Dutch Museums Find 139 Artworks Looted in Nazi Era

The Netherlands Museums Association found that at least 139 works of art in Dutch museums were looted during the World War II under the Nazi regime.

The association said in a statement that many of them were the property of Jewish individuals. The investigation, in which 162 Dutch museums participated, yielded 139 objects with a problematic provenance from 41 different museums, while 61 of these objects can be linked to their original owners.

The 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.

Portret van de familie Van / Musealeverwervingen

The provenance of each object can be found on the website Musealeverwervingen.nl, which aims to trace the full provenance of these works with the help of visitors to the site.

"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,” stated Siebe Weide, director of the Netherlands Museums Association.

“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."