Evelien Campfens

Job title
Cultural heritage law specialist and post-doc fellow at the Research Group ‘Museums Collections and Society’.

Evelien Campfens is a lawyer and researcher at the Museums Collections and Society programme of Leiden University. Evelien’s expertise is in the field of legal and ethical standards for heritage protection and the trade in, and possession of, cultural objects. Her present research focuses on the intersection of private and public law standards in this field, particularly the question whether traditional legal concepts of ownership (still) fit cultural property.

After a career at the Dutch Restitutions Committee for Nazi looted art (general secretary 2001-2015), she joined the Grotius Centre for Interinational Legal Studies of Leiden University in relation to her PhD research into cross-border cultural property claims in 2016. At present she holds a post-doc position at the Museums Collections and Society Research Group at the Leiden University Centre for Arts in Society (LUCAS). Besides, she is coordinator of the Heritage Under Threat group of the LED Centre for Global Heritage and Development; elected member Committee on Participation in Global Cultural Heritage Governance of the International Law Association; and member of the Ethics Committee of the Dutch Museum Association (Ethische Codecommissie).

Website at Leiden University: https://www.universiteitleiden.nl/medewerkers/evelien-campfens#tab-1

Selected publications:

Scholarly (peer reviewed)

- Campfens E. (2020?) “Whose cultural objects? Introducing heritage title for cross-border cultural property claims”, Netherlands International Law Review Vol. 67, issue 2:[in printing phase]. [journal article]

- Campfens E. (2020) “Bridging the Gap between Ethics and Law: The Dutch framework for Nazi-looted art”, Art Antiquity and Law 25(1):1-25 [journal article]

- Campfens E. (2019), “Restitution of Looted Art: What About Access to Justice?”, Santander Art and Culture Law Review 2/2018 (4): 185-220. [article in journal]

- Campfens E. (2019), “The Bangwa Queen: Artifact or Heritage?”, International Journal of Cultural Property 26(1): 75-110. [article in journal]

- Campfens E. (2017) “Whose Cultural Heritage? Crimean Treasures at the Crossroads of Politics, Law and Ethics”, Art Antiquity and Law Vol. XXII, Issue 3, 2017. [article in journal]

Other output

-Campfens E., “Artefact or heritage? Colonial collections in Western museums from the perspective of international human rights law”, Völkerrechtsblog, 24 September 2018, (link) [blog entry].

- Campfens E. (ed) “Fair and Just Solutions? Alternatives to Litigation in Nazi-looted Art Disputes, Status Quo and New Developments”, Eleven Publishers, The Hague, 2015 (link) [book editorship]


- Campfens, E. “Beantwoord onrecht met recht”, oped NRC Handelsblad Opinie en Debat, 18 oktober 2020 [link]

- Campfens, E. “Teruggeven van koloniale kunst gebeurt zelden, maar er komen nieuwe regels”, article special “Koloniale Roofkunst” NRC Handelsblad, 24 oktober 2018. [link]

- Campfens, E. “Koloniale roofkunst hoog op agenda UNESCO”, guest column UNESCO Nederland, 21 juni 2018. [link]

- Campfens, E. “‘Gestolen waar gedijt niet’, oped NRC Handelsblad Opinie en Debat, 16 maart 2018. [link]

- Campfens, E. “Wet dwingt niet perse tot retour van roofkunst”, NRC Handelsblad, Opinie en Debat, 12 november 2013. [link]


Evelien Campfens
Phone number
+31 71 527 7567