Amsterdam District Administrative Court on 14 December ruled that the Crimean museums exhibits from the “Crimea – the golden island in the Black Sea” collection (the so-called “Scythian gold”) should be given back to Ukraine.
The court in Amsterdam decided on December 14 that Crimea was not a sovereign country and so could not claim the treasures as cultural heritage.
Kiev and four museums in Crimea have been wrangling over the fate of the archeological treasures ever since Russia seized control of the Ukrainian peninsula in March 2014.
The pieces from the Crimean museums with an insurance value of more than €1 mln, were presented at the exhibition hosted by the Allard Pierson Museum, the archaeological museum of the University of Amsterdam, from February to August 2014. Uncertainty arose after Crimea reunited with Russia in early 2014. Moscow and Kiev both laid claims to the precious pieces.
In this regard, the University of Amsterdam suspended the return procedure until the dispute was resolved on legal grounds or the parties came to terms.
Crimea’s representatives have said on various occasions that they have every right to claim the artefacts since they all had been unearthed on Crimean territory and had been kept in Crimea’s museums.
But Kiev argued that the country of origin is Ukraine and that state property should not repatriated to territory now outside of the government’s control.
The artifacts, including pots, gold leaf and other objects, date back more than 2,000 years.