Belgium′s controversial Africa Museum reopens after refurbishment | News | DW

Belgium’s Africa Museum, which has faced criticism in the past for an uncritical depiction of the country’s sometimes brutal colonial past, reopened on Saturday after a five-year restoration.

The museum, situated in the Tervuren Palace outside Brussels, was founded on the orders of King Leopold II to house artifacts collected in the Congo Free State, a territory established under his personal rule that included regions now in Rwanda, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Leopold’s governance of the region in the 1880s was characterized by a savage exploitation that left up to 10 million people dead from overwork, violence and disease. Many Belgians today are unaware of this dark colonial past, which has been immortalized, among other things, in Joseph Conrad’s famous novella of 1899,…

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