Dutch Court Orders Crimean Treasures Returned to Ukraine

  • From the exhibition titled “The Crimea: Gold and Secrets from the Black Sea.”

    From the exhibition titled “The Crimea: Gold and Secrets from the Black Sea.”

    photo: Allard Pierson Museum

A Dutch court has ruled for Ukraine in the return of historical treasures from Crimea loaned a few years ago to the Allard Pierson Museum in Amsterdam for an exhibition titled “The Crimea: Gold and Secrets from the Black Sea.” A near two-year legal battle has been waged over whether the loaned objects should be returned to Ukraine or Russia.

In 2014, Russia annexed part of Crimea where some of the museums which loaned objects reside. The Netherlands does not recognize Russia's annexation of Crimea.

Ukraine has contended that the treasures are state property and should not go back to the museums in Russian-controlled parts of Crimea. 

A three-judge panel agreed with Ukraine, stating, “the claim by Crimean museums that the artifacts are Crimean heritage, or belong to the Autonomous Republic of Crimea was not accepted by the judges, because neither are sovereign states." The rightful ownership of the artifacts should be adjudicated in a Ukrainian court, the judges noted.

The Dutch museum will hold on to the objects pending an appeal.

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