This pioneering study charts the one-way traffic of cultural and historical objects during five centuries of European colonialism. It presents abundant examples of disappeared colonial objects and systematizes these into war booty, confiscations by missionaries and contestable acquisitions by private persons and other categories. Former colonies consider this as a historical injustice that has not been undone. Former colonial powers have kept most of the objects in their custody. In the 1970s the Netherlands and Belgium returned objects to their former colonies Indonesia and DR Congo; but their number was considerably smaller than what had been asked for. Nigeria's requests for the return of some Benin objects, confiscated by British soldiers in 1897, are rejected. As there is no consensus on how to deal with colonial objects, disputes about other categories of contestable objects are analyzed. For Nazi-looted artworks the 1998 Washington Conference Principles have been widely accepted. Although non-binding, they promote fair and just solutions and help people to reclaim art works that they lost involuntarily. To promote solutions for colonial objects, nine Principles for Dealing with Colonial Cultural and Historical Objects are presented, based on the Washington Conference Principles. The nine are part of a model to facilitate mediation in disputes about them. This model can help to break the impasse in negotiations between former colonizers and colonies. Europe, the former colonizers, should do more pro-active provenance research into the acquisitions from the colonial era, both in public institutions and private collections. "This is a very commendable treatise which has painstakingly and with detachment explored the emotive issue of the return of cultural objects removed in colonial times to the metropolis. He has looked at the issues from every continent with clarity and perspicuity." Prof. Folarin Shyllon (University of Ibadan) "Momumentaal werk van hoge kwaliteit. Het hoofdstuk over Congo is bijzonder goed gedocumenteerd en leerrijk" Dr. Guido Gryseels (Director-General of the Royal Museum for Central Africa in Tervuren) CLUES is an international scientific series covering research in the field of culture, history and heritage which have been written by, or were performed under the supervision of members of the research institute CLUE+.
This Handbook provides a cutting edge study of the fast developing field of international law on the protection of cultural heritage by taking stock of the recent developments and of the core concepts and current challenges. The legal protection of cultural heritage has come under renewed focus from the international community and states since the 1990s. This is evidenced by the adoption of a range of international instruments. Countries are also enacting cultural heritage legislation or overhauling existing laws within their own national territory. Contributions address the protection of immovable and movable, tangible and intangible cultural heritage in peacetime and in the event of armed conflict as well as the interaction between specific regimes of cultural heritage protection with other fields of international law, including international criminal law, human rights and humanitarian law, environmental law, international trade, investments, and intellectual property. The last part of the Handbook covers diverse regional systems of heritage protection.