The Dutch government is returning 478 objects looted during colonial times to Indonesia and Sri Lanka.
Following multiple claims from Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Nigeria, the Dutch Secretary of State for Culture and Media Gunay Uslu announced the decision Thursday to repatriate objects including the “Lombok treasure,” consisting of 335 objects from Lombok, Indonesia, the Pita Maha collection, a key collection of modern art from Bali and the 18th-century Cannon of Kandy, a ceremonial weapon from Sri Lanka made of bronze, silver and gold and inlaid with rubies.
“This is a historic moment,” Uslu said in a press statement. “It’s the first time we’re following recommendations… to give back objects that should never have been brought to the Netherlands. But more than anything, it’s a moment to look to the future. We’re not only returning objects; we’re also embarking on a period of closer cooperation with Indonesia and Sri Lanka in areas like collection research, presentation and exchanges between museums.”