Cabinet promises to return stolen cultural objects to former colonies
The outgoing cabinet promised on Friday to return looted cultural objects currently held by the National Art Collection to former colonies on request. The government also recognized that the indigenous populations of former colonial areas were wronged by Dutch settlers who took possession of these cultural objects against their will.
In October, the Council for Culture advised Minister of Culture, Ingrid van Engelshoven, to unconditionally return cultural goods from former Dutch colonies to the country of origin if so requested.
“I think it is important that the colonial collections are accessible and that they tell the related stories from different perspectives,” said Van Engelshoven on Friday. “This can also mean a painful confrontation with the injustice of our past, an injustice that can sometimes still be felt every day,” she added.
The cabinet wants to ensure the return of the cultural object to the countries of origin, in collaboration with the respective governments of the former colonies. An independent assessment committee is being set up for this purpose.
“It is good news that the cabinet is fully adopting the recommendations from the advisory report,” says a spokesperson for the Council for Culture.