Precious Ethiopian Crown Returned —After 21 Years Stashed In A Dutch Apartment

More than two decades after it went missing, a ceremonial crown dating back to the 18th century has found its way home to Ethiopia. The country’s prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, received the glistening artifact at a ceremony Thursday in Addis Ababa, in a triumphant end to a twisty saga that transcends national borders.

Abiy expressed his gratitude to the Dutch officials who facilitated its return — and to the man who found it, Sirak Asfaw, who was there for the handoff.

Sirak, a political refugee who fled to the Netherlands in the 1970s, played a big role in the curious journey of the ornate bronze crown, which Ethiopian authorities say had been missing since 1993.

Sirak told The New York Times last year that it turned up in a suitcase that a guest had brought to his house, back in 1998. He says he opened the bag and found the crown after its gleam caught his eye — and though he remains unwilling to name the guest publicly, he says he confronted the visitor and held onto the crown.

What to do next though, Sirak says, was not exactly obvious.