Publication date: 27 January 2020
Minister Van Engelshoven has reacted to the report of Pechtold Committee. The government wants to tighten its hold on the art market and privately owned art, while it is still unclear whether and how private owners will be compensated for this.
The Pechtold Committee made several proposals, on the one hand to keep important cultural property in the Netherlands and on the other hand to compensate the private owners thereof. Meanwhile, the Minister for Culture, Education and Science Van Engelshoven has reacted to these proposals. What do art dealers, auction houses and private owners of works of art have to take into account?
The most important instrument to keep privately owned cultural heritage in the Netherlands is the designation as indispensable and irreplaceable cultural property. In practice, this means that cultural goods are placed on a list of objects that are not allowed to leave the Netherlands. This list is rather static.
Currently, the new objects are only designated if they are in danger of being taken outside the Netherlands. This reserved designation policy has been ceased with immediate effect. This will undoubtedly be detrimental to the Dutch art trade as the designation criteria in the Heritage Act are in fact very broadly formulated.
A new advisory committee has to ensure greater clarity, but it will take some time before the new designation criteria are drawn up and can be applied. Until then there will be extra uncertainty for the Dutch art trade and for owners of cultural goods. The latter will probably wait to sell before there is more clarity about the interpretation of the new designation criteria.
Until the standing advisory committee is in place, ad hoc committees will assess applications for the export of works of art. In practice, this means that export procedures, especially for art in the more expensive segment, will take even longer. This will be highly detrimental to Dutch art dealers. It will make it more difficult for them to serve an international market. After all, in order to avoid the risk of designation, private owners of art will take the works of art they intend to sell abroad and have them sold by foreign art dealers. Or they will wait with the sale until there is more clarity about the new designation criteria.
The National Acquisition Fund will not be filled in excess of the EUR 50 million planned for 2020. This means in practice that it will not be possible to keep the real masterpieces for the Netherlands. In view of the prices on the international art market and the obligation to buy cultural objects at the prevailing price on the international art market, this ‘war chest’ is too small. The proposal of shared ownership of works of art will not lead to a major change in this respect. The only consequences of this policy, therefore, are unnecessary export delays and needless litigation.
The Minister has not yet made any concrete commitments about the compensation and support of owners of designated cultural property. It is still a case of “engaging in conversation”, “exploring” and a reference to already existing favourable arrangements for art owners.
The government wants to tighten its hold on the art market and privately owned art, while it is still unclear whether and how private owners will be compensated for this. It would have been better if there had first been clarity about the designation criteria and compensation arrangements before the government can intervene so radically in the property rights of art owners.
Do you want to learn more about the new designation policy for cultural property? Follow our blogs on the Heritage Act. Or do you need legal assistance in issues involving art? Please contact us via the form below or contact Paul W.L. Russell, LL.M. (firstname.lastname@example.org or 020-301 55 55).
The Advisory Committee for the Protection of Cultural Property (also referred to Pechtold Committee) presented its advice to the Minister of Culture on 30 September 2019. What are the consequences, among others for art dealers, collectors and foundations?read on
Russell Advocaten has for the 17th consecutive year in a row been included in The Legal 500. We are pleased with the recognition for the quality of our legal services by experts and clients. Please read what they say about us:read on
The Dutch restitution policy returns to its original principles and is rightly becoming more generous. Cases that have already been settled can also be resubmitted. What will change in the policy?read on
The sale of a drawing by Rubens, owned by Princess Christina, at an auction in New York caused great indignation and a discussion about the policy for cultural heritage in the Netherlands. This resulted in two advice committees, the Pechtold Committee and the Buma Committee. The latter has issued an interim opinion, that, if adopted, could have serious consequences for art collectors and art dealers in the Netherlands.read on
Russell Advocaten noticed in its proceedings before the Dutch Restitutions Committee that the committee increasingly attached importance to the interest of the current owners. This is contrary to the Washington Principles. The committee appointed to evaluate Dutch restitution policy agrees with us in its “Striving for Justice” report.read on
Even if the Restitutions Committee recommends to return looted art, it is not certain that the work of art will actually return to its rightful claimants. It could be that the work of art is irreplaceable and indispensable to Dutch cultural heritage and may not leave the Netherlands.read on
At the online symposium of the Vereniging Kunst Cultuur Recht on the Heritage Act and the protection of cultural goods, Paul W.L. Russell, LL.M. threw a few stones into the pond. How useful are protective measures to keep cultural heritage in the Netherlands without making underlying purchase funds directly available? Is the designation procedure necessary?read on