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Crimea treasure thrives quandary for Dutch museum host

June 25, 2014, 18:12 UTC+3 MOSCOW
Exhibits were brought to Amsterdam from museums of Crimea, but a no-nonsense fight is in progress now around what is referred to as Scythian gold
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© Allard Pierson Museum

MOSCOW, June 25. /ITAR-TASS/. The Allard Pierson Museum in Amsterdam hosting an exhibition of Scythian gold from Crimea is at a loss where the exhibits will go to after it ends, as the exhibition opened in February when Crimea was still part of Ukraine.

The exhibition Crimea: Gold and Secrets of the Black Sea is still on in the Netherlands, although it was to end on June 1, the museum’s official website reports. It features archeological finds from Crimea, including jewelry, weapons and household items, the cost of which is put at several hundred thousand dollars.

Exhibits were brought to Amsterdam from museums of Crimea, but a no-nonsense fight is in progress now around what is referred to as Scythian gold, in view of the latest developments in Ukraine and Crimea’s accession to Russia. The question is - where will the exhibits go after the exhibition ends. The organizers have commitments both to the Ukrainian Culture Ministry and Crimean museums that are now on the Russian soil. Besides, the Netherlands has not officially recognized Crimea’s accession to Russia.

“Yes, the situation is difficult indeed,” one of the museum specialists told ITAR-TASS. “Of course we did not expect anything of the kind, as the exhibition was being prepared long before the political changes in Ukraine. A common practice in this case is returning the exhibits the same way they arrived - through central authorities in Kiev. However, an exception may be made in this case,” the source said. “Meanwhile, the exhibition will be prolonged till the end of August, and we hope that a correct decision will be found in the meantime,” he added.

An Amsterdam University official representative said the university legal advisers were looking into the problem, and a recommendation from the Dutch Foreign Ministry had been requested.

“It is a problem where and how will the collection return. Logic suggests it must get back to the home museums. But a lot of legal nuances exist,” State Hermitage Museum Director Mikhail Piotrovsky said earlier.

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