You received a request for restitution of a work of art, for example a painting in your museum or your private collection. If you want this restitution request to be researched and assessed by the Restititions Committee, you can request a binding expert opinion. Below you will find a description of the steps to take when filing such a request. You will also find a short checklist on the righthand side of the page.
Before you take further steps to come to a solution, it is neccesary to find out who currently possesses the requested work of art. Even if the artwork has been part of your museums collection for decades, it might concern a work that is owned by the Dutch State, a municipality or a provice. First check who currently owns the artwork and check if you are allowed to request a binding expert opinion regarding this work. If the work is part of the Dutch State Collection, please immediately contact the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science.
The binding expert opinion-procedure is a voluntary procedure. This means that the person asking for restitution has to agree with you as the owner or representative of the possessor, to involve the Restitutions Committee. Both parties have to declare beforehand to accept the expert opinion as binding. Reaching an agreement on this point is a necessity.
Together with the other party, you ask the Restitutions Committee to issue a binding expert opinion. To do this, you send a letter to the committee, undersigned by you as owner of the claimed artwork (or as his representative) and by the person representing the party asking for restitution. Both parties can also file this request seperately, each with an own letter.
From the letter/letters it has to become clear:
- which artwork is concerned;
- where the artwork resides (collection/museum);
- who are the parties (on the one side the current possessor, for example a foundation or province/municipal government, and on the other hand the party claiming the work of art on grounds of former ownership);
- who are the representatives of both parties and their contact information (for example a museum director as representative of the current owner and a representative representing the family of the former owner).
The committee will then inform you on how the procedure will continue.