Combatting Cypriot art trafficking and restitution
date: Thursday 23 Janary 2020
time: 19:30 – 21:30 (walk in at 19:00)
location: Temple Hall, National Museum of Antiquities (address and route)
admission: free | please register in advance
The seminar is one of the activities linked to the exhibition Cyprus. A Dynamic Island, that can be seen at the National Museum of Antiquities until 15 March 2020.
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 and Society at Leiden University)
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?
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.