Restitution procedure for the National Art Collection

If you wish to seek restitution of an artwork in the National Art Collection or request a factual report, follow the procedure below.

Submit a restitution request

Restitution requests can be sent by letter to the Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands. Address the letter to:Minister of Education, Culture and Science
Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands
Postbus 1600
3800 BP Amersfoort
The Netherlands

  1. In your letter, provide the following information:
    • particulars of the artwork (at least: title, artist and current location or inventory number, and preferably also a description)
    • name of the individual who was involuntarily dispossessed of the work during the Nazi regime
    • your relationship to this individual (familial and/or in the context of inheritance)
      ​If you have appointed an authorized representative, this party must be able to produce a written authorization, unless your authorized representative is registered as a lawyer in the Netherlands.
  2. The Cultural Heritage Agency will verify whether the work is part of the National Art Collection and if the request for restitution falls under the restitution policy. It will also determine if the work merits protection within the meaning of the Dutch Heritage Act. In that case, the Agency may ask the Heritage Protection Assessment Committee to make a recommendation, which will be sent to the Restitutions Committee. See: Vervreemdingsprocedure.
  3. If the work is part of the National Art Collection and the request falls under the restitution policy, the Cultural Heritage Agency will forward the request to the Restitutions Committee.
  4. The Restitutions Committee may then engage the Centre of Expertise for the Restitution of Cultural Goods and the Second World War to carry out an investigation into the relevant historical facts and issue a factual report.
  5. After this, the Restitutions Committee can initiate advisory proceedings. The Restitutions Committee weighs the findings of the factual report and any other documents presented. It formulates its recommendation in keeping with the standards of justness and fairness.
  6. The Restitutions Committee issues its recommendation to the Cultural Heritage Agency.
  7. The Cultural Heritage Agency marginal assesses that the Restitutions Committee has observed the policy framework. The final decision is taken by the minister of Education, Culture and Science.
  8. In the event of a decision wholly or partly in favour of the applicant, the Cultural Heritage Agency will handle all further steps. This includes engaging a civil-law notary to ascertain the entire group of rights holders (this can be a lengthy process, particularly if there are many potential rights holders who have to be traced or live abroad), transportation from the museum (or other location) to the Cultural Heritage Agency’s storage site, preparation of a condition report and transportation from the storage site to a location designated by the heirs. All the associated costs are borne by the Dutch government.

Submit an investigation request

If you want to request an investigation and a factual report by the Centre of Expertise, you can do so by sending a letter to the Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands. Address the letter to: 

Minister of Education, Culture and Science
Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands
Postbus 1600
3800 BP Amersfoort
The Netherlands

  1. In your letter, provide the following information:
    • particulars of the artwork (at least: title, artist and current location or inventory number, and preferably also a description)
    • name of the individual who was involuntarily dispossessed of the work during the Nazi regime
    • your relationship to this individual (familial and/or in the context of inheritance)
      If you have appointed an authorized representative, this party must be able to produce a written authorization, unless your authorized representative is registered as a lawyer in the Netherlands.
  2. The Cultural Heritage Agency will verify whether the work is part of the National Art Collection and if the request falls under the restitution policy.
  3. If the work is part of the National Art Collection and the request falls under the restitution policy, the Cultural Heritage Agency will forward the request to secretary of the Restitutions Committee. In these cases the secretary is the minister’s authorized representative and is not employed by the Restitutions Committee.
  4. The secretary instructs the Centre of Expertise to carry out an investigation into the relevant historical facts and issue a factual report.
  5. The Centre of Expertise sends the factual report to the secretary, who forwards it to the applicant and present possessor.
  6. If after this the applicant still wishes to pursue restitution, the Cultural Heritage Agency presents the request for restitution to the Restitutions Committee.

This procedure does not apply to museums wishing further to investigate their collection, nor does it apply to files on which the Restitutions Committee has already issued a recommendation.