(Image: collection Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam) 

The New York Times published an article on the report of the Kohnstamm Committee and asked Gert Jan van den Bergh for his view on the matter. He states that the State of The Netherlands, museums and applicants should jointly strive for a “process of truth finding”. The report of the Kohnstamm Committee advises the Dutch government to abandon the ‘balance of interest’-test used since 2015 for recuperated artworks that are to be restituted. The Committee considers it undesirable to weigh the interests of the museum as possessors over the interests of the person claiming restitution of an artwork.

The report follows after (international) criticism on the Dutch approach of the restitution of Nazi looted art. The ‘balance of interest’-test has been a debated topic since 2007, but only led to widespread anger in Dutch media after comments by Bergh Stoop & Sanders and an intense debate at a major conference on restitution in Berlin in 2018. Reference is made to an article previously published by Gert-Jan van den Bergh in Dutch Newspaper NRC.

For more information, see the article in The New York Times.