Government Agencies :

Arbeitsstelle für Provenienzrecherche/-forschung AfP) (Bureau for Provenance Investigation and Research)

5 December 2012: Kulturstiftung der Länder to increase funding for German provenance research

The Federal Minister for Culture and Media, Bernd Neumann, announced on 5 December 2012 that the Kulturstiftung der Länder is to increase its contribution to the Bureau for Provenance Research from 158,000€ pa to 358,000€ pa enabling two new posts to be created in the Bureau. it is intended that the new employees will promote research in smaller museums and in special collections.  

The Minister also announced the allocation of 661,000€ for provenance research in the following institutions:
Wallraf-Richartz-Museum Köln
Staatliche Museen zu Berlin – Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz (Kupferstichkabinett)
Bayerische Staatsbibliothek München
Kunstgeschichtliches Seminar der Universität Hamburg
Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg
Kunsthalle Mannheim
Historisches Museum Frankfurt am Main
LVR LandesMuseum Bonn (Museumsbibliothek)
Kunsthalle Bremen
Staatliche Graphische Sammlung München
Staatsbibliothek Berlin – Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz

To read the government press release, click here.

Background on the Bureau taken from its website January 2013 (but dated July 2010)
The Bureau for Provenance Investigation/Research which is affiliated to the Institute for Museum Research of the State Museums in Berlin - Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation - has the task of supporting museums, libraries, archives and other publicly run institutions in the Federal Republic of Germany in the process of identifying those cultural artefacts in their collections or in their possession, which were taken from their lawful owners during the period of National Socialist rule.

The establishment of the Bureau for Provenance Investigation/Research was the direct result of the findings issued on November 13, 2007 by the working group on matters of restitution set up by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media, Bernd Neumann. The financial resources for the day to day running of the Bureau for Provenance Investigation/Research have been provided by the Kulturstiftung der Länder (

From 2008 onwards, funds totalling one million euros have been assigned each year by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media to support the investigation and study of the provenance of cultural artefacts in German public collections. The Bureau for Provenance Investigation/Research allocates these funds to individual projects. [Ed: Please note, that since 2011 the Federal Commissioner has allocated a further 1 million euros to the Bureau per annum.]

There are two different types of funding available: Institutions which have short term research needs, usually relating to ongoing restitution cases, can apply for grants of up to 15,000 €. Decisions on such applications will be made within one month. Alternatively, institutions wishing to systematically study their collections and institute wider research projects can apply for larger grants. The advisory committee to the Bureau for Provenance Investigation/Research makes a significant contribution to deciding which applicants are to receive this latter type of funding. The committee consists of representatives from the world of politics and culture as well as experts from the fields of history and art history. The funding bodies of institutions applying for grants are expected to match funding to a certain degree. To date, funding has been allocated to more than 62 different projects. Out of these, 45 were submitted by museums, eleven by libraries and four by archives.

Berlin, July, 2010
Dr. Uwe H a r t m a n n, Head of Bureau for Provenance Investigation/Research

The information in English, reproduced above, about the Bureau posted on its website is not up to date. However, the site itself is up to date with information about the projects being funded by the Bureau, details of the application process, names of the Advisory Board members, press releases from the German government etc.

In addition, every two years the Advisory Board  evaluates the activities of the Bureau  and submits its report to the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and Media, the Secretary General of the Cultural Foundation of the States and the President of the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation.

To read the Status Report (Statusbericht) of the Advisory Board for the period 2008-2010, dated 30 March 2011, click here.

To read the Opinion (Stellungnahme) of the Advisory Board for the same period, and dated 14 April 2011, click here.

Arbeitsstelle für Provenienzrecherche/-forschung
beim Institut für Museumsforschung der Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin - Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz
Bodestraße 1-3
10178 Berlin
Tel.: 0049 (030) 2090 6215
Fax: 0049 (030) 2090 6216

Accessed 6 December 2012