Germany, Nigeria to sign accord on return of Benin Bronzes

Germany is set to sign an agreement with Nigeria that paves the way for the return of important sculptures known as the Benin Bronzes that were taken from Africa in the late 19th century

Germany and Nigeria are set to sign an agreement in Berlin Friday paving the way for the return of centuries-old sculptures known as the Benin Bronzes that were taken from Africa in the 19th century and displayed in German museums and elsewhere.

Governments and museums in Europe and North America have increasingly sought to resolve ownership disputes over objects that were looted during colonial times.

A British colonial expedition stole the bas-relief Bronzes along with a vast number of other treasures in 1897 from the royal palace of the Kingdom of Benin, in what’s now southern Nigeria.

The Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation, an authority that oversees many of Berlin’s museums, announced last year that it was beginning formal negotiations on returning pieces that are in its collection. Many of them date from the 16th to the 18th centuries.

The memorandum of understanding will be signed by German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock and Culture Minister Claudia Roth, as well as Nigeria's Culture Minister Lai Mohammed and Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Zubairo Dada.

Final details of the restitution have yet to be announced, but the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation says it expects to keep some of the Bronzes on loan from Nigeria.

The Smithsonian removed 10 Benin Bronze pieces from display at its National Museum of African Art in Washington, D.C., and announced a new ethical return policy this year. Other U.S. museums have also begun discussions about returning such objects, while France declared last year that it would return the so-called Abomey Treasures to Benin as part of a wider effort to make amends for colonial wrongs.

Many of the objects remain in the British Museum, which has resisted calls to return them.

___

his story has been corrected to show that the agreement will be signed between Germany and Nigeria in Berlin, not in Nigeria.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in