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The Empty Showcase Syndrome: Tough Questions about Cultural Heritage from Colonial Regions

by Jos van Beurden

Amsterdam University Press, 2024


Paper: 978-90-485-6407-1

eISBN: 978-90-485-6408-8

About the Book
European countries, including the Netherlands, are increasingly more willing to return looted art to their former colonies. In doing so, however, they are confronted with hard choices. In The Empty Showcase Syndrome, Jos van Beurden explores three of the toughest questions that countries and governments face. First, former colonial powers often hesitate to relinquish control over the provenance research into the looted items to their former colonies. Secondly, most private owners keep quiet about their collections, while these collections should also be included in the restitution debates. Finally, many former colonies struggle with the question of where exactly the returned collections should go: to their national museums or to the old royal houses or indigenous communities from which these collections were stolen. In this book, Jos van Beurden uses many examples from the Netherlands, which has recently returned stolen art to Indonesia and Sri Lanka.
About the Author
Jos van Beurden has been researching colonial collections and restitution issues for years and has published about this at home and abroad. He previously wrote Inconvenient Heritage – Colonial Collections and Restitution in the Netherlands and Belgium.

Cultural & Ethnic Studies, History, Social Science
Open Access Information

License: CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0