Panama successful in reclaiming pre-Hispanic artefacts from the Netherlands

Image - Giselle Gonzalez Villarrue: Instagram

Image - Giselle Gonzalez Villarrue: Instagram

On it’s mission to reclaim it’s looted cultural heritage from international collections, Panama has received a trove of pre-Hispanic artefacts from the Netherlands. 

Over 340 ceramic objects were in the collection, in what Erika Mouynes, Panama’s Foreign Minister, called the “largest repatriation of archaeological pieces in the history of Central America.” According to ARTnews, Panama are also expecting another repatriation of their cultural objects from Italy. 

The ceramic objects which the Netherlands have returned were discovered by Elizabeth Ward, Panama’s ambassador to the Netherlands in the Leiden University. The objects will be exhibited in the Reina Torres de Arauz archaeological museum in Panama city. 

The repatriation of the objects represents, as Giselle Gonzalez Villarrue, the Minister of Culture has explained, “the fulfillment of our responsibility and commitment to rescue our identity, of our history as a source of social cohesion and collective pride.” 

He went on to describe these cultural heritage objects, as well as others which are due to be returned to Panama, “serve as an economic engine for cultural tourism that we develop, hence the importance of preserving them, restoring them and providing them with the value that allows an exhibition of these with their historical context.” 

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Image - Annie Dabb
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Annie Dabb

From Newcastle originally, Annie is based in Manchester and is a writer for the Euro Weekly News covering news and features. Got a story you want to share? Then get in touch at