Prof. Dr. Matthias Weller

University of Bonn


Käte Hamburger Kolleg „Recht als Kultur“
Internationales Kolleg für Geisteswissenschaftliche Forschung
Center for Advanced Study in the Humanities “Law as Culture”
Konrad-Zuse-Platz 1-3
53227 Bonn

Telephone: (+49) 228 / 73 540 26
Telefax: (+49) 228 / 73 540 54

Curriculum Vitae

Prof. Dr. Matthias Weller studied Law at the University of Heidelberg and at the University of Cambridge (UK) from 1992 to 1998. Subsequently, he completed his second German state examination as well as a degree in Administrative Sciences (Magister rerum publicarum) in Speyer. He then worked as a research assistant at the Institute for International and Foreign Private and Commercial Law at the University of Heidelberg, as a lawyer at a leading law firm in Frankfurt am Main, and as a Joseph Story Research Fellow at Harvard Law School. In 2005, Matthias Weller obtained his doctorate with a dissertation on Ordre-public-Kontrolle internationaler Gerichtsstandsvereinbarungen im autonomen Zuständigkeitsrecht. His work was sponsored by the German Academic Scholarship Foundation and also supported by the Rolf and Lucia Serick Prize and the Klaus O. Fleck Prize (Rhine-Neckar Chamber of Commerce). From 2008 to 2009, Matthias Weller worked as a research assistant on more than 100 revision cases at the German Federal Supreme Court. Following his habilitation in 2011, he was appointed as Chair of Civil Law, Civil Procedure Law, and Private International Law at EBS Law School in Wiesbaden. There, Prof. Dr. Weller has also served as Vice Dean, Academic Director for the EBS Law Term, and Founder of the Transnational Commercial Dispute Resolution Research Center. Since 2018, he has held the recently founded Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach Professorship for Civil Law, Art, and Cultural Property Law at the University of Bonn. Furthermore, he is Director of the Institute for German and International Civil Procedure Law and Conflict Management. In April 2019, Matthias Weller started the five-year comparative law research project Restatement of Restitution Rules for Nazi-Confiscated Art, which is funded by the German Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media.

Prof. Dr. Weller’s research interests include private law, private international law, international civil procedure law, arbitration, transnational business law, and cultural property law. A particular focus of his research is the intersection of art and cultural property law. In 2005, Matthais Weller and a colleague founded the Institute for Art and Law IFKUR e.V., the first institute in Germany dedicated to this intersection. Matthias Weller served on the Institute’s board until 2020.

Since April 2021, Prof. Dr. Matthias Weller has been a Fellow at the Käte Hamburger Center for Advanced Study in the Humanities “Law as Culture” in Bonn.

Research project

"Just and Fair Solutions? – Fundamentals of a Restitution Culture for Artworks Confiscated During Nazi Persecution"

During his time as a fellow of the Käte Hamburger Center, Matthias Weller will undertake research on the fundamentals of a 'restitution culture' for Nazi-confiscated art: In 1998, 44 states agreed on the 'Washington Conference Principles on Nazi-Confiscated Art'. Its central Principle calls for achieving 'just and fair solutions' for Nazi-confiscated art that has still not been restituted. Obviously, 'justice' is a fundamental prerequisite of any restitution culture, and a large part of Weller's project will be to develop the notion of 'justice' in this context. At the same time it is clear that any such solutions must go beyond mere restitution of stolen objects and must seek to include other dimensions in order to fully explore the potential of a restitution for reconciliation.

Publications (selected)

  • Kulturgutschutzgesetz (KGSG), Nomos-Verlag Baden-Baden (zusammen mit Prof. Dr. Kerstin von der Decken und Prof. Dr. Frank Fechner), 2021, 640 Seiten.
  • Nach 20 Jahren ‚Washington Principles on Nazi Confiscated Art‘: Zeit für ein ‚Restatement of Restitution Rules, in Gebauer/Huber (Hrsg.), Politisches Kollisionsrecht: Sachnormzwecke – Hoheitsrechte – Kultur, Symposium zum 85. Geburtstag von Erik Jayme am 7. und 8. Juni 2019, Universität Tübingen, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen 2021, S. 91 – 100.
  • Art as (no longer) subsidized asset class: From privileges to restrictions in sales and auctions, in Thomas Ackermann/Julia Voss, Art as a subsidized asset class: Time for a new regulatory approach, Workshop vom 22. und 23. November 2019, Wissenschaftskolleg Berlin, Bild und Recht – Studien zur Regulierung des Visuellen, Nomos-Verlag Baden Baden 2021 (im Erscheinen).
  • Matthias Weller/Anne Dewey, Warum ein „Restatement of Restitution Rules for Nazi-Confiscated Art“?, Bulletin Kunst & Recht 2019/2 2020/1, 46 – 60 = Zeitschrift für Kunst und Recht (KUR) 2019, 170 – 178.
  • Rethinking EU Cultural Property Law: Towards Private Enforcement, Schriften zum Kunst- und Kulturrecht Bd. 26, Baden-Baden 2018, 172 Seiten.
  • In search of “just and fair solutions“: Towards the future of the “Washington Principles on Nazi-Confiscated Art“, in: Commission pour l’indemnisation des victims de spoliations intervenues du fait des législations antisémites en vigueur pendant l'Occupation (CIVS), Guide to the work of the Restitution Committees – Five ways of resolving claims, Paris 2019, S. 9 – 17