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Zilkens' News Blog

Dr. Stephan Zilkens

Stephan Zilkens

Zilkens' News Blog 12 2023

Last week brought nothing new in the East, Finland closer to Nato membership and the German Bundestag to a questionable downsizing reform. Instead of reducing the number of electoral constituencies in order to keep the value of direct mandates and proportional representation in a reasonable balance, a maximum number of parliamentary representatives has been written down and it is accepted that where democracy proves its vitality with thin majorities, no one will be elected to the Bundestag. It is noticeable that the exegetes of party democracy have less and less contact with civil society, although no one has yet explained the latter term to me in a comprehensible way. Civil comes from cives, meaning the citizen, so then civil society would be that of the citizens of a country. In a democracy, they form the sovereign of a country. But what is a political society, even denigrated by some as a caste, in a democratic constitution? One might think the mass of employees appointed by the sovereign, who are given a temporary mandate to organise the state well. They don't have much of a time limit and only limited respect for the freedom of dissent. That they lose the sovereign in the process - well, that's not so bad, he doesn't need to vote and certainly not at the European level. But he or she may pay. As a result, a majority is growing up that sometimes only needs a spark to become aware of its power again. This is what happened in Holland just last week, where seemingly out of nowhere the Farmer-Citizen Movement won 30% of the votes in the local elections, because the hitherto silent majority, which had not voted until then, found someone to give voice to their distress. We now seem to be running into a similarly dangerous mix in Europe, where people who have got into the parliament there through the self-preservation instinct of the politically active decide on the economic and ecological future of entire national economies. Decisions that can only be communicated to journalists of the same colouring, e.g. on mobility issues and the length of time petrol engines are to be used, while at the same time there is a phobia of technology, are certainly not among the great moments of cross-national parliamentarianism. Perhaps it would help if the ladies and gentlemen of parliament had to prove that they have completed a professional training with at least two years of professional practice in a normal profession (assisting in political foundations or parliamentary offices does not count) before they are granted the right to stand for election.

Which brings us to the backbone of any company, its staff. At HDI, Caroline Schlienkamp, the board member responsible for human resources, advocates a concept based on autonomy, tolerance and clarity. She does, however, qualify that "toxic persons" are not tolerated and removed from the organism, even with great expertise, as can be seen from a report by the "Versicherungswirtschaft" on the 23rd lecture day of the University of Leipzig. Only who determines what is toxic? There are supposed to be board members who cannot deal constructively with criticism. Are the pointy-heads toxic then? In relation to people, the term toxic should only be used in a medical context, otherwise there are too many associations with a period of German and Austrian history, which unfortunately many who could know better deny and dismiss the atrocities associated with it as inventions. Also, as a board that helps to meet legal quotas (which are an insult to those for whom the quotas were created) one should show one's excellence by, among other things, being aware of the sensitivity of language, even in plain language.

Provenance is becoming an increasingly important issue - also in relation to art and culture. In February, a Roman gold coin minted on behalf of Marcus Junius Brutus and commemorating the Ides of March was confiscated by American authorities on the grounds of forged provenance. It is now to be returned to its country of origin after it fetched USD 4.2 million at auction in 2020. From an insurance point of view, several questions are now exciting: Was the coin transported in a way that insured the risk of confiscation? Would the insurer be liable for compensation? The coin was lost by its previous possessor, but was he also the owner? Which country is the country of origin of the coin and why should this country in particular have a claim to it more than 2000 years after the coin was minted? A theft from a public collection in Italy has not yet been reported in this context. In general, the question arises as to which route the coin took? Possibly it was also part of the treasures of subsequent rulers on Roman territory or reached Eastern Rome by unclear routes? Then perhaps the current ruler of Constantinople would be entitled to make a claim? In that case it would be better to leave it in the USA, although its connection to ancient Rome would still have to be clarified... . Defective title insurance, i.e. the line of business that insures property rights, should be happy if one has been bought. Then they would either have to reimburse the insured value or reserve the legal costs of establishing the property rights up to the amount insured.

Sunday was the last day of TEFAF in Maastricht and on Tuesday Art Basel Hong Kong opens its doors again in almost its old gallery strength. The travel restrictions have fallen, nothing more is heard of the protests from 2019, Corona also seems to be over. We wish the brave ones much success and the exhibited art censorship-free moments. If the stock markets become a little more relaxed, this should at least support success.

arca - made to protect is the name of the new crate from Hasenkamp and is at the same time an example of how environmental protection and resource conservation lead to innovation. The crate is significantly lighter than the previous climate crates and is equipped with a monitoring and control system for the internal climate, which allows the crates to be opened earlier at the point of arrival. Due to its lower weight, it reduces the energy required for transport and saves empty truck journeys, as the crates can be opened after arrival at the exhibition site. Waiting 48 hours for the internal climate of the crate to allow opening is a thing of the past. The mechanical protection of the art inside the crate corresponds to that of currently used models. Since it is made of natural materials, disposal is not a problem. It thus supports the efforts towards a climate-neutral exhibition operation in the long term.

We wish you all a pleasant week, at the end of which the beginning of spring and the changeover to summer time awaits you.

The team of Zilkens Fine Art Insurance Broker GmbH in Solothurn and Cologne with Stephan Zilkens

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Dr. Stephan Zilkens | Zilkens Fine Art Insurance Broker