Art with significant "historical value" stolen from former Medemblik town hall
Five paintings, a chandelier, and a barometer were stolen from the former town hall of Medemblik in the province of Noord-Holland, the municipality of Medemblik announced on Saturday. The police were still looking for trace evidence on Monday, the Noord-Holland police told NL Times.
In het voormalige stadhuis van Medemblik zijn bij een inbraak vijf schilderijen, een kroonluchter en een barometer gestolen. Voor Medemblik historisch waardevolle objecten.— Gemeente Medemblik (@GemMedemblik) September 2, 2023
Tips die naar de gestolen kunst kan leiden? Meld dit bij de politie via 0900-8844https://t.co/N4LAMo4ey3 pic.twitter.com/hmXx2tUTlK
The theft was discovered on Friday by the current owner, but the exact time the perpetrators struck is not clear, according to the municipality. Although the former town hall is no longer owned and used by the municipality of Medemblik, a number of works of art belonging to the municipality were still on display in the building.
"I am devastated. They are not particularly valuable paintings at all, but their historical value for Medemblik is very great,” said alderman Jeroen Broeders.
The stolen art includes paintings of William of Orange, Count John of Nassau, and Radboud, the king of the Frisians. The portrait of the latter holds significant historical value for Medemblik, as the king is believed to have had his fortress in Medemblik.
The police advised the municipality to announce this burglary as quickly and widely as possible. "Then it will be harder for the thieves to resell the paintings and other items," the alderman said. The municipality urges anyone who may have witnessed any suspicious activity to report it to the police at 0900-8844.
The police said on Monday that there were no signs of the stolen art so dfar. “There is hardly any update. We are currently conducting a trace investigation,” a spokesperson for Noord-Holland police told NL Times on Monday afternoon.
The art theft has surprised many. Art detective Arthur Brand suspects that the thieves knew little to nothing about the paintings they stole. "Because they are portraits of rich, decent men, they may have thought they would be worth something,” he told NH Nieuws. “But it would have been more profitable to steal five bikes.” He estimates the value per painting at “several thousand euros.”
Art historian Martijn Pieters was also taken aback by the theft. "In Medemblik, there isn't really anything valuable hanging around. If they had wanted advice, I would have recommended something else," he said jokingly.