CODART, Dutch and Flemish art in museums worldwide

Symposium ‘Loot’

Symposium: 16 November - 17 November 2023

The Mauritshuis is organizing an international symposium on looted art on 16 and 17 November. The occasion is the exhibition ‘Loot – 10 Stories,’ which will take place at the Mauritshuis from 14 September, 2023, to 7 January, 2024, and will later travel to the Humboldt Forum in Berlin.

The symposium is a two-day conference held at the Mauritshuis, gathering approximately 100 – 120 (international) participants. The language used in the symposium will be English.

About looted art

Looted art is a phenomenon that spans throughout history. Booty was used as payment for soldiers, for the humiliation of the defeated, or as a demonstration of power. The majority of these objects were taken by Western Europeans during plundering raids and expeditions. For example, Napoleon bolstered his position by housing looted art treasures in his own Musée Napoléon (the Louvre). Hitler confiscated artworks for his Führermuseum, though it was never realized. In addition to these kind of outrageous projects, numerous objects from around the world were shipped to Europe by colonial powers over the past centuries.

This symposium will focus on the three periods addressed in the exhibition: colonial looted art, Nazi looted art, and Napoleonic looted art.


The first day will be characterized by short lectures from academics, museum professionals, and stakeholders. At the end of the afternoon, we will delve deeper into the concept of the exhibition through a question-and-answer session with the two guest curators. Following that, there will be an opportunity to visit the exhibition.

On the second day, we aim to engage in a constructive and future-oriented dialogue with all participants. Through breakout sessions, topics such as collaborating with communities, technological solutions, and the decolonization of museum collections will be addressed.

Creative Storytelling Studio Jongsma + O’Neill will be present on both days and will contribute on the topic of new storytelling technologies.

More information about the program can be found on the website.

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