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Collectie NIOD, Beeldbank WO2, nummer 5222

Expert Centre Restitution

The Expert Centre Restitution (ECR) conducts independent, impartial research – both autonomously and on commission – into the loss of cultural goods under the Nazi regime and into restitution. The ECR investigates individual restitution applications at the request of the Restitution Committee and the Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands. With its independent fundamental scientific research, the ECR contributes to the advancement of knowledge in relation to theft, restitution and provenance research.

Investigating individual applications for restitution

The ECR conducts independent and impartial investigations into the historical facts in individual restitution cases. ECR conducts this investigation at the request of the advisory committee on requests for the restitution of cultural goods and the Second World War (Restitution Committee), for the purpose of assessing individual restitution applications. The ECR may also conduct such research if the current possessor of a cultural object and the person seeking restitution jointly request it. In this case, the investigation takes place at the request of the Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands

Fundamental research and capacity building

In addition to restitution research, ECR staff carry out innovative academic research in the field of the history and topicality of art theft and restitution. This research focuses in particular on the persecution of Jews and World War II, but can also shed light on other periods and contexts, such as colonialism and international heritage politics. The ECR does this within the NIOD in cooperation with the Core Team Property Loss and Restitution, and outside with numerous external partners including museums, archives, universities and research institutes.

In addition, ECR focuses on capacity building and knowledge-sharing with the field, for example by providing university teaching in the Restitution Studies specialisation within the Heritage and Memory Studies master's programme at the University of Amsterdam.

More information:

  • The Restitution Committee (the advisory committee on requests for the restitution of cultural goods and the Second World War), which was established by the State Secretary for Education, Culture and Science in 2001, makes recommendations with regard to individual restitution requests.
  • The Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands is the first point of contact for both original owners and their heirs and collection managers for questions on restitution policy, restitution procedures and provenance research.
  • The provenance of the objects in the Nederlands Kunstbezit-collectie (recovered objects managed by the State of the Netherlands) was investigated. Information on the objects can be accessed via the website Herkomst Gezocht.
  • Some Dutch museums have conducted research into the provenance of works of art in their collections. The Museums Association (Museumvereniging) provides information about this research at the website Museale Verwervingen vanaf 1933. The website also displays artworks that may have been involuntarily lost as a result of the Nazi regime.
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