Panama City, 30 August 2022 (TDI): The Government of the Netherlands on Monday returned over 300 artifacts to the Government of Panama.

The artifacts numbering around 350 are pre-Hispanic era ceramics that represent the identity, history, social cohesion, and collective pride of the Panamanian people, as per the statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Panama.

The shipment of these artifacts is part of the Panamanian Government’s push to protect the national cultural heritage and fight illegal trafficking.

Under the direction of Panamanian President, Laurentino Cortizo Cohen, the Government of Panama is committed to protecting the cultural assets of Panama and fighting against the illicit traffic of these archaeological pieces.

As per the Panamanian Foreign Ministry, the Ambassador of Panama to the Netherlands, Elizabeth Ward discovered the ceramics at the Leiden University of Netherlands. The University expressed interest in returning the artifacts to their country of origin.

The recovery of the artifacts was carried out in collaboration with the Panamanian Embassy in the Netherlands, the Panamanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Culture, and the KLM Airline.

Upon the arrival of the artifacts in Panama, Erika Mouynes, the Foreign Minister of Panama said “This is the largest repatriation of archaeological pieces in the history of Central America”.

Panama’s Ministry of Culture will be taking permanent custody of the artifacts, and the artifacts will be presented at the Reina Torres de Arauz Anthropological Museum in the capital of Panama, Panama City.

Panama is also a member of the UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export, and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property, 1970.