Stolen Van Gogh paintings evidence in Italian Mafia trial; Amsterdam return years away

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It may be years before the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam can welcome back two stolen Van Gogh paintings recovered in Italy three weeks ago. The paintings are evidence in a case against the Italian Mafia and can't be released until after the trial, stolen art hunter Arthur Brand said to BNR.

"In Italy trials take even longer than in the Netherlands, so it may still take a year before they're back", Brand, who was involved in the search for the paintings, said to the broadcaster.

The paintings were stolen from the Van Gogh museum in 2002. They were recovered from a home owned by the Italian Mafia three weeks ago.

According to Brand, the paintings seem to be in a pretty good condition at least. "When you consider that only 5 to 10 percent of stolen works ever turn up, that is fantastic", Brand said to BNR. "The people who steal these canvases are often not experts. Such paintings are usually dumped into storage in poor conditions. These two works seem to have been kept in a good spot. Somewhere behind a mirrored wall in  a private gym."

The paintings involved are Seafront at Scheveningen and Congregation Leaving the Reformed Church in Nuenen.

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