Copenhagen museum returns stolen artefacts to Italy

Long-running dispute finally settled

Copenhagen’s Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek art museum signed an agreement on Tuesday with the Italian ministry of culture agreeing to return looted archaeological artefacts to Italy in December in exchange for a long-term loan arrangement.

Flemming Friborg, the director of the Glyptotek, said the issue had been settled after “intense academic dialogue”.

Among the items being returned to Italy are artefacts taken from a royal tomb situated in a region north of Rome. Italy claims that American antiquities dealer Robert Hecht illegally took the art objects.

Hech, who died in 2012 aged 92, spent the last seven years of his life on trial in Italy for conspiring to traffic in looted artefacts.

Illegally obtained
The Danish museum had originally denied the artefacts were looted, but finally conceded they were obtained through illegal excavations and exported without a licence.

“The agreement that we have signed today has turned a crisis into an opportunity,” said the Italian culture minister, Dario Franceschini.