De Benin Dialogue
Press release:

Statement Benin Dialogue Group

The Benin Dialogue is a multi-lateral collaborative meeting that brings together a number of museum representatives from Austria, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden and the United Kingdom, with key representatives from Nigeria.

The Benin Dialogue is a closed meeting and in 2018 will take place at the Nationaal Museum van Wereldculturen (National Museum of World Cultures) in Leiden, The Netherlands, on 19th October.  

This is the fifth meeting of its kind to take place since 2010 (previous meetings took place in Vienna, Berlin, Benin City and Cambridge).  

The agenda for the 2018 meeting in Leiden is guided by the outcome of the meeting that took place in 2017 at Trinity College, Cambridge. The key agenda item is how partners can work together to establish a museum in Benin City with a rotation of Benin works of art from a consortium of European museums in collaboration with the Nigerian National Commission of Museums and Monuments and the Royal Court of Benin.  

The focus will therefore be on tangible outcomes and programmes connected with this particular ambition. 

It is acknowledged that this event occurs within a larger context and does not imply that Nigerian partners have waived claims for the eventual return of works of art from the Royal Court of Benin. However this is not part of the business of the Benin Dialogue in Leiden in 2018. Questions of return are bilateral issues, and are best addressed with individual museums, and more specifically within their national system of governance which may well be state ownership.


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