Long History of Restitution

The German Lost Art Foundation will hold its annual autumn conference, "The Long History of Claims for the Return of Cultural Heritage from Colonial Contexts", online on November 17-19, 2021.



This year, the event will be dedicated to the often forgotten history preceding the current debate on the return of cultural goods and collections from colonial contexts. The conference examines the long history of resistance against colonial looting and of demands for the return of cultural heritage.

The current debate on how to engage with collections from colonial contexts may appear comparatively novel – but protests against the removal and theft of cultural property and human remains have already existed since the beginning of colonial expansion. Already more than 100 years ago, individuals, groups, and states defended their heritage and sometimes successfully reclaimed it. Researchers from the Global South and North, experts from Ethiopia and the Netherlands, Germany, Ghana, Colombia or the USA examine such historical returns, discuss case studies, analyse important historical moments and dynamics, but also ask about motivations: Does restitution really always mean decolonisation? And what can we learn from the history of protests and restitution? 

The conference, "The Long History of Claims for the Return of Cultural Heritage from Colonial Contexts" will be held online on November 17-19, 2021 in cooperation with the Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz and the Research Center for Material Culture of the National Museum of World Cultures, the Netherlands.

Please register until November 16 via https://history-of-restitution.com. Here you can also access the preliminary conference programme. Participation is free of charge.

While the number of active attendants had to be limited, the conference will also be broadcast without registration via livestream on YouTube and www.kulturgutverluste.de. After the conference, an audio-visual event documentation including all presentations will be made available. Furthermore, the fourth volume of the Foundation’s publication series "Provenire" will be dedicated to the conference.

Please note: the conference language will be English; German contributions will be translated.


Anmeldung bei


Nähere Informationen

Stefanie Kobow

Tel. +49 391/727 763-23

conference[ at ]kulturgutverluste.de