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Long-awaited victory: Amsterdam court rules that Scythian Gold must be returned to Ukraine

Scythian gold must be returned to Ukraine. Photo: Oleksandr Sinitsa / UNIAN

Scythian gold must be returned to Ukraine. Photo: Oleksandr Sinitsa / UNIAN

The Amsterdam Court of Appeal decided to return the items of the exhibition Crimea. Golden Island in the Black Sea, that is Scythian Gold, to the territory of the sovereign state of Ukraine. The President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy announced this on his Twitter page.

Quote"Long-awaited victory in the Amsterdam Court! Scythian Gold will return to Ukraine. I am grateful to the Court for a fair decision and to the teams of the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Ministry of Culture for the result. We always get ours back. First, we will return Scythian Gold and then the Crimea as well," Zelenskyy wrote.

However, it is worth noting that four Crimean museums—the Central Museum of Taurida, the Kerch Historical and Cultural Reserve, the Bakhchisarai Historical and Cultural Reserve, and the National Reserve Tauric Chersonesos—have the right to apply to the Supreme Court in Hague in the Netherlands to appeal the decision of the Amsterdam Court of Appeal.

Context. The collection of Scythian gold was brought to a museum in Amsterdam for an exhibition even before the occupation of the peninsula by Russia. In December 2016, the District Court of Amsterdam made a decision to return exhibits from Crimean museums to Ukraine. The decision was made on the basis of the UNESCO convention, according to which artistic values must be returned to the sovereign state that had provided them for the temporary exhibition.

In the spring of 2017, Russia challenged this decision. On March 11, 2019, this case hearing began at the Amsterdam Court of Appeal.

The case involved more than 565 items from the museum fund of Ukraine that were located on the territory of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. These are mainly archaeological findings, the cost of the collection is about 10 million euros. Scythian Gold, while the judicial red tape is in process, is kept in the Allard Pierson Museum in Amsterdam.

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