Gijs van der Ham's book Tarnished Gold tells the story of the Dutch presence in Ghana with reference to a fascinating series of artefacts, maps, drawings, engravings and paintings, most of them part of the Rijksmuseum collection in Amsterdam. This painful and yet fascinating story is one of inhumanity and curiosity, competition and exploitation, power and subjugation, the encounter between two very different cultures, and human lives that were dramatically and irrevocably changed - above all, and most tragically, by the slave trade.
Gijs van der Ham (b. 1955) is senior curator of history at the Rijksmuseum. In 2013 he published The history of the Netherlands in 100 objects, a book likewise based on the Rijksmuseum collection.
Tarnished Gold is part of the Country Series published by the Rijksmuseum's History Department. By researching objects from the Rijksmuseum Collection, the series describes the shared history of the Netherlands with Indonesia, Japan, China, India, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Ghana, Suriname and Brazil.