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Dutch museum must return historical artifacts to Ukraine

Dutch museum must return historical artifacts to Ukraine

The Dutch Supreme Court on Friday ordered the return to Ukraine of a trove of historical artifacts, kept for years in a Dutch museum. The court upheld a lower court’s ruling that the 300 artifacts are part of Ukraine’s cultural heritage.

The collection of archaeological artifacts, some dating back more than 2,000 years, was on display at the Allard Pierson Museum in Amsterdam when Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula in 2014, sparking a dispute over the repatriation of the pieces.

Both the Ukrainian government in Kiev and the four Crimean museums that had lent the bronze swords, gold helmets, precious stones and other artifacts to the Allard Pierson demanded the return of the pieces. The museum in Amsterdam decided to keep the objects until a court resolved its fate.

The legal tug of war has ended with the order of the Supreme Court in The Hague to return the collection to Ukraine. The judges said the Russian-annexed Autonomous Republic of Crimea had not received recognition.

“Although the museum pieces originate from Crimea and can therefore be considered Crimean heritage, they are part of the cultural heritage of Ukraine,” the ruling says.

Mediation in 2014 between the museums involved and the Ukrainian authorities failed, and Allard Pierson took the matter to court.

The “Crimea – Gold and Black Sea Secrets” exhibition included a Scythian gold helmet from the fourth century BC and a gold necklace from the second century AD weighing more than one kilo (two pounds).

It is not clear when the delivery of the objects will take place.

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