SPK Foundation Board Clears the Way for the Return of Benin Bronzes to Nigeria
Press release from 06/29/2021
In its meeting today, the Foundation Board of the Stiftung Preussischer Kulturbesitz (Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation) authorized SPK President Hermann Parzinger "to conduct, in the framework of the joint negotiations of the Federal Republic of Germany with the relevant authorities in Nigeria, negotiations on the return of such objects from the collections of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin (National Museums in Berlin) as originate from the Kingdom of Benin and were looted during the British punitive expedition of 1897, [and to do so] independently of the circumstances of their subsequent acquisition by the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin on the art market." The objective, according to the Foundation Board, should be their return, to a substantial extent, in the year 2022. It was also resolved that: "A detailed plan for the further stages of negotiations should be presented to the Foundation Board at its next meeting."
SPK President Parzinger welcomed the decision: "With the mandate of the Foundation Board, we can now agree on specific steps and a timetable with the Nigerian side in order to actually achieve substantial returns. At the same time, we also want to talk about how we can show Benin Bronzes in Germany and particularly at the Humboldt Forum. That is also something in which all the stakeholders in Nigeria have a great interest. We have arranged with our Nigerian partners to continue our discussions promptly and do so in Berlin."