• Germany's news in English

Egyptian Nefertiti bust is rightfully ours, Germany says

AFP · 22 Dec 2009, 08:42

Published: 22 Dec 2009 08:42 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Friederike Seyfried, director of the Egyptian Museum and Papyrus Collection at the Neues Museum in the German capital, said Cairo had clear evidence that Berlin's acquisition of the priceless sculpture nearly a century ago was legal.

"The documents on the division of archaeological finds made by the German Orient Society dating from January 1913, which Hawass has at his disposal, clearly show that the bust of Nefertiti is legally in Berlin," she said, referring to Egypt's antiquities chief Zahi Hawass.

"The position of the German side is clear and unambiguous – the acquisition of the bust by the Prussian state was legal," Seyfried said in a statement.

Seyfried noted that Egyptian officials had often staked a claim to the bust of the ancient beauty in the media but said that the Egyptian government had never made an official demand for the sculpture to be returned.

She also disputed media reports that Nefertiti, long a bone of contention between the two countries, was the subject of the meeting with Hawass in Cairo Sunday, saying they had discussed future cooperation such as joint exhibitions.

Hawass, who heads the Supreme Council of Antiquities, said Sunday that Cairo planned to demand the return of Nefertiti, accusing Germany of fraudulently acquiring it.

The statue was discovered in 1912 in southern Egypt by German Egyptologist Ludwig Borchardt.

Egypt first requested the statue's return in 1930 but successive German governments have refused.

Story continues below…

Hawass claims that Nefertiti was sneaked out of Egypt under a coating of clay and shipped to Germany.

Nefertiti, renowned as one of history's great beauties, was the wife of Pharaoh Akhenaton, who is remembered for having converted his kingdom to monotheism with the worship of one sun god, Aton.

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

09:00 December 22, 2009 by Frenemy
haha, pwned! ("thank you come again"!)

Hawass is an Egyptian ultra-nationalist (who thinks he is a decedent of the pharaohs). He needs to leave international law and geopolitics to the professionals and stick to making cameo appearances in NatGeo documentaries...
10:17 December 22, 2009 by Celeon
@ gordon

A swiss researcher claims in one of his books that the bust is a fake.

But he is the only one who believes that.

BTW, the real reason the Berlin museum does not even loan the bust to Egypt for a exhibition is not about worries that it may get damaged.

The museum knows all too well that once the bust leaves Germany for Egypt they will never see it again.
19:02 December 22, 2009 by Henckel
@ Celeon: That's right, the Egyptians would never return it. And it is one of Germany's national treasures, like the Pergamon Altar and the Ishtar Gate, also in Berlin museums.
20:47 December 22, 2009 by zeulf
Yes of Course, If You can Steal it then it simply must be Yours, the Same Sad Logic which keeps WW2 artworks from being returned to the Owner. Same logic heard on the Playground. Lets See? An Egyptian Artwork with no Export paperwork. Hum? What could be the Problem, We Germans Know its Ours.She was one of the early emigrants to Germany.

SOSDD See Above Nazi Cookie Cutters
22:58 December 22, 2009 by Frenemy
"above Nazi cookie cutters"...lol, that's rich!

I'm going to bite my tongue for a bit (because I'm curious about the logical foundation of your argumentative reasoning). Please zeulf....would you indulge my ignorance for just a moment and expand on the whole "rightful-ownership" concept?
02:00 December 23, 2009 by lecturenotes2009
i think, what zeulf meant with above nazi cookie cutters, regarding to Henckel's statement about germany's national treasury. Hey, those items will never be considered as national treasury, you like it or not, since it's not german heritage. they will be considered as invaluable items and collections that makes those museums as the most visited museeums in GErmany.

Frenemy, i though you are the most genie here in local since you give comments to almost articles here. Sad logic which keeps WW2 artworks from being returned to the owner. gosh, don't you know it? many museums in germany severely damaged during theattacks at the end of the Second World War. Many of the display objects were stored in safe places, however, even more were lost!. for example, In 1945, the Red Army took so many museum items, either as war booty or, ostensibly, to rescue them from looting and fires then raging in Berlin. Not until 1958 were most of the objects returned to East Germany. However, many of significant collections remain in Russia. Some are currently stored in the Pushkin Museum in Moscow and the Hermitage in Saint Petersburg. The return of these items has been arranged in a treaty between Germany and Russia but, as of June 2003, is blocked by Russian restitution laws. Museums in Dresden lost the most items. for example, 12 masterpieces (six oil paintings and six sepia drawings) of Caspar David Friedrich (1774-1840), the leader of the German romantic painting belong to Hermitage Museum. we can be quite hard to egypt, but, why can't we also be quite hard in demanding our artworks, smuggled to russia and allied countries during the end of WW2, back to germany? they are almost everywhere around the world too.. but, borrowing Zeulf's word, indeed, it's kind of Same logic heard on the Playground.

hopefully, the paper work will show that Nevertiti is "legally smuggled" from egypt, case closed and it will stay in germany...
02:47 December 23, 2009 by zeulf
I believe that Righful Ownership does not rest in the fact that an item is in Your hands, The Egyptian , Iraki Ect. Art work should be the " National Treasue " of it's respective Country. Just because You dug it up does not mean it is Yours. Nazi Cookie Cutters refers to another story. Stolen Artwork refers to art which was taken from people by the German Nation during the time of Hitler, but has ended up in different hands.

Its enlightening to see , who worries about what Art. I would never have thought about the Treasures Germany lost, As I see them as the agressive Partner whom has not been able to

deal with their past, do not school their Children in the Horrors of the Hitler War and many still make Excuses for Germany and Cry about the All Powerful Amis. If You are German I do not hold You Personally responsible for Hitler. But someone is Responsible and therfor "Liable" for this Crime.

Think how Different the Middle East would be without the influx of Jewish Refugees Pre and Post WW2. lets not forget the Austrians, Except as I was told in Wien ," We had no Nazis Here" LOL It seems that NO Set of People like to look in the Mirror and see the Crimes of the Past.
12:54 December 23, 2009 by Frenemy

"But someone is Responsible and therfor "Liable" for this Crime. "

Yes, there most certainly is. But they are all long-since departed (died of natural causes, executed, assassinated, or hiding in South America...)

Furthermore, over the last 50 years children in Germany have been "educated" (read institutionally "brain-washed") to the point of excessive guilt for historical events they have no relationship to (the consequences of which is contemporary strategic/military/geopolitical paralysis, and the dangerously pacifist mentality of the majority of Germany's population)
18:53 December 23, 2009 by zeulf
Mr Frenemy Wow I have never met such German Children, the Last one told me He felt no Guilt, He was not there. Of course he is correct. Not He nor others born after the War can or most Germans during the War could be Guilty. But i think Germany owes the Victims. And owes their own Kids a better education, 1/2 hour per week in History is not enough to learn from Pre-history to the Present time. There is such a thing as Collective responsability, Look at the Amis. They have and will Pay the African-Americans, Native Americans, Japaneese, Ect Long after the Crimes By the way "Liabal" means they are Financilly responsible, not that they are Crimenaly responsible

I do feel sorry for Todays German Population, They reap the Harvest of what the Kaiser and Fuehrer have sown. Good People whom were born there, I am also Proud of Todays Germans, Who for the most part are the Salt of the World, Nice People for the Most Part God Jul och gott Ny Ar
22:39 December 23, 2009 by Frenemy
Mr. Zeulf, I'm pleased to admit that neither have I .... nor do I have regrets about pwning your weak-ass radio station! (thank god)!!'

Wow, I totally '"pwned them"!? But what exactly do I do do when you totally pwn them exactly???
02:29 December 30, 2009 by ColoSlim
Art and antiquities are not owned by people or museums. We are only custodians of these masterpieces. Eventually Cairo will get her back, but not until Berlin is done acting as her custodian. Germany stole it fair and square, because tourists will go to Cairo with or without Nefertiti, but many may not visit Berlin's museums without her or other great pieces like the Istar Gate. Let it lie and when the time is right, it will find its way back home.
Today's headlines
German small arms ammo exports grow ten-fold
Photo: DPA

The government has come in for criticism after new figures revealed that Germany exported ten times the quantity of small arms ammunition in the first half of 2016 as in the same period last year.

14-year-old stabs 'creepy clown' in prank gone wrong
File photo: DPA.

A 16-year-old in Berlin decided he wanted to scare some friends, but his plot backfired in a violent way.

Four Ku Klux Klan groups active in Germany, says govt
An American member of the KKK at a gathering in Georgia. Photo: EPA.

The German government estimates that there are four Ku Klux Klan (KKK) groups currently active in the country, according to a report by the Süddeutsche Zeitung (SZ) on Tuesday.

Ex-chancellor Schröder to mediate in supermarket row
Gerhard Schröder. Photo: DPA

Can Gerhard Schröder bring an end to the Kaiser's Tengelmann saga?

Outrage over ruling on 'brutal' gang rape of teen girl
The now convicted suspects, sitting in court in Hamburg. Photo: DPA.

A 14-year-old girl was gang-raped and left partially clothed and unconscious in freezing temperatures. Now prosecutors are appealing the sentences for the young men found guilty, most of whom will not set foot in jail.

Dozens of Turkish diplomats apply for asylum in Germany
Demonstrators holding a giant Turkish flag protest against the attempted coup in Istanbul in July. Photo: DPA.

Since the failed putsch attempt in Turkey in July, Germany has received 35 asylum applications from people with Turkish diplomatic passports, the Interior Ministry confirmed on Wednesday.

Hertha Berlin fan club criticised for 'anti-gay banner'
Hertha BSC beat FC Cologne 2-1. Photo: DPA

A 50 metre fan banner apparently mocking the idea of gay adoption has overshadowed Hertha BSC's win in the Bundesliga.

Germany stalls Chinese takeover of tech firm Aixtron
Aixtron headquarters in Herzogenrath. Photo: DPA

The German government on Monday said it had withdrawn approval for a Chinese firm to acquire Aixtron, a supplier to the semiconductor industry, amid growing unease over Chinese investment in German companies.

Politicians call for tough sentences for 'killer clowns'
File photo: DPA.

Now that the so-called 'killer clown' craze has spread from the US to Germany, elected officials are drawing a hard line against such "pranks", with some threatening offenders with jail time of up to a year.

Nearly one in ten Germans are severely disabled
Photo: DPA

New figures reveal that 9.3 percent of the German population last year were considered severely disabled.

10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd