Objects from Crimea to be returned to Ukraine

University of Amsterdam

The disputed objects from Crimea, which have been held since 2014 by the Allard Pierson – the Collections of the University of Amsterdam, must be handed over to the State of Ukraine. This was determined by the Amsterdam Court of Appeal in its judgment of 26 October 2021.

The Allard Pierson is pleased that a verdict has been reached and that another step has been taken towards the eventual completion of this case. After Crimea was split from Ukraine in March 2014, both the State of Ukraine and four Crimean museums claimed the disputed objects. Pending a (final) judgment in the case, the Allard Pierson has since ensured the safe storage of the objects.

The Allard Pierson has no opinion on the decision of the court that the objects should be handed over to to the State of Ukraine. A possible appeal to the Supreme Court against the decision of the Court of Appeal is still pending.

Disputed Objects

The case revolves around the question of whether the objects exhibited at the Allard Pierson in 2014 should be returned to four museums in Crimea or to the State of Ukraine.

In December 2016, the Amsterdam district court ruled (in Dutch) that the Allard Pierson must hand over the disputed objects to the State of Ukraine. The Crimean museums appealed that ruling.

In an interlocutory judgment, the Court of Appeal ruled that the Allard Pierson acted lawfully by storing the disputed objects in 2014 pending a final verdict in the legal proceedings. According to the Court of Appeal, the Allard Pierson ‘could not reasonably judge which of the candidates was the due creditor.’

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