Norway returns 600 artefacts to 8 countries

Norway returns
Greek coin from the island of Thasos, 2,500 years old. The coin was seized by the customs authorities for lack of an export permit from Bulgaria. © Museum of Cultural History, Norway

Norway has returned hundreds of artefacts to their countries of origin. On 23 June 2021, Norwegian Culture Minister, Abid Raja, returned more than 600 artefacts to the competent authorities of eight countries: Bulgaria, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Slovakia, Spain, Ukraine and the United States of America. These cultural objects, mainly ancient coins and archaeological artefacts were imported to Norway without the necessary export licenses.

Culture minister Abid Raja with the ambassadors of Spain,Bulgaria, Italy, the Ukraine, Slovakia and the Baltic states. Photo: Eva Lafuente Nilsson / Kulturhistorisk museum

The artefacts have been confiscated by Norwegian police and customs focusing on culture heritage crimes. The confiscated artifacts include 2,500 old coins and ancient jewelry from eight countries.

„The trade in illegal cultural artefacts is a considerable global problem,“ cultural minister Abid Raja Handel said when she handed over the artefacts to the ambassadors of the respective countries“. “Norway is committed by international frameworks to contribute to fight this trade and transport of cultural artefacts. We can see that strengthened control is bearing its fruits and I am happy to return these artefacts to the countries where they belong.“

(Sources: Norwegian government´s web page and UNESCO. 

Eleven rings in bronze from the age of iron. Returned to Latvia.
One of the 500 artefacts from the Age of iron, viking period and middle-ages returned to Latvia.