EUR 10m in art taken in museum theft

10th January 2005, Comments 0 comments

10 January 2005, AMSTERDAM — Thieves stole paintings and silverware valued at EUR 10 million from the Westfries Museum in Hoorn on Sunday night in what has been described as a disaster for one of the oldest Dutch museums.

10 January 2005

AMSTERDAM — Thieves stole paintings and silverware valued at EUR 10 million from the Westfries Museum in Hoorn on Sunday night in what has been described as a disaster for one of the oldest Dutch museums.

Museum staff discovered the theft at about 8am on Monday and police were immediately called in. No security personnel were on duty at the time of the theft and the burglar alarm was not triggered.
 
The thieves escaped with between 15 and 20 priceless items, mainly 17th century paintings and a large part of the museum's silverware collection. Among the stolen artworks was a youth piece by Jan van Goyen.

One of the oldest museums in the Netherlands, the Westfries Museum in the north of the country was due to start celebrating its 125th anniversary on Monday morning.

The thieves escaped with artworks from the exhibition "Sights of North Holland", which ended on Sunday. Among the works stolen included paintings from Jacob Waben, Matthias Withoos, Jan Rietschoof, Jan Linsen and Herman Hengstenburgh.

Police are not yet certain how the culprits gained entry to the museum without triggering the advanced security system. It is suspected that the thieves tampered with the security system, which had only been inspected last Thursday.

Museum director Ruud Spruit said the stolen works were the heart of the museum's collection and were irreplaceable. The thieves removed the paintings from their frames, smashed glass cases to get at the silverware and kicked in museum doors.

Hoorn Culture Alderman Roger Tonnaer described the theft as a "disaster" and said he hoped the thieves would soon realise that the paintings were unsaleable because they are too well known.

The Westfries Museum has 25 halls exhibiting the history of the city of Hoorn, art and crafts and the Dutch East Indies Company. The museum also holds art from the 20th century such as an early Mondriaan and expressionist art from the Bergense School.

[Copyright Expatica News 2005]

Subject: Dutch news

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