Supreme Court of the Netherlands Ruled to Return "Scythian Gold" to Ukraine

Friday, 9 June 2023

The Netherlands Supreme Court has ruled that the "Scythian gold," which has been the subject of legal disputes in the Netherlands for years, must be returned to Ukraine.

The Supreme Court upheld the Amsterdam Court of Appeal decision in October 2021.

"The Supreme Court dismissed the cassation appeal of the 'Crimean museums,' thus upholding the court's decision (of the Amsterdam Court of Appeal). It remains in force," the ruling stated.

The Allard Pierson Museum in Amsterdam received the objects on temporary loan from four museums in Crimea in 2014. When Russia annexed the peninsula, it became unclear to whom these items should be returned: the museums in occupied Crimea or Ukraine.

On December 14, 2016, the Amsterdam court decided to return the "Scythian gold" to Ukraine, but in January 2017, the Crimean museums began appealing the decision. The Amsterdam court ruled in favour of Ukraine in 2021.

"The Crimean museums" appealed to the Supreme Court, which ruled on June 9 that the treasures are a cultural heritage of entire Ukraine. Now, with the Supreme Court's decision, the dispute has finally come to an end.

"The Supreme Court's decision puts an end to this dispute. The Allard Pierson Museum must transfer the artistic valuables to the state of Ukraine, not the Crimean museums," the court ruling stated.

In February 2014, the "Scythian Gold" collection was taken to Amsterdam for the "Crimea: Gold and Secrets of the Black Sea" exhibition at the Pierson Museum.

The exhibition consists of collections from five museums, one located in Kyiv and four in Crimea. Among the 500 exhibits of the exhibition are artifacts made of Scythian gold, ceremonial helmets, precious stones, and ancient Greek and Scythian swords.

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