Restitutions and Sustainable Collaboration: Cameroonian Delegates Visit Berlin

Ethnologisches Museum

As part of a tour of several German museums, delegates from Cameroon’s Interministerial Committee for the Restitution of Illegally Obtained Cultural Assets along with representatives from traditional Cameroonian royal families visited the Cameroon exhibition at the Ethnologisches Museum at the Humboldt Forum.

Alongside the visit to the museum, their three-day stay in Berlin included a series of in-depth discussions with the Ethnologisches Museum’s staff and board of directors concerning future collaborative efforts and possible restitutions from the museum’s Cameroon collection, which contains over 5,000 objects.

The visit occurred following an extensive dialogue meeting that was held at Stuttgart’s Linden-Museum in mid-January. Alongside the Ethnologisches Museum in Berlin and the Linden-Museum in Stuttgart, the delegates’ journey through Germany also took them to the Rautenstrauch-Joest-Museum in Cologne and the MARKK – Museum am Rothenbaum in Hamburg, among others.

Negotiations Concerning the Restitution of Objects from the Cameroon Collection in Berlin

In July 2022, the Foundation Board of the Stiftung Preussischer Kulturbesitz (SPK) cleared the way for the restitution of a particularly significant object from the Ethnologisches Museum’s Cameroon collection: a statue of the female figure known as Ngonnso’, from the historic kingdom of Nso’ in north-western Cameroon, considered to be the ancestral mother of the Nso’ people. The Foundation Board authorised SPK President Hermann Pretzinger to finalise an agreement on returning the statue of Ngonnso’ to the responsible Cameroonian authorities. With the formation of Cameroon’s interministerial committee for the return of illegally obtained cultural assets, negotiations concerning the restitution of this and other objects from the Cameroon collection in Berlin are now entering a decisive phase.