Brende to return illegal Buddha statue to Burma

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Børge Brende (Conservatives) BuddhaMinister of Foreign Affairs, Børge Brende (Conservatives).Photo: Tore Meek / NTB scanpix

Brende to return illegally purchased Buddha statue to Myanmar

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Børge Brende, of the Høyre party (H) is travelling to Myanmar to return a 200 year old Buddha statue that was taken to Norway illegally.


According to NRK news, there’s been a large increase in the number of seizures of cultural objects smuggled to Norway.

‘We’ve seen an increase in cultural heritage crimes, which are quite serious, because they’re about peoples’ and countries’ identity and cultural heritage.

Therefore, it’s important that we work to return artifacts back to the country of origin’, said the Minister of Culture, Linda Hofstad Helleland, (H).

The 93kg (205lb) statue of Buddha, which was confiscated by customs officers, was purchased by a Norwegian in Thailand in 2011. The seller lacked the necessary authorisation licences to conduct trade in antiques.

Since then, Norwegian authorities have worked to find out where the statue belongs, and experts found that it was most likely from the Mandalay region, in Myanmar.

Personally returning statue

In July, Brende will personally travel by plane with the statue , even though the value is estimated at between a mere 20,000 to 70,000 kroner.

‘It is to show an example,’ said the Minister of Culture of what is perceived by some as a foreign shindig, with little purpose.

Police chief Kenneth Didriksen of the Economic Crimes (Økokrim) division, warned that if you feel you are making a bargain, the likelihood is great that your transaction is illegal.

Facts about Myanmar, (wikipedia)

Buddha Burma

Gold Statue of Buddha, Burma. Photo:

Myanmar, officially the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, also known as Burma, is a sovereign state in the region of Southeast Asia.

Myanmar is bordered by India and Bangladesh to its west, Thailand and Laos to its east, and China to its north and northeast.

To its south, about one third of Myanmar’s total perimeter of 5,876 km (3,651 miles) forms an uninterrupted coastline of 1,930 km (1,200 mi) along the Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea.

The country’s 2014 census counted a much lower population than expected, with 51 million people recorded. Myanmar is 676,578 square kilometres (261,227 sq mi) in size. Its capital city is Naypyidaw and its largest city and former capital city is Yangon (Rangoon). Myanmar has been a member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) since 1997.


© NTB Scanpix / Norway Today