Report: Culture minister bungled €160 million Rembrandt deal
Sources speaking anonymously to newspaper De Telegraaf blame Dutch Minister of Culture, Jet Bussemaker, for not securing a deal that would bring two large Rembrandt portraits to the Netherlands in a 160 million euro deal with the Rothschild family in France. They accuse the minister of speaking bilaterally with her French counterpart about a joint purchase of the paintings in secret and on her own accord. Quoting "stakeholders" who are at least tangentially involved in the paintings' purchase, the newspaper said the minister failed in her duties, and did not clearly inform her colleagues of the actual situation behind the scenes when it was announced that the Netherlands completed the purchase as a partner with the Rijksmuseum. Instead of the Amsterdam-based national gallery permanently housing the two portraits, collectively called the "Brother and Sister of the Night Watch," it will take turns with the Louvre in Paris. Prime Minister Mark Rutte secured an agreement with French President Francois Hollande at the UN summit in New York to jointly purchase the paintings. Bussemaker is believed to have tried to negotiate with the French while simultaneously testing the waters for an exclusive purchase by the Netherlands, the newspaper stated. It was a belief held by the elected leaders of seven parties in the lower house of Dutch parliament that the deal for the purchase of the two paintings was concluded. This angered the French, prompting them to make a counter-offer to exclusively own one of the two paintings, paving the way for a deal between the leaders of the two nations.