Cultural goods Second World War

This portal contains information on the characteristics, restitution status and provenance of cultural goods from World War II (defined as the period from 1933-1945). The information provided here comes from the databases of the Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands (RCE). You are free to search through three collections:.

You can search through three collections:

NK Collection

During the Second World War, tens of thousands of items of cultural value from the Netherlands ended up in Germany. Some were sold, more or less forcibly, but others were simply stolen, looted or confiscated. A proportion of these works were returned to the Netherlands after the war and became part of the national art collection. Up until the 1950s, many works were returned to their rightful owners. After that, some of the remainder were sold. Those left in state hands became known as the NK Collection, after Nederlands Kunstbezit (Netherlands Art Property), a foundation established in 1945. This collection consists of paintings, works on paper and works of applied art, such as furniture and ceramics.

Museum Acquisitions

In 2009, Dutch museums were asked to investigate the provenance history of their collections. Following research done by 163 museums, a list was drawn up of 173 objects suspected of having been looted, confiscated or sold under duress between 1933 and 1945. The Dutch Museums Association coordinated the project, a committee focusing on museum acquisitions from 1933 onwards (commissie 'Museale Verwervingen vanaf 1933') supervised the content and the Netherlands Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (OCW) provided financial support. The research project was formally concluded at the end of 2018.

Unreturned artworks

Anyone who had lost artworks during the German occupation or who had information about artworks that had fallen into enemy hands was obliged to report it by filling in a form and submitting it to the SNK. These forms are kept at the National Archives. The total number adds up to around 15,000 forms and 2,000 object photos. All of these were digitized and largely made searchable by the National Archives in 2015. This project was supported by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science and the US organization Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.

How to search

All information in this portal is freely searchable. For example, it is possible to search by the name of an original owner or a collector. You can also filter by items’ key characteristics, such as the maker or the materials used. Or by specific advices issued by the Restitutions Committee, so that all items related to a recommendation can be viewed.

Want to know more about restitution policy or submit an application?

You can learn more about the Netherlands' restitution policy and how to submit an application for restitution.