SIMFEROPOL, Republic of Crimea, December 21 /TASS/. The Allard Pierson Museum should challenge the Amsterdam Court’s decision to send the Scythian gold collection to Ukraine and support the Crimean museums, which own the artefacts, a statement issued by four Crimean museums said.
"The museums really intend to challenge the Amsterdam District Court’s decision and hope that the Allard Pierson Museum, which guaranteed the exhibits’ return, will also appeal the court verdict," the museums said.
"The Crimean Museums placed blind confidence in the guarantees provided by the Allard Pierson Museum, which should now take their side in the Scythian gold case rather than stay on the sidelines and watch how its own exhibition is deteriorating and destroying both the collection and the reputation of its counteragents," the statement said.
The Crimean museums also noted that they did not see any legal, cultural or historical grounds for moving the artefacts to the territory of continental Ukraine.
"These artefacts belong to Crimea, the territory where they were found. They are evidence of the peninsula’s history, culture and they are inseparable parts of collections, which committed archaeologists built over many years," the statement said.
On December 14, the Amsterdam District Court handed down a verdict to return the Scythian gold collection to Ukraine. The Crimean museums and authorities said they would appeal the court’s decision.
The exhibits were part of the Crimea: Gold and Secrets of the Black Sea collection, which was on display at the Allard Pierson Museum from February to August 2014.
The uncertainty over the Scythian gold collection, which was put on display at the Allard Pierson Museum in Amsterdam in February 2014 when Crimea was still part of Ukraine, arose after the peninsula had reunited with Russia in March 2014. Both Russia and Ukraine claimed their rights to the collection. The Crimean museums claimed their full right to the Scythian gold many times on the grounds that all the objects were found on Crimea’s territory and were stored in the peninsula’s museums. That said, the University of Amsterdam suspended the procedure of returning the artefacts until a legal decision was passed or until the parties reached a settlement agreement.
The four museums, which had sent their exhibits to Amsterdam back in February 2014, include the Bakhchisaray and Kerch Historical and Cultural Reserves, the Khersones Tavrichesky National Reserve and the Central Museum of Tavrida.
The exhibits which had been provided by a Kiev museum were returned to Ukraine in September 2014.
The Scythian gold collection, which is at the heart of the litigation battle, consists of more than 2,000 artefacts with an appraised insurance value exceeding €1 mln.