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January 29, 2005

The Netherlands - Where 'hot' art goes to cool off

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Did you know that in the Netherlands, thieves become the legal owners of stolen private art after 20 years?

And if it was stolen from a publicly-owned museum, legal title is acquired after 30 years.

No wonder the Netherlands is the world's depot for stolen art.

Julian Radcliffe, director of the London-based Art Loss Register, said art stolen from eastern Europe (Scandinavia, Germany and Russia) often ends up in the Netherlands because of the Dutch statute of limitations.

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But before you start planning your sequel to "The Thomas Crown Affair" or "The Good Thief," stop and think for a moment how long 20 or 30 years is.

From 1985 until now is the period during which you'd have had to have been sitting quietly, waiting to put your new property on the market.

And if you took it from a state-owned museum, well, then you'd have been waiting since 1975.

That's a long time to wait and worry if perhaps the police will break down your door any moment, sending you to prison for what will seem far longer.

Me, I'd rather sit here eating a Tootsie Roll Pop, innocent as a newborn lamb, and not worry about stuff like the police.

But hey, maybe that's just me.

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Full disclosure: it's an orange one.

January 29, 2005 at 02:01 PM | Permalink


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