Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed receives the crown in his office in Addis Ababa while Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, Ms. Sigrid Kaag (2nd from left) and other officials look on/Photo: OPME

Dutch government returns stolen crown to Ethiopia

The Netherlands has returned a ceremonial 18th century crown that had been stolen from Ethiopia in 1993.

Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, Ms Sigrid Kaag, personally handed over the crown to Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed when she called on the Ethiopian leader in Addis Ababa on Tuesday (18 February).

The crown, which has depictions of Jesus Christ, God and the Holy Spirit, as well as Jesus’ disciples, had been missing since 1993 and was rediscovered in Rotterdam, Netherlands, in October 2019.

The crown is hundreds of years old.

An Ethiopian, Sirak Asfaw, who lives in the Netherlands, found the crown in 1998 in the suitcase of an Ethiopian visitor and realised it was stolen. In an act of patriotism, he protected the artefact until he alerted a historian and the Dutch police of his discovery last year.

The Netherlands government returned the crown with the conviction “that it has a duty to restitute this important artefact back to Ethiopia”.

Read the incredible story of how the crown was rediscovered in Rotterdam here


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