J. (Jos) van Beurden, MA

Jos van BeurdenJos van Beurden graduated in 1971 (MA Law - main subjects: Philosophy of law at Utrecht University, and Peace-research at Groningen University). As a journalist he focused for over twenty years on the protection, theft and smuggling of cultural and historical treasures of vulnerable states and peoples. Often based on field-trips to countries such as Mali, Ethiopia, Sudan, Bangladesh, and Cambodia, Jos van Beurden has written numerous articles, made radio documentaries and published some books. His most recent publication is ‘The Return of Cultural and Historical Treasures: The Case of the Netherlands’ (KIT Publishers, 2012). For his contribution to the protection of the cultural heritage (and other merits), Jos van Beurden was appointed in 2012 Officer in the Order of Orange-Nassau.

PhD Research: 'Treasures in Trusted Hands - On the future of colonial cultural objects'

During the last decades some agreement has been reached about how to handle human remains outside their country or region of origin and art that disappeared during the Second World War. For both categories the option of return has become an accepted one. The 1970 UNESCO Convention has brought a change in how more recently contested objects and collections are dealt with. There is much less agreement about what to do with objects and collections that were acquired during colonial times.

Due to changes in the political, economic and cultural relations at a global level and also because quite some colonial acquisitions are contested, this thesis will think a model that facilitates a dialogue about the future of these treasures, including the option of their return. The question will be answered at the basis of History, Law, and Conflict studies, and by analysing both successful return-cases and non-materialised return-cases. Central in the analysis will be the role of the Dutch state and Dutch heritage institutions.

Supervisor: Prof dr. Susan Legêne. Second supervisor: prof. dr. Wouter Veraart

E-mail: jos.vanbeurden@inter.nl.net