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Netherlands returns 18th century crown to Ethiopia

The Netherlands has returned a presumably stolen ceremonial crown from the 18th century to Ethiopia on Thursday.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed received the artifact from Sigrid Kaag, the Dutch minister for foreign trade and development cooperation.

“The Netherlands did the right thing by returning the relic to the rightful owner — Ethiopia,” Abiy said.

Sirak Asfaw, an Ethiopian man who came to the Netherlands as an asylum seeker, found the crown in 1998 in the suitcase of a visitor.

Sirak did not want to return the relic to the then government in Ethiopia fearing that it might have been involved in the theft and kept the crown hidden in his Rotterdam home for over two decades. 

The office of the prime minister also appreciated Sirak for the role he played in the process of return of the precious relic to Ethiopia.

Details on how, why and by whom the treasure had been taken out of Ethiopia remains unclear.

Sirak has lived in the Netherlands for 41 years.

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