Netherlands Embassy in Kiev, Ukraine

Ukraine returns stolen paintings to Westfries Museum

The Ukrainian authorities returned five Dutch paintings to the Westfries Museum on Friday. The handover took place at the Dutch Embassy in Kyiv. Museum director Ad Geerdink was there to receive the artworks in person.

The works are part of a collection of 24 paintings stolen in 2005 from the museum in the Dutch town of Hoorn. Silver artefacts were also taken in the course of the same break-in.

'I’m happy that the five paintings have been given back,’ said Dutch foreign minister Bert Koenders on Friday. ‘This took a lot of work to achieve. Thanks to our joint work with the Ukrainian authorities, the paintings can now return to the Netherlands. I hope that the 19 paintings that are still missing will be back on display at the Westfries Museum as soon as possible.’

The five paintings that were returned on Friday were found in Ukraine in spring 2016. The painters and titles are: Jacob Waben, Vrouw Wereld (Lady World), 1622 and Terugkeer van Jefta (The Return of Jephta), 1625; Floris van Schooten, Keukenstuk (Kitchen Scene), 17th century; Hendrick Boogaert, Boerenbruiloft (A Peasant Wedding), 1671-1675 and Izaak Ouwater, Nieuwstraat in Hoorn, 1784.

It’s still not clear where the other paintings are and how long it will take to recover them.