Returning colonial-era heritage and the law – looking back to move forward

1 February 2021

In the fall of last year, the Dutch Raad voor Cultuur has issued an advice on how the Dutch government and Dutch museums (and the broader public in the Netherlands in general) should deal with the continuing presence of colonial-era heritage in Dutch museum collections. The report constitutes a crucial step towards addressing the continued presence of colonial-era heritage in Dutch (and European) museums. It also raises a number of questions, in particular how do we go forward from here.

Vanessa Tünsmeyer

Dr. V.M. Tünsmeyer researches on (indigenous) cultural rights, repatriation of heritage and international cultural heritage law. She coordinates the course Law & Art at the faculty of law and is a member of the Maastricht Centre for Human Rights and the Maastricht Centre for Arts and Culture, Conservation and Heritage. She defended her PhD thesis entitled “Repatriation of Sacred Indigenous Cultural Heritage and the Law – Lessons from the United States and Canada” (Springer forthcoming) in October 2020. The project considered methods to better align repatriation with international and regional human rights standards to respond to the implications that the repatriation debate has for the human rights of affected actors.