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Netherlands hands back over 200 pre-Hispanic artefacts to Mexico

Mexico’s foreign ministry is running a campaign to recover its cultural heritage held in foreign collections. It succeeded in having the Netherlands return 223 pre-Hispanic archaeological pieces, the ministry has said.

The returns were the result of “active cooperation” between the two countries and showed a commitment to restore historical and cultural objects to their place of origin, the ministry said in a statement on Thursday.

Mexico’s heritage institute INAH said the objects dated to between 400 BC and the 16th century and had belonged to various pre-Hispanic cultures from both Pacific and Atlantic coasts as well as the central highlands.

President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s administration has a campaign called “My heritage not for sale” (#MiPatrimonioNoSeVende) aimed at bringing back to Mexico what it calls looted pieces.

Lebanon returns hundreds of millennia-old artefacts to Iraq

The INAH this week denounced a Paris auction that included Mexican objects valued in the thousands or tens of thousands of euros.

Last month, neighbouring Guatemala seized some 1,200 Mayan objects found at the house of two US citizens as part of its investigations into crimes against cultural heritage.

The Netherlands this year returned a collection of 343 pre-Hispanic era ceramics to Panama.

Culture ministers from around the world have pledged to boost efforts to return stolen and illegally traded artefacts to countries of origin. Many are in European museums or private collections.

Benin Bronzes: The UK’s first institutional return of looted artefacts

US to return some 17,000 looted antiquities to Iraq

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