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Book discussion | Inconvenient heritage: Colonial collections and restitution in the Netherlands and Belgium | Jos van Beurden

September 29 @ 15:00 - 17:00

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Inconvenient heritage; Colonial collections and restitution in the Netherlands and Belgium

The discussion about objects, human remains and archives from former colonial territories is becoming increasingly heated. Over the centuries, a multitude of items – including a cannon of the King of Kandy, power-objects from DR Congo, Benin bronzes, Javanese temple statues, Maori heads and strategic documents – has ended up in museums and private collections in Belgium and the Netherlands by improper means. Since gaining independence, former colonies have been calling for the return of their lost heritage. As continued possession of these objects only grows more uncomfortable, governments and museums must decide what to do. How did these objects get here? Are they all looted, and how can we find out? How does restitution work in practice? Are there any appealing examples? How do other former colonial powers deal with restitution? Do former colonies trust their intentions? The answers to these questions are far from unambiguous, but indispensable for a balanced discussion.


Jos van Beurden is a senior researcher colonial cultural collections and restitution at the VU University, Amsterdam.


Amsterdam University Press (AUP).

Open access

The book is available online via: https://library.oapen.org/handle/20.500.12657/57086.
The publication of this book is made possible by a grant from the Rijksdienst voor het Cultureel Erfgoed and the Vereniging KITLV.




Marieke Bloembergen, Leiden University & KITLV
Other discussants t.b.a.

Format, time & venue

This book discussion will be a hybrid event and will be held in the conference room of KITLV (room 1.68) and online via Zoom. Time: 15.00 h – 17.00 h CET.


Registration is required. If you want to attend this book talk on location, please register via: [email protected].
Seats are limited.

If you wish to attend the book discussion online, please register here: link will follow soon.


This webinar is organized by the Vereniging KITLV and AUP.


September 29
15:00 - 17:00
Event Category:


Vereniging KITLV & AUP


KITLV, room 1.68 & via Zoom