Nordic conference about illicit trade in cultural artefacts, 2 and 3 December 2015.


- How the Nordic countries can optimise cooperation on initiatives and measures to combat illicit sale.

Day 1: The present situation – identifying weaknesses, needs and potential areas of cooperation.

Day 2: Detailed discussion of specific cooperation projects and areas where cooperation could be beneficial. Overcoming challenges, exploiting synergies and the practical organisation of cooperation. Next steps.

NB: There will be interpretation from the Scandinavian languages into English.


Wednesday 2 December


Moderator: Department Director Espen Hernes, Arts Council Norway.

Part I: Opening session



Assistant Director Roger Jøsevold, National Library of Norway


Nordic collaboration synergies – how the Nordic Council of Ministers can support efforts to combat illicit trade and restrict terrorist funding. 

Minister of Culture Thorhild Widvey


The importance of a Nordic initiative to combat illicit trade in cultural artefacts.

Director-General Irina Bokova, UNESCO


Cultural artefacts as illicit trade goods – who profits and who pays the price?

Senior researcher Frederik Rosén, Danish Institute for International Studies


How can the Nordic countries contribute to the protection of cultural heritage in areas of conflict? Reflections based on experience from the Middle East.

Architect Dima Chahin, Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research


Part II: The Nordic region as a market for illicitly traded artefacts – supply and entry routes, volume, places and means of trade, purchasers. Challenges and available instruments.



Transnational Organised Crime and Trade in Art and Antiquities

Professor Neil Brodie, University of Glasgow, Centre for Crime and Justice Research


The virtual market for cultural heritage objects – the case of objects from Palmyra.

Professor Rubina Raja, Aarhus University


Means of combating cross-border crime: where and how should the authorities intervene to stop the trade in stolen art and illicitly traded artefacts?

Criminal Intelligence Officer Françoise BORTOLOTTI, Works of Art Unit, INTERPOL


Internet trade in art and cultural artefacts in the Nordic region – experiences, preventive measures, cooperation with national authorities.

Security Adviser, Geir Petter Gjefsen,


How an art dealer perceives the market, its driving mechanisms and his/hers own role and responsability.

Finn Petter Øyen, The Union of the Norwegian Art and Antique Traders 


Questions and discussion.








Part III: Efforts to combat cultural crime in the Nordic region – current state of affairs: strengths and weaknesses, deficits and needs, potential for further cooperation.


“Cultural Heritage Crime – The Nordic Dimension” (2006). Reflections 10 years after the report. The way forward in 2016: separately or together?

Research Director Lars Korsell, Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention, editor of the report Cultural Heritage Crime – The Nordic Dimension" (2006)


Cultural artefacts in transit – potential smuggling routes to the illicit Nordic market.

Nordic Liaison Officer Linda Ervik, Nordic Police and Customs cooperation


Working with cultural property –The need for skills-building among staff in the cultural sector, customs authorities and police. 

Presentation of the Albatrass report 2008 by co-author Hilde Madsø Jacobsen. 


Illegal export of Cultural Heritage from the EU/EEA Territory - Finnish experiences

Legal Advisor Juha Maaperä, National Board of Antiquities.


The police’s work relating to art and cultural crime – strengths and weaknesses, deficits and needs.

Reports on the Nordic countries’ efforts to combat the sale of stolen and illicitly traded artefacts.

Nordic panel: Kenneth Mandergrehn (S), Trond Eirik Schea (N), Lars Thorbjørnsen (DK).

Questions and discussion.









The customs authorities’ efforts to uncover illicit export/import of cultural artefacts – strengths and weaknesses, deficits and needs.

Reports on the Nordic countries’ efforts to prevent the import/export of stolen art and illicitly traded cultural objects.

Nordic panel: Martin Johansson (S), Anders Bjarne Flekke (N), Erland Kolding Nielsen (DK).

Questions and discussion.

Challenges linked to museums and the responsibilities and roles of experts. Focus on the triple role of museums: as collectors, as expert advisers to the police and customs authorities, and as institutions authorised to issue export permits.


The relationship between looting and the market – a critical perspective on cultural institutions.

Director Tone Hansen, Henie Onstad Art Center


Sale of cultural artefacts: Challenges and implications for museums and experts?

Professor Christopher Prescott, University of Oslo










The roles and responsibilities of museums and cultural experts in efforts to prevent the illicit trade in cultural artefacts.

Reports on the Nordic countries’ efforts to prevent the import/export and sale of stolen art and illicitly traded cultural objects. Museums’ work on provenance issues.

Nordic panel: Lars Amréus (S), Vibeke Mohr (N), Jan Jans (DK), Kristin Huld Sigurðardóttir (ISL), Jouni Kuurne (F).

Questions and discussion.


End of day 1




Nordic policy group: Chair: Director General Lars Amréus, Swedish National Heritage Board 

The relevant authorities meet to discuss further cooperation projects and potential follow-up measures.



Thursday 3 December (0900-1500)


Part IV: The way forward – measures to prevent the Nordic region from becoming a market for illicitly exported cultural artefacts


Summary from Day 1. Advice and guidance to the working groups. Anticipated outcome.

Moderator: General Director Carsten Paludan-Müller, NIKU


The Nordic region as a regional actor in the international efforts to combat illicit trade in cultural artefacts. 

State Secretary Tone Skogen, Ministry of Foreign Affairs


What measures does the UNESCO Secretariat recommend that member states should implement to prevent illicit trade? What can the UNESCO Secretariat offer in the way of facilitation?

Programme Specialist Maria Miñana, Cultural Heritage Protection Treaties Section, UNESCO Secretariat.


Questions and discussion: Relevant Nordic collaboration initiatives under the auspices of the UNESCO Secretariat?


A success story: The recovery of stolen works from the National Library of Sweden. Perspectives on the illicit market and the cooperation with the police. Relevant experiences and learning points for building a Nordic plattform for cooperation?

Senior librarian Greger Bergvall, the Natonal Library of Sweden





Parallel working groups, followed by presentations:

In which areas could Nordic cooperation promote resource efficiency and support the battle against illicit trade? Proposals for specific follow-up measures.

Nordic working group: police and customs authorities (closed forum)Chair: Lars Korsell, Research Director, Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention.

Nordic working group for cultural authorities and institutions: Chair: Head of division Ragnheiður Helga Þórarinsdóttirat, Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, Iceland.


Common needs, joint response? Presentation of the working groups’ conclusions:

- What Nordic measures could be implemented in the short term? What measures should be implemented in the longer term?

Police: Recommendations for follow-up initiatives: Tuva Brørby
Customs authorities: Recommendations for follow-up: Martin Johansson
Cultural authorities and institutions: Recommendations for follow-up: Ragnheiður Helga Þórarinsdóttir, Josephine Munch Rasmussen, Liv Ramskjær.

Questions and discussion




Concluding part: Next steps


Input from the policy group. Questions to be discussed::

- How can Nordic expert institutions support skills-building in the customs authorities and police? 
- Would inter-Nordic workshops, courses, etc. be beneficial?
- Internet monitoring as a joint Nordic project?
- How can the Nordic Council of Ministers contribute going forward?


Government authorities present their views and conclusions, and proposals for potential specific follow-up measures, possibly in the form of a statement of intent: who will do what, how and when?


Summary/concluding comments