Dutch Royals to Restitute a Nazi-Looted 17th Century Painting

King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands, Queen Maxima, and their three daughters.
image: APF / Carl Court via ABC News

The Dutch Royal family has announced plans to return a painting which hung at the royal private residence in the Hague to its rightful Jewish owners, the BBC reports.

The 17th century artwork by Joris van der Haagen is thought to have been looted by the Nazis during World War II. Queen Juliana, the king’s grandmother, acquired the painting in 1960 from a well-known Dutch art dealer whose identity hasn’t been made public.

The Royal family is following the example of public museums in the Netherlands, which have long volunteered to have their collections investigated.

King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima enlisted private researchers in 2013 to scan their collection for looted artworks, who then found The Hague Woods with a view of the Huis ten Bosch Palace by van der Haagen.

<i>The Hague Forest with a View of Huis ten Bosch Palace</i> by 17th century Dutch master Joris van der Haagen. <br> Image: via BBC

The Hague Forest with a View of Huis ten Bosch Palace by 17th century Dutch master Joris van der Haagen.
Image: via Wikimedia Commons

The Wall Street Journal reports that investigators examined tens of thousands of artworks in the House of Orange’s collection.

The heirs of the unnamed original owner have been contacted to arrange the painting’s restitution.

Back in 1997, a committee led by art historian Rudi Ekkart picked up investigations left by the so-called Monuments Men. The Monuments Men—some 400 Allied researchers who attempted preliminary investigations into artworks displaced in Europe during World War II— were unable to find many of the rightful owners.

In 2013, the committee completed an initiative that helped 162 Dutch museums digitize their records and search their collections for looted art, posting their findings online.

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