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Dutch Foreign Ministry is in two minds about Crimean Scythian gold

April 03, 2014, 23:51 UTC+3 THE HAGUE
1 pages in this article

THE HAGUE, April 03, /ITAR-TASS/. Dutch Foreign Ministry has started considering the issue of establishing ownership of the ‘Crimea: Gold and Secrets of the Black Sea’ collection that is currently on display in Amsterdam, Aad Meijer, the spokesman for the ministry, told Itar-Tass on Thursday.

The ministry considers the issue together with Amsterdan University's Allard Pierson Museum that is hosting the exhibition.

Meijer said that the current situation in Ukraine had raised the questions that needed to be answered. As soon as the decisions are reached, Dutch Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans would inform the parliament on the government’s stance on this issue, the spokesman said adding that there is no certainty in deadlines.

The exhibition ‘Crimea: Gold and Secrets of the Black Sea’ has been on display in the Allard Pierson Museum since February. All in all, the 550 exhibits, which have been loaned by the Kiev Museum and four Crimean museums, display the results of archaeological excavations, 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 U.S. dollars.

The problem emerged after Crimea had reunified with Russia while the museum has obligations before the Ukrainian Culture Ministry and the Crimean museums as well to return the collection , though these museums are located in Russia now.

Both Russia and Ukraine have already claimed the ownership of the Scythian gold.

Last week, Dr. Mikhail Piotrovsky, the Director General of the State Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg, said 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.”

Meanwhile, the exhibition will last till late August and Netherlands is hopeful the solution will be found.

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