November 21, 2011

Dutch city returns fragment from Athens Acropolis

Posted at 2:25 pm in Elgin Marbles, Similar cases

A museum in the Netherlands is returning a fragment from the Acropolis that was taken by a Dutch tourist as a souvenir fifty years ago. This is a similar sort of case to a fragment from the Colosseum in Rome, that was returned from the USA in 2009. The Museum of Antiquities in Leiden wants other museums to follow their example – unfortunately most seem intent on taking a less enlightened approach to the issue.


Piece of Acropolis returned after 50 years
Published on 11 April 2011 – 11:09am

The Museum of Antiquities in the Dutch city of Leiden will return to Greece a small marble fragment of the Acropolis: the ancient fortress and temple complex in the capital Athens.

Newspaper de Volkskrant reports that the piece of marble, probably part of a cornerstone located just above one of the Acropolis’ columns, was taken by a Dutch tourist more than fifty years ago.

The Dutchman wanted to donate the stone fragment, measuring 15 by 5 centimetres, to the National Museum of Antiquities. The museum could not accept the donation, however, as the fragment has been taken out of Greece illegally, and the Museum has decided to return the marble fragment to Greece.

The Greek embassy in The Hague says it hopes other museums will follow the Museum of Antiquities’ example. In the past, many tourists have taken parts of Greek monuments illegally to keep as souvenirs.

A spokesperson said that he hoped this incident would eventually lead to the return of the Parthenon Marbles: a collection of marble sculptures and inscriptions that were removed from the temple by the British in the early 19th century. The Parthenon Marbles, also known as the Elgin Marbles, are currently on display at the British Museum in London.

(gsh, ks)

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