Every year on the third Tuesday of September, named Prinsjesdag, the Dutch Head of State King Willem-Alexander addresses Parliament in the King’s Speech, held in the medieval Ridderzaal (Knights’ Hall). A significant element is the throne on which the Dutch King is seated. After Prinsjesdag, for the first time, the throne will travel outside The Hague. This distinctive throne will be displayed at national museum Paleis Het Loo. From 14 October, the Ridderzaal throne can be seen in the exhibition Power of the Throne.
This temporary exhibition presents various perspectives on this universal symbol across time and space through historical and artistic objects. From the throne from the Ridderzaal and the world-famous Iron Throne, to an Ashanti throne and Maria as the Seat of Wisdom, from the unique universe of artist Jan Hoek to royal thrones from the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Curator Niels Coppes: ‘The first thing that came to mind was the throne linked to the King’s Speech. Normally, it is impossible to have the throne on loan in an exhibition, yet due to the renovation of the Ridderzaal, it was possible.’
Thrones have existed in all times and cultures, from ancient times to the present, from west to east, from south to north. The throne symbolizes a special, elevated position. It is a seat of authority, of power: divine, royal, and sometimes self-conceived. For many, the throne symbolizes a special and elevated position, one of authority and power. Often royal, sometimes imagined as seen in movies and fairy tales, the throne also represents wisdom, justice, and stability. This is why a throne can unite people, but it can also lead to discussions.
What’s certain is that thrones come in various forms. They can be extremely luxurious or understated, classic or contemporary, factual or fantastical. Thrones differ in appearance, and they are layered in meaning. A very famous throne of today’s age would be the Iron Throne from the tv series Game of Thrones, which will be on show at Paleis Het Loo. Coppes: ‘Sometimes it’s surprising how organizations react spontaneously. They thought it was a wonderful plan, and that’s how this incredible throne is now on display in Apeldoorn.’
The exhibition Power of the Throne delves into the ‘theatre of power’ that we have known for centuries, a spectacle that remains relevant today. Leaders have cleverly utilized the worldwide symbolism of the throne. Where do the boundaries of power lie? When the is throne perceived as cruel, incapable or outdated, calls for change arise. Is it a sign of power, or does it primarily hold symbolic value? And does the throne have a future?
Power of the Throne
Paleis Het Loo
14 October 2023 to 10 March 2024
Tickets at www.paleishetloo.com