The Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation, which oversees Berlin’s museums, announced it has started the process to return looted Benin Bronzes plundered in the 19th century. This was disclosed by the Foundation’s President, Hermann Parzinger, in a statement on Tuesday, according to the News Agency of Nigeria. The Foundation runs the Berlin Ethnological Museum, which holds around 530 artefacts from the former kingdom of Benin, including around 440 bronzes, which were looted by the British in 1897.
The Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation’s board added that “the aim should be substantial returns in 2022 already,” stating that it plans on discussing with the Nigerian government “how we can show Benin Bronzes in Germany,” including in Berlin’s Humboldt Forum, a newly built complex that will house much of the city’s overseas collections.
What you should know
European and Western museums have started the process of returning stolen artefacts from Nigeria and signing deals with the Nigerian government to display in their museums as Nairametrics reported last year while announcing the repatriation of a 600-year-old Ife Terracotta, which was smuggled out of Nigeria with a forged document to the Netherlands, through Ghana in 2019.
Meanwhile, the governor of Edo State, Godwin Obaseki, also disclosed last year that his administration is building a museum, as discussions are underway for several returns of Benin Bronze from western museums and private collectors in 2021 in a move that is capable of jump-starting broader movements across Africa and beyond.