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Procedure for Other Collections


One of the Restitutions Committee’s tasks is to issue a binding opinion about restitution applications that concern items of cultural value that are not in the Dutch National Art Collection. Items of cultural value whose former owners lost them as a consequence of the Nazi regime may now be in the possession of parties other than the Dutch State, for example a provincial or local authority institution, a foundation or a private individual. The Restitutions Committee can issue a binding opinion about claims to such items of cultural value at the request of the former owner and the current holder.

The procedure followed by the Committee is described in the Regulations.

Submitting a Request for Binding Opinion

See also the step-by-step plan for other collections

The following starting points apply to submitting a request for binding opinion:

  • The current holder and the former owner or their legal successors decide on the basis of consultation to call upon the Committee.
  • The parties agree to accept the Regulations and to accept the opinion to be issued by the Committee as binding.
  • The parties submit their request for binding opinion to the Minister of OCW in writing through the Restitutions Committee. This can be done by sending a letter or an email to the Restitutions Committee that is signed by the holder of the claimed item of cultural value (or the holder’s authorized representative) and the representative of the party applying for restitution of the item of cultural value. A request can also be submitted by the two parties sending two separate letters or emails.

The letter(s) or email(s) must clearly state the following:

  • Which item of cultural value is concerned.
  • Where the item of cultural value is (which museum/which collection).
  • Who the parties are. This concerns the current holder (for example a foundation or a provincial/local authority) on the one hand and the party applying for restitution of the item of cultural value on the grounds of former ownership on the other.
  • Who the representatives of the two parties are and their contact details. A museum director could be the authorized representative of the current holder, for instance, with a representative of the family of the former owner on the other side.

The following documentation must be enclosed with or attached to the application:

  • On the part of the representative of the current holder: a power of attorney from the current holder of the item of cultural value concerned or a formal document showing that the representative has power of disposal.
  • On the part of the former owner’s legal successors: a notarial certificate of inheritance, or documents showing that the applicants are rightful claimants with regard to the property of the former owner.

After the Committee has received the joint request from the parties with the enclosures, the Committee asks the Minister of OCW for consent to issue a binding opinion.

Reception Phase

The Restitutions Committee assesses whether the request for binding opinion can be dealt with. A letter describing the procedure.is then sent to the parties. In this letter any questions the Committee has are put to them.

Investigation Phase and Overview of the Facts

The Restitutions Committee may instruct the Second World War and Restitution Applications Expertise Centre (the Expertise Centre) to conduct an investigation into the relevant historical facts. This will be necessary for virtually all applications. In the investigation phase the Expertise Centre will first of all inventory the information submitted by the parties. In many cases it emerges that further historical and/or art historical research is needed in order to make it possible to answer questions relevant to giving a binding ruling. This concerns research in various archives in the Netherlands and other countries. Information about the original ownership situation, the nature and circumstances of the loss of possession, and the handling of any request submitted after the war for restitution is important.

The relevant information collected during the investigation phase is recorded in an overview of the facts prepared by the Expertise Centre that is sent to the parties for additional information. The Expertise Centre sends the overview of the facts to the Restitutions Committee after these additions have been incorporated.

You can find more information about the procedure followed by Restitutions Committee and the Expertise Centre here.

Analysis Phase

The Committee gives the parties the opportunity to respond to the overview of the facts and to express their points of view. In addition to the handling in writing, there will in principle also be a hearing in each case. The Committee may also ask the Expertise Centre to conduct further research if this is necessary for issuing a binding opinion. Before the Committee issues its binding opinion, it sends parties a draft, to which they can respond. After a binding opinion has been adopted, the Committee sends it directly to the parties.
This marks the end of the Committee’s task.