The Schøyen collection
Press release 14.9.04
from Blue Shield Norway

It is very regrettable when museums and private collectors acquire objects which have been stolen or plundered from cultural sites, like it has recently been shown to be the case with parts of the Schøyen collection. Such buyers form a basis for the illegal market and thus contribute to more plunder. This applies especially to plundering taking part in connection with war or warlike situations with a collapse of law and order, like recently in Afghanistan or Iraq.

Countries where plunder has taken place have a legitimate right to have illegally exported objects repatriated. Those who have acquired such objects should enter an agreement stating that the cultural heritage will be repatriated when local conditions make this feasible. How the collection is to be kept in the mean time should be agreed upon between those responsible for the collection and the authorities of the country of origin. There should be full openness about the decisions which are being made.

Blue Shield Norway, which works to protect cultural heritage in situations of war or disaster, calls upon the Government of Norway to sign or ratify the relevant international conventions concerning protection of cultural heritage, and to influence other countries to do the same. This applies most notably to the Second Protocol (1999) of the Hague Convention of 1954 about cultural heritage in war situations and the UNESCO 1970 Convention about illegal export and import of cultural heritage.

to the top