In an interesting turn of events, a crown was found in a suitcase in the Netherlands. This rare 18th-century church crown, that was stolen decades ago from Ethiopia, has now been returned to its base after tracing a rather exciting journey. By Kumar Shree
The rare Ethiopian crown has depictions of the Christian Holy Trinity, and the disciples of Jesus Christ. An adviser to the Ethiopian Prime Minister stated that the crown vanished from the Holy Trinity Church in Cheleqot in Tigray, North Ethiopia. He also mentioned that the crown belonged to the government.
Abiy Ahmed Ali, Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, tweeted about receiving the crown back. He wrote, “Today #Ethiopia receives a precious crown stolen several years ago and taken to the #Netherlands. I am grateful to Sirak Asfaw and the Netherlands government for facilitating its return. @NLinEthiopia @Landoforigins.”
A local news agency reported that Sirak Asfaw, an Ethiopian refugee, discovered the crown. He found it in a suitcase of someone who had transited through his apartment in Rotterdam. Asfaw said that while he immediately realised the crown was stolen, he kept it a secret. He wanted to ensure the safe return of the crown, and only revealed his secret after gaining surety of it.
The Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, Sigrid Kaag, returned the crown to the Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali in a special ceremony. She also took to Twitter to express her feelings about the ceremony. She wrote, “Delighted to see the return of a precious ancient crown to Ethiopia, after it [had] been lost for 25 years. The Netherlands promotes the protection of cultural heritage under the UNESCO treaties. #UNESCO #Culturalheritage @NLinEthiopia.”
The Ethiopian Prime Minister thanked the Dutch government for returning the artefact, and further said that it is one of the 20 remaining in existence.