Museum cooperation Ethnological Museums Luanda – Berlin

Experts from Angola and Germany discuss the significance of one of the best-known works of African art from the Angolan collection at the Bode Museum in Berlin in 2018: the iconic sculpture of the cultural hero Chibinda Ilunga, founder of the Lunda Kingdom and an important symbol of identity for the Angolan ethnic community of Chokwe. The exhibition "Unvergleichlich: Kunst aus Afrika im Bode-Museum" (Incomparable: Art from Africa in the Bode-Museum) will run until further notice in the Bode-Museum and is part of the transformation process "On the way to the Humboldt Forum".
Experts from Angola and Germany discuss the significance of one of the best-known works of African art from the Angolan collection at the Bode Museum in Berlin in 2018: the iconic sculpture of the cultural hero Chibinda Ilunga, founder of the Lunda Kingdom and an important symbol of identity for the Angolan ethnic community of Chokwe. The exhibition "Unvergleichlich: Kunst aus Afrika im Bode-Museum" (Incomparable: Art from Africa in the Bode-Museum) will run until further notice in the Bode-Museum and is part of the transformation process "On the way to the Humboldt Forum". | Photo (detail): © Goethe-Institut Angola
  • 01. January 2019 — 31. December 2021

  • The role of museums, Colonial legacy, Postcolonial development cooperation

  • Luanda (Angola); Berlin (Germany)

The Ethnological Museum of Berlin houses one of the world's most important and oldest collections of Angolan art. It is closely linked to the collection of the Museu Nacional de Antropologia in Luanda. In 2018, the two museums started a cooperation together with the Goethe-Institut.


The aim of the "Partnership Ethnological Museums Luanda - Berlin" is to establish a cooperation between the two museums, the Museu Nacional de Antropologia (Luanda), the Ethnological Museum of Berlin and the Goethe-Institut, in order to explore the collections of both museums, to interrogate their history as well as to activate the collections for the present with mutual references and jointly developed contents.

What makes this cooperation so special is the fact that it was conceived and planned from the outset together with all the partners involved, and the objectives are clearly defined. During a workshop organized by the Goethe-Institut in Berlin in November 2018 and to which all the partners were invited, the Angolan participants got to look at the Berlin collection, informed themselves about its history, visited the depot and the restoration workshops of the Ethnological Museum as well as various museums in Berlin and finally worked out an action plan for the next three years together.


The fields of work were defined as research into the history of the collections in Luanda and Berlin, restoration, management and infrastructure, cultural mediation and training. This includes the translation of important historical ethnographic documents into Portuguese. Together with members of the societies of origin of the objects, artists from Angola and Germany will also develop a project on the history of the collections and their objects. An extension of the cooperation beyond the year 2021 is planned.

Experts involved:

Dr. Ziva Domingos
Álvaro Jorge
Dr. Beatrix Heintze
PD Dr. Paola Ivanov

Responsible at the Goethe-Institut:

Gabriele Stiller-Kern, Director of the Goethe-Institut Luanda