Restitution of Benin objects
On 29 April 2021, the Saxon Minister of State for Culture and Tourism Barbara Klepsch and the Director of the GRASSI Museum für Völkerkunde zu Leipzig, Léontine Meijer-van Mensch, took part in the discussion round of the Minister of State for Culture Monika Grütters on the restitution of Benin objects. The political signal for the return of the looted objects was given. Monika Grütters, Minister of State for Culture, said:
"We are facing up to the historical and moral responsibility of bringing Germany's colonial past to light and coming to terms with it. [...] I am glad and grateful that we have been able to agree on the common goal of developing a coordinated stance in Germany and reaching a common understanding with the Nigerian side. In addition to the greatest possible transparency, we are above all striving for substantial restitution. In this way, we would like to contribute to understanding and reconciliation with the descendants of the people who were robbed of their cultural treasures during the period of colonialism. We are planning the first returns in the course of 2022."
The GRASSI Museum für Völkerkunde zu Leipzig and also the Museum für Völkerkunde Dresden hold objects from the former Kingdom of Benin. The restitution of looted objects is not only an ethical and moral duty, but also the beginning of a transnational exchange to tell the effects of colonialism to this day as part of a common history.
Read more (in German)