benin bronzes
(Photo by Wolfgang Kumm/picture alliance via Getty Images)

A man walks past so-called Benin Bronzes at the beginning of a press conference before the last partial opening of the Humboldt Forum.

Looted Benin bronzes will go on show for one last time in Berlin.


Looted Benin bronzes that were taken from Africa during the colonial era will be displayed at the Humboldt Museum in Germany before they are officially returned to Nigeria. Among the items that will be exhibited at the museum are a pair of thrones and a commemorative bust of Benin's monarch. These artifacts were used to decorate the walls of the Benin palace before they were stolen.

Germany has been taking steps to return stolen artifacts to Africa, and this is the recent development in a long-standing chain of events. In May 2021, the country took responsibility for genocide it inflicted in Namibia. Germany is one of many countries that are looking to return looted historical pieces of art to their origins.

In a statement, Hermann Parzinger, president of the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation for museums in German's capital said that there is still a lot of work to do. "When it comes to colonial injustice, I think we're on the right path," said Parzinger. "We're nowhere near the end."

According to reports, at least 3,000 Benin artworks are scattered across the world and are especially concentrated in Britain, Germany, and the United States. Berlin’s Ethnological Museum currently has about 530 items that were taken from the Benin Kingdom, and according to experts, the British Museum accounts for 440 pieces of those bronze items. Multiple reports have stated that when the items are returned, Nigeria plans to build a museum in Benin City to house the artifacts.

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