A while ago, the Amsterdam Allard Pierson Museum hosted a brilliant exhibition. It was called “The Crimea, gold and secrets of the Black Sea”. The Amsterdam museum worked with several museums located in the Crimea and precious pieces went to Amsterdam. On visiting this exhibition, my friends and I were thoroughly impressed.
Then tragedy struck: an invasion, a war, an annexation. Russia demanded the archeological finds, the stunning artefacts, all had to be returned – to Russia. The Dutch, the Ukrainian museums which owned the finds, before the Crimea was annexed, the Russian occupiers, the parties got locked into a legal battle. Who owned the exhibits and to whom should the treasures be returned.
The museums which had worked together to create the fabulous exhibition feared, the Russian occupiers were totally not interested in the artefacts as archeological finds, remnants of a Crimean culture, as art. The Allard Pierson and the Crimean museums feared certain finds might get “lost” and melted down.
The news was announced today, that a Dutch court had ruled. The Crimean treasures must be returned to the Ukrainian State. The UK Guardian already reported the court’s decision. The Allard Pierson posted a press release on its website.
The verdict does not mean the artefacts will automatically be returned today. It is expected there will be appeals – what with Russia involved in such things as invading neighbours and shooting passenger aircrafts from the sky unpunished. So for the time being, the Allard Pierson Museum will continue to store the artefacts till appeals have been dealt with.