The Supreme Court of the Netherlands upheld the Amsterdam Court of Appeal decision that the Allard Pierson Museum must hand over the Crimean Treasures to the state of Ukraine. This collection of archaeological artifacts had been on display at the museum when Russia annexed Crimea in 2014, and both Ukraine and museums in Russian-controlled Crimea had demanded the objects back. This is the final judgment in the appeal that was lodged against a judgment of the Amsterdam District Court of 14 December 2016. The hearing on 9 June 2023 was widely reported in the media.
The ‘Crimea - The Golden Island in the Black Sea’ exhibition project was organized in 2013 with the participation of four museums located in Crimea and one in Kiev. The objects were exhibited in the Allard Pierson Museum from 6 February to 31 August 2014. When Russia annexed Crimea in March 2014, the Crimean museums terminated relations with the Ministry of Culture of Ukraine and Ukrainian institutions. Pending a final judgment on the two conflicting claims for the return of the artefacts, the Allard Pierson Museum has ensured the safe storage of the objects.
“It is great that this precarious legal matter has been resolved," says Supreme Court litigation partner Freerk Vermeulen, who represented the Allard Pierson Museum together with Paul Loeb and Bjarni Schim. "The Supreme Court affirms that a Ukrainian ministerial order to hand over these artifacts to the National History Museum in Kyiv pending stabilisation of the situation in Crimea strikes a fair balance between the rights of the museums in Crimea and the interests of the Ukrainian State in protecting its cultural heritage.”