The Netherlands a 'depot' for stolen artwork

24th January 2005, Comments 0 comments

24 January 2005, AMSTERDAM — The Netherlands is a depot for stolen artworks, the director of the world's largest detective bureau for stolen art has said.

24 January 2005

AMSTERDAM — The Netherlands is a depot for stolen artworks, the director of the world's largest detective bureau for stolen art has said.

Julian Radcliffe, the director of the London-based Art Loss Register, said art stolen from northern and eastern Europe (Scandinavia, Germany and Russia) is often taken to the Netherlands. 

The south of the Netherlands near the border with Belgium is particularly popular with criminals. The artworks are smuggled from the Netherlands to Britain or the US, newspaper De Volkskrant reported on Monday.

Radcliffe told the newspaper that the criminal market thrives in the Netherlands because of a gap in Dutch law in relation to stolen art. Due to the statute of limitations, thieves become the owners of stolen private art after 20 years and 30 years for publicly-owned artworks that were stolen.

"That means that thief can consider the Netherlands as a relatively safe warehouse if he cannot export the art," Radcliffe said.

He also blamed the decision to scrap the data bank for stolen art two years ago to save money for contributing to the problem.

Art Loss Register has offices in London, Cologne and New York. It was established in 1991 to track down stolen art. Radcliffe said EUR 150 to 200 million in art is stolen worldwide each year. It is now planning to open up an office in Amsterdam.

Earlier this month, thieves escaped with EUR 10 million in paintings and silverware from the Westfries Museum in Hoorn. The stolen goods represented the "heart" of one of the Netherlands' oldest museum's collection and have not yet been recovered.

[Copyright Expatica News 2005]

Subject: Dutch news

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