Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Dutch state to return Nazi loot

Dutch state to return Nazi loot

The Dutch state is to return 202 famous paintings worth millions of euros to the family of a Jewish art collector who died while fleeing the Nazis.

Jacques Goudstikker's collection was seized by the Nazi German authorities after their troops occupied the Netherlands in 1940.

The collection includes works by 17th-Century Dutch and Italian masters.

A Dutch junior minister said no compensation would be paid to the museums currently housing them.

The Secretary of State for Culture, Medy van der Laan, acknowledged that "it is a big loss for the museums". Some are displayed at Amsterdam's Rijksmuseum.

After the war, the Allies handed the Goudstikker collection over to the Dutch state.

The collection includes works by Dutch masters Van Ruysdael, Van Goyen and Van Dyck.

After years of wrangling, an official restitution commission recommended that the 202 works should be returned to Goudstikker's daughter-in-law Marei von Saher.

She had appealed to the Dutch government for the works in 1998.

A further 40 artworks will stay in the Netherlands, as their ownership is in doubt, and another 21 were deemed to have been surrendered under an agreement the Goudstikkers made with the Dutch government in 1952.

Story from BBC NEWS: