Stolen artefacts return to Sri Lanka after more than 200 years

(LANKAPUVATH | COLOMBO) –During a high level state visit in August, Dutch State Secretary Hon. Gunay Uslu formally signed an ownership transfer of six Sri Lankan artefacts that were stolen by the Dutch.

Now, after more than 200 years abroad, six Sri Lankan artefacts will be physically returned to the Sri Lanka during a two-day event at the Colombo National Museum on 5 and 6 December.

The restitution event will be open to the public and will comprise activities to educate young and old on the long shared history of Sri Lanka and the Netherlands. The museum is also planning to host public lectures by experts, guided tours, and a panel discussion. The area surrounding the museum will have food stalls and there will be fun educational activities for children.

The Dutch Ambassador for International Cultural Cooperation Hon. Dewi van de Weerd will lead a mission overseeing the handover on behalf of the Netherlands. With the restitution the Netherlands aim to strengthen the bilateral ties with Sri Lanka, while also coming to terms with its colonial past. As a part of this, ambassador Van de Weerd hopes to discuss possibilities for further strengthening the cultural cooperation between the Netherlands and Sri Lanka.

Governments, museums, universities and advisory committees in both countries are already working together to return more Sri Lankan cultural heritage in the future. Through these initiatives the government of the Netherlands aims to open a new chapter in its relationship with Sri Lanka. A chapter with more focus on justice, reconciliation and equality

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