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THE HAGUE, January 22 /TASS/. The University of Amsterdam has replied to a lawsuit filed by four Crimean museums demanding a return of Scythian gold exhibits from the Netherlands to Crimea.
A district court in Amsterdam which is dealing with the Crimean museums’ lawsuit to the University of Amsterdam said that it now expected the museums to answer the letter sent by the University of Amsterdam, the contents of which, however, has not been made public, by February 1, a court representative told TASS on Thursday.
The Scythian gold exhibits were put on view at the Allard Pierson Museum in Amsterdam as part of the “Crimea: Gold and Secrets of the Black Sea” exhibition in February 2014. About 2,000 exhibits were loaned by a museum in Kiev and four museums in Crimea, which was part of Ukraine at the time when the items were consigned to the Netherlands. They included pieces of goldsmithery, weapons and household appliances revealing the rich history of the Crimean peninsula.
The collection of unique exhibits was supposed to have returned home after the exhibition’s closure on August 31.
The problem emerged after Crimea’s reunification with Russia in the March 16 referendum. Both Russia and Ukraine have been claiming the right to the exhibits loaned by the Crimean museums. That is why the University of Amsterdam’s Allard Pierson Museum suspended the artifacts’ handover until a legal solution was found to the dispute.
The Kiev-owned exhibits returned to Kiev in September 2014.
In November 2014, four Crimean museums (the Tavrida Central Museum, the Kerch Historical and Cultural Reserve, the Bakhchisaray Historical and Cultural Reserve and the Khersones Tavrichesky National Reserve) filed a lawsuit to the University of Amsterdam demanding a return of the Scythian gold collection to Crimea.
January 21 was the final date when the University of Amsterdam was supposed to give a written reply to the claimant and decide whether a court hearing should be held on the case or additional inquiries should be sent to the litigating parties.
According to our information, the University of Amsterdam responsible for the collection’s preservation reacted to the Crimean museum’s lawsuit on January 22. “However, we do not know what’s in that reply. This information is not public,” the court representative said.
The Crimean museums have stressed it many times that they have the right to claim the collection back because all the exhibits were found in the peninsula’s territory and stored in Crimean museums.