The Restitution of African cultural heritage is the simple title of the research report by Bénédicte Savoy and Felwine Sarr, could revolutionize the handling of colonial looted art, Yes. The in Berlin and Paris, teaching is an art historian and the Senegalese Economist and Essayist, is the maximum requirement. Their recommendation is that, immediately and without further exploration of the provenances of all objects from French museums returned should be captured in the course of colonial conquests or of French colonial officials were taken.

This also applies to pieces that were recorded after 1960, in the collections, but previously out of the country. Had to be in the restitution procedures established that an exhibit is wrong in the Museum’s possession, the burden of proof is now reversed. In the future, the curators need to provide evidence of the legal acquisition, you want to keep the factory.

Two days before on Friday afternoon, the 240-page Report to the President of the French Republic Emmanuel Macron is passed, the radical guidelines already discussed in the Public. The Macron commissioned report was leaked to various media such as the newspaper süddeutsche Zeitung and the New York Times. Not a good style. But given the fundamental Changes announced by Macron already in the beginning of the year falls, is likely to surprise the outcome of the report to the President. Macron had promised in a speech before students in Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso, that within five years, the conditions should be created for all African cultural property to be returned. 90.000 objects in total, alone, 70,000 of them from the Musée de Quai Branly, as the Report calculates that.

What does this mean for the opening of the Humboldt forum?

Now you will see what starts Macron with the figures of Savoy, and Sarr. The two had traveled in the last few months, in Africa and in the museums and universities of Senegal, Mali, Cameroon, and Benin looked around. Following Delivery of the report will be on Friday evening also available in English – Macron relies on transparency. For the French readers, the search result is from Monday in the form of a book.

What are the effects of the Report on the international Museum landscape, still less to predict. For Germany, especially to Berlin, where in the coming year, the Humboldt Forum is opened, it sets an important character – at least for further discussion. Museum Intern at running behavior, such as the on Thursday morning in Dahlem opened a Symposium on the topic “Vertagtes heritage? Past and present of colonialism,” turned out to be. Unlike the Secretary-General of the Goethe-Institut, Johannes Ebert, together with the Prussian cultural heritage Foundation had invited, Foundation President Hermann Parzinger in his greeting with no word on the report. Certainly, the Goethe-Institute has to take care of any collection, while the National museums present from the fall of 2019 their Ethnological collections in the Humboldt Forum, and, now, in the cross-fire of criticism.

On the sidelines of the conference, said Parzinger, but to the proposals of the Savoy, and Sarr, if also skeptical. Provenance research should not be taken lightly, as the President of the Foundation. The suspicion that the museums would neglect their obligations, and restitution are generally critical, he said. He stressed the responsibility to the objects.

“were taken away things. Now you will need to be returned.”

During Parzinger reacts as the head of one of the largest Museum associations in the Federal Republic of Germany tend to disagree on the French advance, El Hadji Malick Ndiaye from Dakar, the participants of the two-day Dahlem Colloquium, excited by the proposals, Savoy, and Sarrs. “What in the world is radical?”, the Director of the Musée Théodore Monod d’art africain, in which the two had started their research trip. “It is quite simple: The things were taken away. Now you will need to be returned.” This was a question of justice.

At the same time, the Senegalese curator makes it clear that the museums may not be with the restitution left alone. This is the task of politics. Macron have taken the Initiative, now the Minister of culture would have to occur on both sides in the negotiation: the start of a new cultural diplomacy. Ndiaye warns, to leave the objects of individual interests of the representatives of deprived Communities. The risk is that you land on the art market was then. In addition, he calls on the former colonial need to help countries in Museum education, with Equipment and Expertise.

Very much different also Parzinger said in his opening speech, when he spoke of “need to share the narrative power of objects” with each other. At which place have for this to happen, first of all, he leaves no doubt, only the German museums, then the African partners. Savoy and Sarrs “New ethics of relations”, as the subtitle of her report, accurately represents the hierarchy in question. France, the Grande Nation, can here prove true-to-size.