Germany and Nigeria have reached an agreement on how to deal with the Benin bronzes in German museums, which are considered colonial loot. According to information from the German Press Agency, Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock and Minister of State for Culture Claudia Roth (both Greens) will sign a declaration of intent with their Nigerian counterparts in Berlin on Friday, which will pave the way for the transfer of ownership of the valuable art objects.
The signing takes place at the Federal Foreign Office. Minister of Culture Lai Mohammed and Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Zubairo Dada are said to represent the Nigerian side.
Two bronzes are to be handed over immediately afterwards. According to dpa information, the pieces come from Berlin stocks. Around 1100 of the artistic bronzes from the palace of the then Kingdom of Benin, which today belongs to Nigeria, can be found in around 20 German museums. Most of the objects come from the British looting of 1897.
Last year, representatives from the federal government, Nigeria and museums announced the retransfer of ownership rights. The Linden Museum in Stuttgart, the Museum am Rothenbaum (Hamburg), the Rautenstrauch-Joest Museum (Cologne), the Ethnological Museum in Dresden/Leipzig and the Ethnological Museum in Berlin all have the most extensive collections. So far, these five houses are involved in the planned transfer of ownership.