Final decision: ‘Scythian Gold’ to be returned to Ukraine

The Supreme Court of the Netherlands has made a final decision in the dispute over the so-called “Scythian gold.” The collection of museum treasures will be returned to Ukraine. The legal process lasted for nine years.

The artifacts from Crimean museums were taken for an exhibition in the Netherlands at the end of 2013, before the annexation of the peninsula by Russia. After the exhibition, a dispute arose over where the collection should be returned—to the occupied peninsula or to the territory under Ukrainian control.

Since then, the valuables have been kept in the Allard Pierson Museum in Amsterdam. Ukraine and representatives of the four Crimean museums have demanded their return through legal proceedings.

Central Museum of Tauris, National Preserve of Tauric Chersonesos, Kerch History and Culture reserve and Bakhchisaray State Historical-Cultural Museum-Reserve.

In October 2021, the Court of Appeals in Amsterdam decided to return the collection to Ukraine. Today, the decision has been finally approved. “This dispute is concluded. The Allard Pierson Museum must transfer the art treasures to the state of Ukraine, not the museums of Crimea,” ruled the Supreme Court of the Netherlands.

The collection of “Scythian gold” consists of two thousand items dating from the 6th century BCE to the 7th century CE. Among them are ceremonial helmets, precious gemstones, ancient swords, and more. According to the court’s decision, the collection will be transferred to the National Museum of History of Ukraine in Kyiv.


The Scythian golden helmet, one of the exhibits at the exhibition in Amsterdam. Photo: Wikimedia Commons / VoidWanderer

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