Ethiopia to Repatriate Stolen Historical Artifacts from Netherlands

ADDIS ABABA – Ethiopia on Friday said arrangements are being made to bring back its historical artifacts, dated before the 15th century, from Europe.

The artifacts were about to be presented to auction at Venduehuis der Notarissen in the Netherlands on 25th June 2021.

However, the Embassy of Ethiopia in The Hague successfully lodged an appeal for the auctioneer to halt the sale of the looted Artifacts a week ahead of the scheduled auction.



The set artifacts include three medieval illuminated Ethiopic manuscripts, dating before the 15th century, and two Coptic textile fragments, according to the embassy.

“Following the vendor’s decision to withdraw the items from auction based on this request, on the 2nd of July 2021, the artifacts were donated to the Embassy by an anonymous intermediary and friend of Ethiopia,” Ministry of foreign affairs said in a statement.

It also said the government is now “working on arrangements for the eventual return of the artifacts to their rightful location” in Ethiopia.

Many see this as a small step in an effort to repatriate Ethiopian artifacts, including those looted by British colonial forces during the Battle of Maqdala in 1868, found in various European institutions.

Looted Maqdala artifacts can be found in institutions such as the British Museum, the Victoria & Albert Museum, the National Army Museum, the British Library, the Bodleian Library at Oxford University, and the Cambridge University Library.

When the Ethiopian embassy there filed formal restitution claims with these institutions in 2007, the requests were denied.

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