Restitution procedures for cultural goods in possession of the Dutch State

Do you wish to seek restitution of a cultural good in possession by the Dutch State, investigate its origins first, or maybe have an earlier decision reconsidered? Please follow the procedures below.

In the period prior to and during the Second World War, cultural goods were looted, confiscated, sold under duress or otherwise involuntarily taken from people who were persecuted by the Nazi regime. Under the restitution policy, the original owner or their heir can submit a request for return of these objects. This is known as a request for restitution.

Who possesses the cultural good?

In order to submit a request for restitution, the first thing to establish is whether the cultural good is in possession of the Dutch State. This is not always immediately clear: if for instance an object is held in a museum, this does not necessarily mean that the museum itself is the possessor. It may also be on loan from the Dutch government, from a private party or from a local authority. You can find this out by consulting the details of the cultural good in the databases of of, or if necessary by contacting the museum or the institution where the object is currently located.

Various requests possible

Are you submitting a request for a cultural good in possession of the Dutch State? Then the State Secretary of Culture and Media (OCW) will obtain a recommendation on this matter from the Advisory Committee on the Assessment of Restitution Applications for Items of Cultural Value and the Second World War (known as the Restitutions Committee). The Restitutions Committee operates independently of the Ministry. In addition, prior to any request for restitution, you can ask for an investigation to be carried out. If an earlier request for restitution has been denied, you can submit a request for reconsideration of the decision by the State Secretary of Culture and Media (OCW).

Below you will find a step-by-step explanation of the procedures for each type of request.

Submit a request for restitution of a cultural good in possession of the Dutch State

Submit a request for research prior to a (possible) request for restitution

Request reconsideration of a recommendation

Procedure after granting of a request for restitution