The Hauge, Netherlands: The Netherlands is to verify the origin of works of art stolen by the Nazis and hand over to the Jewish community objects that cannot be traced, the government said Friday.
A total of 3,040 objects from the collection of cultural works returned to the country after the war will be examined.
No proper research into the origin of the works has been carried out since 2007.
“We have to keep up our efforts to restitute to the right people the cultural assets which were unintentionally lost or obtained illegally during World War II,” Culture Minister Inge Van Engelshoven said in a statement.
“We will succeed through systematic research and better communication,” she added.
The work will start next year seeking new information on the origins and original owners of the art.
If no new light can be shed, the authorities will decide with the Central Jewish Council what to do with the works that are likely to be handed over to Jewish communities, museums, or institutions.
The move launches a “strengthened restitution policy”, costing 1.5 million euros ($1.8 million) over the next four years, the education, culture and science ministry said.
Until now, the origins of a work of art were only checked if a restitution request was filed or if researchers from the center for the restitution of valuable objects took an interest.
The Nazi plunder
Theft of art and other objects as a result of orchestrated looting of European countries by agents acting on behalf of the ruling Nazi Party of Germany during the Third Reich was known as Nazi plunder (Raubkunst in German).
The Holocaust included a significant amount of plunder of Jewish property.
Plundering took place from 1933, when German Jews’ property was seized, to the end of World War II, mostly by military groups known as the Kunstschutz, albeit the majority of the plunder was taken during the war.
Paintings, ceramics, literature, and religious artifacts were among the cultural goods stolen, in addition to gold, silver, and cash.
An international effort is ongoing to track down Nazi loot that has yet to be identified, with the goal of eventually restoring the objects to their original owners, their families, or their respective countries.