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Seminar | Retrieving Cultural Heritage: Combatting Cypriot art trafficking and restitution

Evening Seminar by LeidenGlobal and Rijksmuseum van Oudheden

Retrieving Cultural Heritage
Combatting Cypriot art trafficking and restitution

Seminar on tracking down and repatriating stolen artefacts and the importance of protecting Global Heritage (in areas of conflict), organised by LeidenGlobal

- Tasoula Hadijtofi (Global cultural campaigner, author, Founder of Walk of Truth)
- Prof. Dr. Willy Bruggeman (Former deputy director at Europol, President of the Belgian Federal Police Board
- Bleda Düring (Archaeologist at Leiden University)

- Pieter ter Keurs (Professor of Museums, Collections & Society at Leiden University)

Date & Time: January 23rd, 19:30 (walk in at 19:00) – 21:30

Location: National Museum of Antiquities, Rapenburg 70, Leiden

The story of art and trafficking from different angles
Tasoula Hadjitofi* will start with a personal story and examples from Cypriot art trafficking and restitution to Cyprus. Followed by former deputy director of Europol, Willy Bruggeman, who will give insights on law enforcement on art trafficking and restitution: What is the role of the international justice system on illicit trafficking in cultural goods, including antiquities? Finally, Bleda Düring will give an archaeologists’ perspective: how do archaeologists play a role in the legal system on the ownership of (notes on) antiquities, that are uncovered during excavations?

These different angles on art trafficking and restitution, will be followed up by a debate between Tasoula Hadjitofi, Willy Bruggeman, Bleda Düring, and Lucas Petit (Head of Collections and Research Department at the National Museum of Antiquities). Professor Pieter ter Keurs will moderate the debate on this subject, including the subject on how museums could or should deal with objects without a clear provenance. How can we all help combat art trafficking? And how should we deal with this?

Tasoula Hadjitofi*
Born in Cyprus, Tasoula Hadjitofi served as Honorary Consul of Cyprus in her adopted country of The Netherlands, a position she used to seek justice for the looting of Cyprus’s cultural heritage through repatriation of its stolen religious artifacts. Hadjitofi began her work repatriating stolen objects in the early 1980s, and is best known for orchestrating the Munich Case, one of the largest art trafficking sting operations in European history. Her efforts led to the arrest of the Turkish art smuggler Aydin Dikmen and the confiscation of over $ 60 million worth of looted artifacts from Cyprus and around the world. Hadjitofi is founder of the organisation Walk of Truth, that engages the public about the importance of protecting global heritage.

Attendance free, registration required

The seminar is one of the activities, linked to the current exhibition at the National Museum of Antiquities (Rijksmuseum van Oudheden) ‘Cyprus, a dynamic Island’, that can be seen in Leiden until March 15th 2020.