The Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities’ Foreign Missions Department has threatened to prohibit the Dutch mission from concluding its excavation work in the Saqqara region, which has put the Dutch National Museum of Antiquities (RMO) in Leiden, the Netherlands, in danger.
The Dutch Museum has been charged by the Egyptian government with embracing Afrocentric viewpoints and making attempts to distort the history of ancient Egypt. Ancient Egyptian drawings are displayed alongside drawings of people with dark skin in the Dutch museum’s art exhibit, “Kemit,” which has featured Beyoncé and Rihanna among its guest artists.
An Egyptian-Dutch Crisis
While the Dutch Museum’s management thinks their efforts are intended to highlight the school of ancient Egypt and the musical messages of black artists, the Egyptian government sees them as advocating African centralism or Afrocentrism.
The most recent excavations at Saqqara were carried out between February 19 and March 23 by the Dutch mission, which started yearly digs in Egypt 40 years ago. A permit for the upcoming excavation season was denied to the Dutch expedition by the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities.
- Egyptian ministry threatens Dutch excavation in Saqqara, jeopardizing RMO’s Leiden.
- Dutch Museum accused of distorting ancient Egyptian history through Afrocentric art exhibit.
- Dutch mission ceases operations in Egypt, promoting Egyptian history respect.
Mohamed Youssef, the director general of the Saqqara Antiquities Region, disclosed that the Saqqara Archaeological Region’s administration had not been informed of any plans to renew the Dutch mission’s authorization.
The Dutch National Museum has come under fire from the Egyptian archaeologist Zahi Hawass for supporting Afrocentricity and the myth that the ancient Egyptians had black complexion.
Foreign missionaries must respect Egyptian history, hence the Egyptian government’s decision to cease the Dutch mission’s operations in Saqqara and throughout Egypt is the right one. Currently, the Dutch National Museum is attempting to have a conversation with the Egyptian government about the problem.
The controversy began a few weeks after a Netflix documentary featuring the well-known black pharaonic queen Cleopatra, which the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities declared to be a fabrication of history. According to the Ministry of Antiquities, its ire is directed more toward refusing to embellish historical reality than it is towards people of color.