international litigation

Legal proceedings on Crimean museums' Scythian gold begins in Netherlands


The first formal meeting in the legal proceedings in which the Crimean museums that are now under the Russian jurisdiction, demand the return to them of a collection of Scythian gold displayed at an exhibit in the Allard Pierson Museum at Amsterdam University, has been held in the Amsterdam court.

"The meeting in court on January 21 had a procedural nature. The Amsterdam court should decide on the issue of the state of Ukraine entering the case as a party in the litigation," the Ukrainian Culture Ministry press service said in a release issued on Friday.

The official position of Ukraine is that "the displays cannot be returned to an occupied territory, which is temporarily not controlled by Ukraine, and they should be provided directly to the state of Ukraine."

The agency said that Ukraine's Culture Ministry gives special attention to the Scythian gold case. "An interdepartmental working group has been created, which comprises Culture Ministry officials, Justice Ministry officials,, and Foreign Ministry officials," the report says.

The exhibition "The Crimea: Gold and the Secrets of the Black Sea" opened at the Allard Pierson Museum, an archeological museum at Amsterdam University, in early February 2014. It included collections from five museums - one in Kyiv and four in Crimea. It displayed over 500 archeological finds, including artifacts of Scythian gold, a ceremonial helmet, precious stones, swords, armor, and home ware of the ancient Greeks and Scythians. Because the Netherlands has not recognized the joining of Crimea to Russia, which took place after the exhibition opened, the question arose as to where the collection should be returned after the closure of the exhibition in August 2014.

On September 10, 2014, the Russian Culture Ministry said the Scythian gold from the Kyiv museums had been returned to Kyiv and the objects from the Crimean museums remained in the Netherlands after a joint exhibit in the Amsterdam museum.

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