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Amsterdam mum on request by Crimean museums to let art restorers access Scythian Gold

The collection brought to the Netherlands for a public display has been kept there since 2014 when uncertainty arose over its property rights

SIMFEROPOL, January 14. /TASS/. Crimea’s museums believe that art restorers should have access to the Scythian Gold collection currently kept in Amsterdam but there has been no response to their requests, Director General of the Eastern Crimean Historical and Cultural Museum Preserve Tatyana Umrikhina told reporters on Thursday.

"Our items require the attention of art restorers for proper preservation. They are very precious and we would like to have access to them to maintain them. Unfortunately, we haven’t received any response to our letters yet," Umrikhina pointed out, adding that she had no concerns about the safety of the items guarded by Amsterdam museum workers.

According to Umrikhina, a Dutch court will once again consider the positions of the parties on January 19. "Our position is based on international law and it is strange that someone should oppose it. Ukraine certainly seeks to remove the paragraphs that provide advantage to us, which concern property matters and the application of the UNESCO convention in terms of preserving cultural heritage. We do hope that the court will make a fair decision," Umrikhina noted.

Scythian Gold issue

The Scythian Gold collection of over 2,000 items was put on view at the Allard Pierson Museum of the University of Amsterdam in February 2014 when Crimea was still part of Ukraine. However, after the peninsula reunited with Russia in March 2014, an uncertainty over the collection arose as both Russia and Ukraine claimed the exhibits. In this regard, the University of Amsterdam suspended the handover until either the dispute is legally resolved or the parties come to terms.

The Central Museum of Tavrida, the Kerch Historical and Cultural Preserve, the Bakhchysarai Historical and Cultural Preserve and the Chersonesus Historical and Cultural Preserve are among the museums whose items remain in Amsterdam. Items provided for the exhibition by a Kiev museum, were returned to Ukraine in September 2014.

In December 2016, the Amsterdam District Court ruled that the Scythian gold treasures be returned to Ukraine. Crimea’s museums filed an appeal against the decision. The Amsterdam Court of Appeal later postponed a verdict in the case, emphasizing the need for the parties to provide additional information, particularly on property rights. The court expects the information by January 19.