Heritage Fridays

Inspiration, viden og netværk

Heritage Friday 2021


Heritage Friday 2021 will be held on Friday the 19th of November – 11:00 – 15:30 – at the National Museum of Denmark.

This year, Blue Shield Denmark focuses on illicit trafficking of cultural property and the measures that are taken around the world to mitigate these offenses.

Heritage Friday 2021 marks, with a one-year delay, the 50th anniversary of the “UNESCO 1970 Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property”.  Although trade with illicitly acquired cultural property has been criminalized for the last 50 years, smuggling and sale of such cultural assets and antiques is today the third largest source of criminal economic activity. This trade coexists with other organized crimes and is part the conflict economy in areas of armed encounters. It takes place in a gray market where gaps in the legislation of different countries are exploited, or where the objects are money laundered and then resold. Furthermore, the trade is difficult to monitor as today it has moved from traditional auction houses and antique dealers to the internet with its many platforms.

Please be advised that you must show a negative Corona test or double vaccination certificate at the entrance to the museum.

Tickets can be purchased by clicking the button below or on the day of the event at the venue.

Elsa Urtizverea

Elsa Urtizverea is the Heritage Protection Programmes Coordinator at the International Council of Museums (ICOM) since 2019. She is in charge of risk management issues as well as secretary of the Standing Committee for Disaster Risk Management (ICOM DRMC). Before joining ICOM, Elsa Urtizverea worked in various museums in France and then at UNESCO, in the Secretariat of the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict.

“The ICOM Red Lists of Objects at Risk”

Fighting illicit traffic is a real challenge, which requires a long-lasting involvement, complementary cooperative actions and the development of effective instruments and tools. Among the solutions advocated by experts, awareness-raising and control measures are essential in protecting movable heritage. Therefore, ICOM has designed the now world-renowned indispensable instruments in the preservation of the world’s cultural heritage: the Red Lists of Objects at Risk. Elsa Urtizverea will present ICOM Red Lists, their history, how they are developed, their use and their impact.

Håkon Roland

As an archaeologist at the Museum of Cultural History, University of Oslo, Roland has national responsibility for export applications for archaeological and ethnographic objects in Norway. He is an expert adviser to the Ministry of Culture, the police and customs in cultural crime cases. Roland leads the research group Cultural Heritage Crime Research Network (CULTcrime), is Chair for Blue Shield.

“The significance of the 1970 UNESCO Convention for National Legislation in the Fight Against Illegal Trade of Cultural Property”

The 1970 UNESCO Convention is an international pillar in the fight against the illegal trade of cultural objects. In 2007, ratification of the convention led to restrictions within the Norwegian Cultural Heritage Act. The changes have opened for better control of import, export and return of illegal cultural objects. But the convention’s Operational Guidelines also set limits on the work against cultural heritage crime. The talk shows how the convention has strengthened the work against illegal trade and cultural heritage crime in Norway. Examples include recent seizures and returns of over 600 items to ten countries of origin, as well as the status of an ongoing operation of international importance. Experiences from bilateral and international cooperation within the framework of the Convention will be discussed.

Maria Dahlström

Maria Dahlström is a curator at the National Museums of World Culture (NMWC) in Sweden. Since 2008 she has worked with the collections of the four museums that is the NMWC. Now, she is focusing on questions relating to the illicit trafficking of cultural property as well as provenance research and repatriation. Maria Dahlström has an MA in archaeology with focus on classical and East African archaeology.

“Countering illicit trafficking of cultural property – the Swedish perspective”

As a state party to the UNESCO 1970 convention, Sweden is obliged to work with the problem of illicit trafficking of cultural goods and the National Museums of World Culture has a special government assignment. In this presentation Maria Dahlström will give examples of what a museum can do to raise awareness about this problem, both for the staff as well as for the public. She will also discuss how different organisations and government agencies, who usually only have a small budget for this topic, can cooperate towards a common goal.

Vinnie Nørskov

Archaeologist and museum director Dr Vinnie Nørskov is spearheading an unprecedented academic project at the Museum of Ancient Art of Aarhus University. Ancient fragmented vases of high quality, produced in South Italy, were in recent years looted and smuggled out of the country. They are now on loaned in Aarhus for study, and this project explores new ways of reconstructing their destroyed archaeological and historical context, combining archaeological and criminological knowledge, as well as forensic skills.

“Illicit Antiquities in the Museum”

Museums are full of objects whose collecting histories are neglected or ignored. Many archaeological objects have come to museums without any information about where they were found and many of these are in fact illicit.. The presentation discusses a research project about illicit antiquities through a case study on pottery found in an art dealers warehouse in Geneva in 2014 and now on loan to the Museum of Ancient Art and Archaeology at Aarhus University: Is it possible to reintroduce such contested objects in archaeological studies in the future?

Sam Hardy

Sam Hardy is a Postdoctoral Fellow, at the Norwegian Institute in Rome. His research examines the relationships between illicit trafficking of cultural objects and political violence in the Mediterranean and the Middle East. Exploring the practice of looting; the interconnections between cultural property crimes and other crimes; and the politics of policing, and furthermore the use of heritage propaganda; and the interconnections between antiquities trafficking and the refugee crisis and exploring the transnational networks that bridge conflict zones and antiquities markets.

“How do cultural property criminals get around the law”

One of the primary problems in cultural property crime-fighting, beyond a lack of cultural property crime-fighters, is the practical enforcement of the law, even when suspects are caught in the act. Sam Hardy will explore what kinds of criminals profit from illicit cultural goods, how cultural property criminals get around the law, how the law is bent around politically-influential and politically-convenient criminals and what consequences this practical impunity has.

Inge Schjellerup

As an archaeologist and anthropologist who has been doing fieldwork in Peru for many years, Inge Schjellerup has published several books and articles. The Peruvian government has bestowed her the order of the Sun and she has received three doctor honoris cause from three Peruvian universities.

“Accusation of being behind illegal trade of ancient Peruvian pottery”

Inge will take us though ‘The Lyngby case’. The discovery of a private persons possession of ancient Columbian, Ecuadorian and Peruvian artifacts and pottery.

Henrik Thuesen & Suzanne J. Kristiansen

In relation to cultural artefacts, Henrik Thuesen is responsible for customs cooperation with the Ministry of Culture (department authority) on customs control work with the so-called special product regulations (VAB), which i.a. applies to the export of certain Danish cultural objects, he is also responsible for the customs implementation of a new EU Regulation with an implementing regulation on the import of certain cultural objects (permit requirements, etc.). In this connection, he has participated in EU meetings on the work on the new implementing regulation. In the spring of 2021, Henrik Thuesen – in close collaboration with the Cultural Heritage Committee – arranged training of colleagues working in customs about the regulations on export of cultural objects.

As a customs officer, Suzanne J. Kristiansen carries out effective customs control at Copenhagen Airport, and thereby prevent cross-border crime of a health and safety nature, which can be either money or illegal goods, from entering or leaving Denmark. This is done in collaboration with other Danish authorities, as well as international authorities, colleagues and organizations. The work is carried out partly as random check of passengers but also as intelligent customs check where checks are carried out on the basis of analyzes or intelligence.

“The Role of Customs”

Based on the EU and the rules set by the Ministry of Culture, the talk will focus on the customs perspectives, i.e. customs clearance and customs control with the export of Danish cultural objects. Imports of cultural objects – legal or illegal – will be affected, but to a lesser extent, as the regulations do not yet apply, but await the development of an IT solution by June 2025. However, certain parts of the regulation were implemented in December 2020, this being imports of certain listed categories of cultural objects that have been illegally removed and exported from third countries for the purpose of importation into the EU / DK. The talk will provide an overall insight into the customs control work with a focus on illegal trade and smuggling. Cases from the job will be presented.

Christian Sune Pedersen & Mille Gabriel

Christian Sune Pedersen is head of the research department Modern History & World Cultures at the National Museum of Denmark.

Mille Gabriel is the senior researcher and curator of the American collections at the National Museum of Denmark. She is a member of the Danish National Commission for UNESCO (2016 – ) and a former board member of ICOM Denmark (2010 – 2017).

“UNESCO 1970 – setting the standard for ethnographic museum collecting”

The National Museum’s ethnographic collection dates back to the 17th century and is among the world’s oldest. The collection numbers around 200.000 ethnographic and archaeological objects, obtained through a mixture of scientific expeditions, donations and exchange with other museums. For the ethnographic collection, the launch of the 1970 UNESCO Convention marked a turning point. This presentation argues that the convention coincided with a larger development within the ethnographic museum – a development in which it sought to distance itself from its intrinsic, colonial origin, by embracing discussions on representation, cultural rights, and repatriation. In conclusion, it is outlined how the National Museum’s ethnographic collections today emphasizes partnerships with source communities in terms of co-creation, contemporary collecting and knowledge sharing.


Inspirationsoplæg om bevaring af kulturværdier, kulturmiljøer og immateriel kultur.

Heritage Fridays er en række eftermiddage i løbet af året, hvor fagfolk, organisationer, beslutningstagere og andre interesserede kan mødes og udveksle erfaringer, løsningsmuligheder og best-practice eksempler.

Heritage Fridays arrangementerne vil være tempo-fyldte. Eftermiddagene er fyldt med en række korte oplæg og enkelte mingling-sessioner, der både skal inspirere deltagerne, og give dem mulighed for at møde hinanden på tværs af arbejdsområder og fagdiscipliner.

Idéen med Heritage Fridays er at danne et nationalt og internationalt netværk af engagerede mennesker, der mødes for at skabe tværfaglig vidensdeling, og udvikle og forbedre de praktiske og juridiske rammer for bevaring af kulturværdier.