Germany hands back Benin bronzes to Nigeria
July 1, 2022 - Germany has agreed to return around 1,100 priceless artefacts to Nigeria, more than a century after they were looted by British soldiers from a once-powerful kingdom in west Africa.
The Benin Bronzes were stolen by a British colonial expedition from the royal palace of the Kingdom of Benin – present-day Nigeria – in 1897.
Following auctions at the start of the 20th century, bronzes ended up in museums and private collections in Europe and North America.
The political agreement with immediate effect turns into Nigerian property 1,100 artefacts held by the Linden Museum in Stuttgart, Berlin’s Humboldt Forum, the Cologne Rautenstrauch-Joest Museum, Hamburg’s Museum of World Cultures and the State Ethnographic Collections of Saxony.
The Benin bronzes could in the future be held at the Edo Museum of West African Art (EMOWAA) in Benin City, designed by the Ghanaian-British architect David Adjaye.
Hundreds of pieces are still held in the British Museum, which has come under increasing pressure to return them in the wake of last year’s Black Lives Matter protests.