The Greek Parliament is to vote on Thursday on a bill which paves the way for the lending of Greek ancient and modern artifacts to foreign museums for up to 50 years.
The Ministry of Culture says the bill, which provides for the possibility of borrowing movable monuments from Greek museums for 25 years – with the possibility of extension for an additional 25 years – will allow the country to project Greek art and culture on a global basis.
“The museums of our country have tens of millions of movable monuments, which are kept in their warehouses. Of these, some, selected by the museums themselves and after obtaining the approval of the competent services of the Ministry of Culture and Sports and of course the Central Archaeological Council, will be able to to be exhibited as a single collection with long-term borrowing in museums or exhibition spaces abroad,” the Ministry said in a statement.
Current law states that Greek artifacts can stay abroad for five years
The statement adds that such a policy has been pursued by many museums in the world, such as the Louvre, for many years.
It also says that the new law will assist the Benaki Museum, which has already been approached by the Hellenic Museum of Melbourne, to exhibit some of its collections in a city with a huge Greek population.
The current legal framework stipulates that an object can be transferred from a museum in Greece to a museum abroad for only five years, with the possibility of extension for another five years after a new decision.
This limit is greatly expanded with the new regulation, since it reaches a total of fifty years.