Last updated on April 18, 2014 at 14:37 EDT

Netherlands Museums Association Unveils the Results of the “Looted Art” Investigation

October 29, 2013

AMSTERDAM, October 29, 2013 /PRNewswire/ –

Today the Netherlands Museums Association presents the conclusions of the
investigation into the provenance of works of art in Dutch museums, Museum Acquisitions
from 1933 Onwards. A total of 139 objects of art have been identified in the 162
participating museums. These objects are either thought or known to have been looted,
confiscated or sold under duress in the period between 1933 and 1945 under the Nazi
regime. Many of them were the property of Jewish individuals.

The provenance of each object can be found on the website
http://www.musealeverwervingen.nl, which will be launched today at 4:00 pm. Even
following a thorough investigation, many provenances remain incomplete or inconclusive.
The website aims to trace the full provenance of these works with the help of visitors to
the site. When possible, the museums make every effort to contact family members or heirs
of the original owners.

Investigation results

A total of 162 Dutch museums participated in the investigation. It yielded 139 objects
with a (potentially) problematic provenance from 41 different museums. Sixty-one of these
objects can be linked to their original owners.

With respect to 78 of the objects it is uncertain to whom they belonged and whether
they were indeed looted or relinquished involuntarily. These 139 objects comprise 69
paintings, 24 drawings, 2 sculptures, 31 objects of applied art, and 13 Jewish ceremonial
objects. More than 400 museums declined to participate for legitimate reasons, for example
because they administer a collection of contemporary art, have a botanical focus, or keep
a collection that was assembled prior to 1933.

Thorough investigation

Siebe Weide, director of the Netherlands Museums Association, said: “The Museum
Acquisitions from 1933 Onwards investigation touches on the core of what museums do,
namely studying their collection and telling its story to the public. This was not an easy
undertaking, but the museums never lost sight of the importance of this investigation. The
fact that so much time has elapsed since the end of the Second World War should never be a
reason for not conducting research on provenance. Accordingly, in the past years Dutch
museums have done everything in their power to chart the origins of their collections.”

Dutch Minister of Education, Culture and Science, Ms. Bussemaker

We are fortunate to now have a website with all of the available information about
works in museums with a potentially problematic provenance. This honours those who were
victimized in this respect during the Second World War and is part of the responsibility
we assume to chart the provenance of our public art collection with transparency.”


To make a claim, family members or heirs should first approach the museums in
question. Claims are always submitted to the current collection-owner. Subsequently,
claims can be made jointly by the current owner, the museum, and family members or heirs
to the Restitution Committee for an independent binding recommendation about the future of
the object. If the object is State property, family members or heirs of the original owner
can submit a written request for restitution to the Minister of Education, Culture and

SOURCE The Netherlands Museums Association

Source: PR Newswire