THE HAGUE, March 26, /ITAR-TASS/. Allard Pierson Museum of the University of Amsterdam exhibiting Mediterranean antiquities and archeological finds, has not taken a decision yet on where to send back exhibits from the ‘Crimea: Gold and Secrets of the Black Sea’ collection, Yasha Lange, an official spokesperson for the museum told in the statement obtained by ITAR-TASS Wednesday.
“The exhibition that started in February includes objects from five Ukrainian museums, four of which are located in Crimea,” he said. “The loan agreements for the objects were concluded prior to the political upheaval in Ukraine and the recent change of power in the Crimea”.
“The Allard Pierson Museum considers it extremely important to exercise care in this situation,” Lange said.
“The objects on loan will remain in the Netherlands for at least the duration of the exhibition, which lasts until the end of August. They will then be returned, taking into account the legal ownership of the objects,” he said.
“Given the complexity of the issue, the manner in which the objects will be returned is currently being investigated by the legal advisers of the University of Amsterdam. Additional advice has also been requested from the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs in The Hague,” Lange said.
The exhibition ‘Crimea: Gold and Secrets of the Black Sea’ displays the results of archeological excavations made in Crimea, including gold jewelry and treasures, weaponry, and household utensils that tell the visitors about the rich history of the Crimean Peninsula.
The cost of these antiquities is believed to reach several hundred thousand US dollars.
The problem around the Crimean exhibits loaned to the Amsterdam museum was highlighted on Tuesday by Dr. Mikhail Piotrovsky, the Director General of the State Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg, who said at a news conference he was concerned by the fate of the collection of Scythian gold from the museums of Kerch, an ancient city in the east of Crimea.
The problem of where the collection is due to return upon the end of the exhibition — to Crimea or to Ukraine — or whether it will stay back in Europe forever is turning into a cultural dilemma, Dr. Piotrovsky said.
A number of mass media misinterpreted his words later as an indication of claims to the ownership of the collection allegedly made by the State Hermitage Museum.
“In the light of reports in a number of mass media on the alleged willingness of Russians museum directorates to take hold of the Crimean arts values that are currently exhibited in Europe, the State Hermitage Museum would like to make it clear that the concern the Association of Russian Museums and the Hermitage experts have expressed over the destiny of treasures from the Crimean museums does not mean in any way that either the State Hermitage Museum or any other Russian museums have claims to the Crimean museum collections,” the Hermitage museum directorate said in a special statement Wednesday.
“Dr. Piotrovsky’s words called for a professional, ethical and legal discussion of the current situation, which is part of a problem of security and integrity of the treasures loaned for exhibitions,” it said. “From the ethical grounds, the exhibits should return to the museums where they have been kept for hundreds of years but from the legal angle of view, they may belong to the museum fund of the country, from the territory of which they were loaned.