Yesterday in Amsterdam, the court of appeal ruled on the case of the ownership of the “Scythian gold” and ordered to return it to Ukraine. Russia intends to appeal against it.
Initially, a similar decision was made on 12/14/2016 by the District Administrative Court of Amsterdam, yesterday’s verdict fully confirms it, Interfax reports. On Tuesday, the court’s website published a message from the press service:
“The Allard Pearson Museum (APM) should transfer the so-called Crimean treasures to Ukraine. Obligations to return museum exhibits to Crimean museums have been completed. This decision was made today by the Amsterdam Court of Appeal when considering an appeal against the verdict of December 14, 2016”.
A collection of “Scythian gold” containing 2,000 unique items was sent to Bonn and Amsterdam in 2013. The exhibits were shown within the framework of the exhibition “Crimea – a golden island in the Black Sea” and were presented by four Crimean museums: the Kerch Historical and Cultural Reserve, the Bakhchisarai Historical and Cultural Reserve, the Central Museum of Taurida and the “Tauric Chersonesos”.
The question of where to return the “Scythian gold” arose in 2014, after Crimea became part of Russia. Crimean museums demanded the return of the collection to the peninsula, backing up their claims with a lawsuit against the Dutch Allard Pearson Museum. However, in 2016, the Amsterdam District Court ruled to return the Scythian wealth belonging to Ukraine to Kiev:
“Crimean exhibits must be transferred to the Ukrainian state in accordance with the Dutch (cultural) heritage law.”
In 2017, Crimean museums challenged this decision in an appeal, the consideration of which began in March 2019. The decision was postponed several times and was announced yesterday, October 26, BBC reports. Pauline Hofmeier-Rutten, head of the panel of judges, read:
“The Amsterdam Court of Appeal ruled that the Allard Pearson Museum should transfer the Scythian gold to the Ukrainian state. Although these museum exhibits are of Crimean origin and, to this extent, can be considered part of the cultural heritage of Crimea, they are also part of the cultural heritage of Ukraine, which existed as an independent state. since 1991 “.
Rob Meier, a lawyer representing Crimean museums, said they could appeal to the Dutch Supreme Court. This is possible, TASS reports, within three months. During this period and the time of consideration of the appeal in the Supreme Court, the collection will not be transferred to Ukraine – it will remain in the Allard Pearson Museum for the time being. Director of the Simferopol Central Museum of Tavrida Andrey Malgin says:
“Unfortunately, this decision did not come as a surprise to us. Nevertheless, of course, I am shocked by this kind of attitude of European justice towards the rights, interests and cultural heritage of Crimea. This is a disgusting decision, and I am sorry about this.”
After the completion of the exhibition in 2014, the Allard Pearson Museum in Amsterdam received requests to return the exhibits from both Crimean museums and the Ukrainian authorities. The museum refused to resolve the dispute on its own and sent both parties to court to discuss the fate of the exhibition.
Earlier, the Minister of Culture of Crimea Arina Novoselskaya stated that the estimated insurance value of the “Scythian gold” is about two million euros, while the real value of the exhibits is much higher.