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Return of the First Ten Benin Objects from the Collection of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin’s Ethnologisches Museum

Ethnologisches Museum

In a festive ceremony on 20 December 2022 in Nigeria, 22 of the Benin Bronzes being repatriated from Germany were handed over and presented to the public, including 10 objects from the Ethnologisches Museum of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin. They will go on display in a new museum in Benin City.

In August 2022, the SPK was the first institution in the world to transfer ownership of all the Benin Bronzes in the collection of the Ethnologisches Museum to Nigeria. These 512 works ended up in Berlin as a result of the so-called punitive expedition carried out by British forces in 1897.

Around a third of the objects that have been transferred to Nigerian ownership will remain on display as loans at Berlin’s Humboldt Forum, initially for a period of 10 years. The remaining objects will be gradually returned to Nigeria, in consultation with local representatives.