The Dutch Restitutions Committee (Dutch: Restitutiecommissie) was established in 2001 to deal with claims for the restitution of Nazi-era looted works of art to their original owners or their descendants. The rulings of the committee have been controversial with some restitution advocates arguing that they are unfair to claimants.
Of the five international Restitution Committees that exist (UK, France, Austria & Germany) the Dutch Restitution Committee has the lowest restitution rate, returning only about one third of the artworks claimed. Recently the Restitution Committee introduced the controversial Balance of Interest test, which takes into consideration the desire of the (typically government owned) museum to keep a looted artwork, rather than return it to the rightful claimants. This resulted in the Committee's refusal to restitute a number of important artworks and led to international criticism at what many viewed as a self-serving mechanism. Ambassador Stuart Eisenstadt, the author of the Washington Principles, recently indicated at an international conference in Berlin, that the "Balance of Interest test in not in accordance with the Washington Principles" and indicated that this mechanism should no longer be used.
In 2020 a Dutch panel concluded that the restitution process was unduly complex and unfair to claimants. Taco Dibbits, the director of the Rijksmuseum, denounced the "balance of interest" policy to abicycle thief who argues that he should be able to keep stolen property because he's using it.
- 2001‒2004: J. M. Polak
- 2004‒2007: B. J. Asscher
- 2007‒2008: R. Herrmann
- 2009‒2016: W. J. M. Davids
- 2016–present: A. Hammerstein
- "The Restitutions Committee". Lootedart.com. Retrieved 21 December 2018.
- Ministerie van Volksgezondheid, Welzijn en Sport (20 October 2011). "Restitution - Second World War - Government.nl". Government.nl. Retrieved 21 December 2018.
- Boffey, Daniel (5 December 2018). "Dutch art panel's ruling against Jewish family criticised as 'step back'". Theguardian.com. Retrieved 21 December 2018.
- "Dutch policy on Nazi-loot restitutions under fire". Theartnewspaper.com. Retrieved 21 December 2018.
- Siegal, Nina (2020-12-07). "Dutch Panel for Looted Art Claims Must Change Course, Report Finds". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2022-07-01.
- Official website
- 2008 Report of the Advisory Committee on the Assessment of Restitution Application for items of Cultural Value and the Second World War
- Are the Dutch Lagging in Efforts to Return Art Looted by the Nazis?, 2017, New York Times
- From “Leader to Pariah”? On the Dutch Restitutions Committee and the inclusion of the public interest in assessing Nazi-spoliated art claims, International Journal of Cultural Property, Volume 28 , Issue 1 , February 2021 , pp. 55 - 85