4.3 Other relevant issues and debates
Restitution of art works to rightful claimants
Between the wars, Jacques Goudstikker (1897-1940) was the owner of a leading art gallery in Amsterdam. Trying to escape Nazi-Germany, he embarked for England in May 1940, but died in a tragic accident. His wife settled in the US and the family never returned to Amsterdam. One of the employees taking over the gallery sold the pictures to the Nazi-regime, without permission of the family that still owned the paintings. After the war, the Dutch government claimed to be the owner of the Goudstikker collection. The paintings were on show in a number of museums. After a long period of fruitless attempts, the heirs of Goudstikker succeeded in having 202 paintings returned by the Dutch government in early 2006. The decision to return the paintings was reportedly more on moral than on juridical grounds.
The active search for the original owners of works of art in the Dutch State Collection, looted during the Second World War, came to an end on 4 April 2007. This also saw the end of the temporary, intensified restitution policy which started in 2001, on the advice of the Ekkart Restitutions Committee, a team of external and independent experts. However, claimants will still be able to apply for the restitution of art objects in the Dutch State Collections after 4 April 2007. In these new cases, the state will continue to be guided by the recommendations of the Restitutions Committee.