Frequently asked questions
It may take up to approx. 100 weeks to handle an application for restitution.
Why is that?
The time it takes to handle an application for restitution depends on a number of factors. Archival research into events that often took place more than fifty years ago can be time-consuming. In addition, the Committee sometimes has to rely on information from third parties, such as (archive) institutions at home and abroad. There may also be procedural reasons as to why it takes more time to handle an application. In some cases, a work may be the subject of multiple claims, as a result of which procedures become interdependent. Moreover, applicants often request a postponement, e.g. to conduct research themselves.
Do I need a lawyer to file an application for restitution?
No, you don’t. The Committee employs a very open procedure and does the research itself, so that you don’t need to be represented by a lawyer.
What language does the Committee work in?
The Committee works in Dutch, although correspondence with foreign applicants is also conducted in English.
I’m searching for works of art that my family lost during the Second World War.
Where should I start?
Retracing and identifying stolen or looted items of cultural value is no easy task. Not every work of art of which the original owner lost possession through coercion during the Second World War ended up in Germany. A certain amount of looted items of cultural value were auctioned or sold in the Netherlands and, sometimes, traded many times over the years without the buyers being aware of the artwork’s provenance. A certain number of objects that did end up in Germany were lost as a result of acts of war, such as bombings and plundering. However, the works of art that were found again after the war were recovered from Germany. The current NK collection comprises recovered art that is still under the administration of the State of the Netherlands. Having an accurate description of the works of art that your family owned will make the search easier. In so far as this information can be retrieved, the National Archives of the Netherlands, the NIOD and the RKD may help you trace information about your family and lost works of art in the archives and documentation that are still available. You can also consult various databases on the internet relating to looted art.