Rijksmuseum in talks with Sri Lanka, Indonesia about returning stolen art
The Rijksmuseum is in talks with Sri Lanka and Indonesia about the restitution of art taken from those countries in colonial times. Rijksmusuem director Taco Dibbits called it scandalous that the Netherlands hasn't worried about this issue before now. "We should have done this much earlier. There is no excuse for that", he said to newspaper Trouw.
Martine Gosselink, the head of the Rijksmuseum's History department, will travel to Sri Lanka in two weeks to discuss the possible return of artworks, including an antique cannon and the diamond of Banjarmasin, a Sultan of Borneo who once owned the jewel. Later this spring she will travel to Indonesia.
The Rijksmusuem can not decide by itself to return art pieces. As they are state property, the Minister of Education, Culture and Science has to agree.
Last week the National Museum of World Cultures published a guideline for the restitution of stolen art. The Museum, an umbrella organization covering several Dutch museums, said that it wanted to actively look for items in its collection of 375 thousand objects that are eligible for return.