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Clues Research into provenance history and significance of cultural objects and collections acquired in colonial situations

On March 17, 2022, the report 'Clues. Research into provenance history and significance of cultural objects and collections acquired in colonial situations' was presented to the State Secretary for Culture and Media.

Download the report here (Dutch).

Download the report here (English).

Download the report here (Indonesian).

The report provides specific guidance and recommendations for conducting provenance research. Researchers can use the overview as a reference work when selecting objects for research, finding and interpreting sources or writing a provenance report.

The report also contains a ‘Draft Assessment Framework’. This can serve as a tool for an independent assessment committee to be established, as announced by the ministry, whose purpose will be to deal with future restitution applications from countries of origin and advise the ministry on restitution issues.

Finally, the report contains a number of urgent recommendations regarding cooperation with researchers and heritage institutions in countries of origin and further policy with regard to provenance research, in particular the question of how to ensure that the knowledge and the networks created can be kept available to all possible parties involved in the Netherlands and abroad.

In addition to the research report, the project produced around 50 provenance reports concerning objects mainly from the collections of the Rijksmuseum and the National Museum of World Cultures. These provide the foundation for the findings and recommendations.

In addition, and in light of the project, the 'working paper' The history of the Indonesian-Dutch restitution debate has been published. 

About the project

The Pilot Provenance Research on Objects of the Colonial Era (PPROCE) was a joint initiative of the NIOD Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies, the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam (RMA) and the National Museum of World Cultures (NMVW), carried out under the direction of the NIOD and its in-house Expert Centre Restitution (ECR). The purpose of the project was to develop a research methodology and make recommendations for the organisation and policy surrounding provenance research into colonial collections. The project ran from November 2019 to 17 March 2022.

Project partners were the Open University, the Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies (KITLV), Leiden University and the Reinwardt Academy. The project was carried out with the financial support of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science of the Netherlands.

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