Ambassador Amgad Ghaffar hails “The gods of Egypt” and the relentless efforts of Rijksmuseum van Oudheden

As indeed befits the Gods, two receptions were held this Autumn to open the exhibition “Gods of Egypt” at the National Museum of Antiquities in Leiden.
His Excellency, Ambassador of Egypt, Mr. Amgad Ghaffar, welcomed Madame Barbera Wolfensberger, Director-General of Culture and Media at the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science; Dr. Wim Weijland, Director of Rijksmuseum van Oudheden, Mr. Maarten Raven, and all the distinguished guests; congratulating the museum on the beautiful way they presented the exhibition, contributing greatly in creating an environment encouraging the discovery of these marvels.
The Gods of Egypt exhibition brings us face-to-face with countless masterpieces, impressive statues of gods, unique jewels, mummies, and magical papyri from the British Museum (London), Musée du Louvre (Paris) and Museo Egizo (Turin), among others. With more than 500 artefacts, this is the largest exhibition ever to be held on the fascinating world of Ancient Egyptian gods.
His Excellency pointed out the significance of placing the Temple of Taffa at its entrance, “which was donated by Egypt in appreciation for the role The Netherlands played in rescuing the Egyptian monuments and archaeological sites affected by the erection of the Aswan High Dam under the auspices of UNESCO”.

The fascination with all aspects of Egyptian history has not abated over the years, for which the Ambassador expressed” his immense gratitude to our ancestors, who left us such wealth of wonders that still contribute and enrich human heritage today” before moving on to also express his gratitude and recognition to “the dedication of countless Egyptologists, curators of museums and even amateur archaeologists, from different parts of the world.”
He singled out Dr. Wim Weijland, and Mr. Maarten Raven and their respective teams, for their “relentless efforts to ensure the launch of this unique exhibition, and for having hosted around than 18 other exhibitions in this museum since 1995.” He paid his homages to retiring curator and Egyptologist Mr. Maarten Raven, “who contributed a great deal to this museum and Egyptology” to whom he wished the very best.
In his speech, His Excellency the Ambassador spoke of the less known role of mythology in Ancient Egypt and hoped this exhibition would contribute to the gaining of insights. He also indeed pointed out how progressive ancient Egypt was with regards to gender equality where Female Goddesses were the equal to the Male and for example Justice being represented by a female deity “Maa’t”, whose name and symbol “the feather” graces the entrance of the Peace Palace; International Court of Justice.

Ambassador Ghaffar concluded with these words:” I look back with gratitude to my ancestors for having founded such a unique culture and civilization that is celebrated all around the world. In this context, I am also very grateful to the Rijksmuseum for the exerted efforts in continuing to organize such exhibition since their foundation in 1818, in addition to its permanent Egyptian collection”.
What a way to close 2018, a jubilee year for the National Museum of Antiquities which celebrates its 200th anniversary.
He left us with the exciting perspective of the partial opening of the new Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) due in the first quarter of 2019. It will home 100.000 artefacts from Egypt’s prehistoric times till Greek and Roman periods, making it the largest in the world dedicated to Egyptology.
That is certainly something to look forward to!

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