News of: Thursday, March 27 2014,
The conflict between Ukraine and Russia about Crimea has unexpectedly led to a painful situation for the Amsterdam Allard Pierson Museum.
The museum has an exhibition (since February 7, 2014) about archeological finds, borrowed from Crimean museums. The exhibition was planned and set up before the conflict about Crimea started.
The exhibition shows a number of valuable (gold) archeological finds from Crimea, such as Chinese lacquer boxes that are 2,000 years old, a Scythian gold helmet and other beautiful artefacts.
The problem is now: to whom must the Allard Pierson Museum return the artefacts, after the exhibition in Amsterdam ends, in August? The owners are the state museums that used to be Ukrainian, but are now part of Russian-occupied Crimea.
The University of Amsterdam (of which the Allard Pierson Museum is a part) has set up a team of lawyers to find answers. Also, the University has asked advice from the Dutch Foreign Ministry, which is also trying to untie the legal knots.
Ukraine has accused Russia of trying to steal the jewels and artefacts, saying the artefacts will be shipped immediately to the Hermitage in Saint Petersburg after their return, but Russia denies this.
Instead, according to the Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad, a Russian tv station accuses the Dutch of having the plan to steal the artefacts themselves. The tv station states the Netherlands had that plan all along from the beginning.
The Allard Pierson Museum, however, says it will 'certainly' return the artefacts, because they are on loan, but it is not yet certain whether they should be returned to the Crimean where they came from (now in Russian hands) or to the Ukranian capital Kiev.
The director of the Allard Pierson Museum, Mr Wim Hupperetz, calls the situation complicated and unique.
Crimean jewel (from the Allard Pierson Museum exhibtion)
Allard Pierson Museum