International Society of Primerus Law Firms

Symposium Art & Law, 27 November 2019

Russell Advocaten B.V.
Amsterdam, Netherlands

At the Art & Law symposium, Alexander Pechtold and Paul W.L. Russell addressed the list of protected cultural heritage in private ownership. What will the government do to make inclusion on this list less onerous for the owners of this cultural heritage?

Russell Advocaten organised a very successful symposium on the evaluation of the Heritage Act on 27 November. The main speaker was Alexander Pechtold, Chairman of the Advisory Committee for the Protection of Cultural Property, former minister and former leader of D66 in the House of Representatives. The room was full of participants who were very involved in the subject and asked many questions about the practical consequences of the report of the Advisory Committee for the Protection of Cultural Property. Maria Henneman of Henneman Strategies moderated the symposium.

Cultural Heritage Protection Act

Paul W.L. Russell, LL.M. was the first to speak. He addressed the evolution of the Cultural Heritage Protection Act to the current Cultural Heritage Act. Placing objects on a list of cultural objects that are not allowed to leave the Netherlands is a major invasion in the right of ownership. It is therefore good that the Pechtold Committee has addressed the question of compensation. Hopefully, the National Acquisition Fund will be sufficiently filled. 50 million euros for 2020 seems to be a lot, but is little for indispensable masterpieces, as can be seen from the purchase of Marten and Oopjen. What does Alexander Pechtold think of this?

PAN Amsterdam

 After this, the floor was given to Mark Grol, Managing Director of PAN Amsterdam. He was pleased to report that there had already been several large sales at the art fair and invited the guests of the symposium to visit this internationally renowned fair after the symposium.

Advisory Committee for the Protection of Cultural Property

Then, there was an opportunity to put questions to Alexander Pechtold, the chairman of the Advisory Committee for the Protection of Cultural Property. He briefly explained that the Committee’s aim was to make policies for better dealing with privately owned cultural heritage, so that incidents can be prevented. E.g. the commotion about Princess Christina’s sale of a drawing by Rubens.

The questions mainly concerned the inventory of privately owned art. Will the government visit private collectors to see what they have? Alexander Pechtold said that the emphasis at present is on formulating new policies on what really needs to be preserved and on the evaluation the existing list. It is too much based on hobby and lobby. His own research had shown that in the meantime works on the list had disappeared or been destroyed and that in other works the attribution could not be correct.

5th European Anti-Money Laundering Directive

In response to a question about delays in export licenses, Paul Russell pointed out that this was a consequence of increased customs control on transactions in the art trade. As from 1 January 2020, the 5th European Anti-Money Laundering Directive will be in force and seller and buyer will be screened in non-cash transactions from € 10.000.

More information

Do you have any questions about the advice of the Pechtold Committee? Or do you need legal assistance in a matter concerning art? Please contact Paul W.L. Russell ( or +31 20 301 55 55).


The general information contained herein is intended for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be, and should not be construed as, legal advice or legal opinion on any specific facts or circumstances.

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