweden, the management of the Covid-19 pandemic by public health authorities has defied the most basic sense of medical ethics.

    German politician: ‘Why should we risk our relations with China?’

    BerlinDr. Maximilian Krah, member of the European Parliament for the Eurosceptic Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) and Vice Chairman of the EP China Friendship Group in an exclusive FreeWestMedia interview.

    Senior European WHO official predicts second deadly virus wave

    LondonAccording to information from a British daily, a senior European official of the WHO predicts that a second peak of the virus outbreak could coincide with outbreaks of other infectious diseases.

    Thousands demonstrate in Germany against confinement

    BerlinThousands of Germans demonstrated nationwide again this weekend against Corona confinement requirements. Citizens who are afraid for their jobs, rallied alongside extremists and opponents of vaccination.

    Covid-19 information ‘better on YouTube than in traditional media’

    MarseilleThe world-renowned French virologist from Marseille, Prof Didier Raoult, believes that he is being identified as a "fake news" propagator because he discloses information buried by the mainstream media.

    French pharmaceutical giant to give vaccine priority to… Americans

    ParisWhile the French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi has pleaded for a cooperation agreement with an American health authority, many voices were raised to condemn the position of the laboratory.

    Go to archive