Supreme Court: Objects from Crimea to be returned to Ukraine

On 9 June 2023, the Supreme Court of the Netherlands ruled that the Amsterdam Court of Appeal correctly applied the law in the case involving the disputed objects from Crimean. The objects must be handed over to the state of Ukraine as determined by the Court of Appeal in its judgment of 26 October 2021.

The Allard Pierson can now act in accordance with the ruling of the Supreme Court. After Crimea was split from Ukraine in March 2014, both the state of Ukraine and the museums in Crimea laid claim to the objects. While awaiting the final judgment from the court, the Allard Pierson has ensured the safe storage of the objects in the Netherlands.

Crimean objects

The case revolves around the question of whether the objects exhibited at the Allard Pierson in 2014 should be returned to four museums in Crimea or to the state of Ukraine.

In December 2016, the Court of Amsterdam ruled that Allard Pierson must hand over the objects to the state of Ukraine. The Crimean museums appealed this ruling.

In its interim judgment, the Court of Appeal ruled that Allard Pierson had acted lawfully by having the objects in question stored in 2014 pending a final judgment in the legal proceedings. According to the court, Allard Pierson ’could not reasonably assess which of the candidates was the due creditor.’

In its final judgment of 26 October 2021 , the Amsterdam Court of Appeal ruled that the objects from Crimea, which have been carefully preserved in the Netherlands since 2014, should be handed over to the state of Ukraine.