German Minister of Culture meets with France to find common ground on colonial heritage and European policy

German Minister of State for Culture, Monika Grütters, and her French counterpart, Françoise Nyssen, met in Paris on Friday April 6 to discuss common projects and concerns, including a possible multilateral approach to African heritage, which was collected during the colonial period. period, in the museums of nations.

The German government has come under increased pressure since French President Emmanuel Macron spoke out on the subject, pledging to exhibit African art in French museums in African cities. (He stopped before promising restitution.)

According to an official statement from the German ministry, Grütters urged the French ministry on the urgent issue of colonial legacy and the need to organize next steps as part of a multilateral effort with the French government and others. partners. Artnet News has contacted the French Ministry of Culture for more details on what these goals will entail, but has not received a response at the time of publication.

Germany is set to open the controversial Humboldt Forum in Berlin in 2019, which will bring together the city’s ethnographic and Asian art collections in a reconstruction of its Prussian-era palace.

Rendering of the Berlin Palace. Copyright Stiftung Berliner Schloss – Forum Humboldt / Franco Stella

“The fact that the first trip abroad of my second term was to visit my French colleague in Paris concerned me personally. At the same time, friendship and close exchanges between two great cultural nations are also the driving force of Europe, ”said Grütters, who was returned to her cabinet in February by German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Grütters also met French foreign policy adviser Philippe Etienne and Claudia Ferazzi, President Macron’s cultural adviser. She will also visit the Musée du quai Branly and the Musée de l’Homme in Paris to further discuss colonial heritage as well as possible cooperation with the Humboldt Forum and other German institutions.

In the coming months, the German Museum Association will publish its first recommendations on the issue, a project undertaken with financial support from the German Ministry of Culture, overseen by Grütters.

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