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Fourteen Items from Meissen Service Back to Heirs of Jewish Owner

6 January 2020
Meissen Servies Six pieces of Meissen porcelain service (photo: Het Loo Palace)

THE HAGUE, 6 January 2020 – The Restitutions Committee has advised Minister of Education, Culture and Science to restitute fourteen items from a Meissen service to the heirs of the original German owner Herbert Gutmann. The Minister has accepted this advice.

In 2015 heirs of Herbert Gutmann asked the Minister of Education, Culture and Science to restitute the items from the Meissen service. The Minister asked the Restitutions Committee to advise her with regard to this application. The fourteen items are from the Stadholder Service, a Meissen porcelain service decorated with scenes in the Netherlands and the Dutch East Indies. The items are part of the Dutch National Art Collection and are in Het Loo Palace, the Rijksmuseum and the Zuiderzeemuseum.

The Restitutions Committee concluded on the basis of the investigation conducted in this case that the items from the service had been the property of Herbert Gutmann until 1934. Gutmann was persecuted by the Nazis because of his Jewish descent. Gutmann had his art collection, including the fourteen items from the service, sold at auction in 1934. The available information indicates that Gutmann was forced to do so by circumstances directly related to the Nazi regime.

In formulating its advice, the Restitutions Committee took into account the interests of the current owner, the Dutch State, which acquired the items from the service after the Second World War through normal channels. The Committee came to the conclusion, however, that Herbert Gutmann’s heirs’ interests in restitution of the items from the service must prevail over the interests of the Dutch State in retaining them. The Committee has therefore advised the Minister of Education, Culture and Science to restitute the fourteen items from the Meissen service to Gutmann’s heirs.

The full text of the recommendation is on this website through the link on the bottom of this page.

About the Restitutions Committee

The Advisory Committee on the Assessment of Restitution Applications for Items of Cultural Value and the Second World War advises about claims to items of cultural value lost during the Nazi period, also referred to as looted art. Since the Restitutions Committee was established in 2002 it has issued 161 recommendations and opinions and has had 182 claims submitted to it. The Committee is chaired by Fred Hammerstein.

Relevant recommendation: Herbert Gutmann


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