You have received a restitution application for an artwork, for example a painting that is hanging in your museum or is in your private collection. If you want the restitution application to be investigated and assessed by the Restitutions Committee, you can request a binding opinion. Below there is a description of the steps that have to be taken when submitting such a request. There is also a short checklist on the right-hand side of the page.

Before you take any action to find a solution, you need to establish who actually owns the artwork whose restitution is being requested. If an artwork has been in the museum’s collection for decades, it might for instance be the property of the Dutch State, a local authority or a province. So first of all check carefully who currently owns the artwork and whether you are authorized to submit a restitution application to the Committee.

If the artwork concerned is in the Dutch National Art Collection, you can contact the RCE.

The binding opinion procedure is voluntary. This means that the party applying for restitution and you, as owner or the owner’s authorized representative, must decide to involve the Restitutions Committee. Both parties must state beforehand that they accept the opinion to be issued by the Restitutions Committee as binding and the regulations. It is therefore important to reach agreement about this.

Together with the other party, ask the Restitutions Committee for an investigation and a binding opinion. To that end send the Restitutions Committee a letter signed by you as the owner of the claimed artwork (or as the owner’s authorized representative) and by the representative of the party applying for restitution. Both parties can also submit separate requests by means of two separate letters.

The letter or letters must clearly state the following : 

  • which artwork is concerned;
  • where the artwork is (which museum/which collection);
  • who the parties are (on the one hand the current owner, for example a foundation or a provincial/local authority, and on the other the party claiming the work of art on the grounds of former ownership);
  • who the representatives of the two parties are and their contact details (for example a museum director could be the authorized representative of the current owner, and a representative of the family could represent the former owner).

You can use sample letters from each party separately or both parties together to submit a request for a binding opinion from the Committee. 

The Committee will then give you more information about the procedure to be followed.