Matthias Withoos (circa 1627–1703),  "The Grashaven in Hoorn", after 1750; one of the paintings stolen from the Westfries Museum.

A treasure trove of Dutch art stolen from a provincial Dutch museum nearly 11 years ago has been linked to a nationalist militia in Ukraine, the museum has announced. 

The Westfries Museum in the northern town of Hoorn said that the 24 paintings taken in a burglary on 9 January 2005, along with 70 pieces of silverware are now being offered for sale in Ukraine. 

The museum, which wants to deter potential buyers, had an important message for the militia, which it said sought a €5m “finder’s fee” for the art: It is nowhere near as valuable as you think. 

Two representatives claiming to represent a militia of the Organisation of Ukrainian Nationalists contacted the Dutch Embassy in Kiev in July claiming to have the complete collection of stolen paintings. They showed a photo of one of the paintings alongside a current Ukrainian newspaper to back up their claim. 

The town of Hoorn then used a Dutch expert in stolen art to make contact with the group and offer compensation if the art were returned. At that point, the intermediaries said they wouldn’t settle for less than €5m (£3.6m). 


Jan Claesz Rietschoof, "View of Oostereiland", 1652-1719, one of the paintings stolen from the Westfries Museum

The art expert said that in their current condition the 24 paintings would be worth a combined total of no more than €500,000. 

The paintings include landscapes, naval scenes, and still life works, almost all of them dating back to the 17th century. In a statement, the museum alleged that the case involves “Ukrainian art criminals who have contacts on the highest political levels” in the country. 

The Dutch Foreign Minister, Bert Koenders, told national broadcaster NOS he had been in contact with Ukrainian political leaders about the case. 

We’ve brought this up at the highest level with the Ukrainians,” he said of the stolen art. “I believe that they are taking it very seriously. We are going to try to ensure it returns to the Westfries Museum.” AP.


Jacob Waben, "Lady World", 1622, one of the paintings stolen from the Westfries Museum.

The museum has put a list of the missing paintings, drawings and print on its website: http://www.wfm.nl/lijst.htm. Translated and alphabetized, the list reads as follows:


Hendrik Bogaert, Peasant wedding, 1671-1675
Steven van Duyven, Portrait of a lady, 1679
Steven van Duyven, Portrait of a gentleman, 1679
Jan van Goyen, Landscape with peasant wagon, 1632
Hendrik Heerschop, Landscape with the story of the Pharaoh’s cup, 1652
Claas van Heussen, Kitchen with cooking utensils, 1672
A second painting by the same master of the same subject, same date
Jan Linsen, Rebecca and Eliëzer, 1629
Claas Molenaer, Winter scene, 1647
Reinier Nooms, Seascape with ships, 1640-1668
Izaak Ouwater, The Nieuwstraat in Hoorn, 1784
Egbert Lievens van de Poel, Interior, 1620-1653
Gerrit Pompe, View of Enkhuizen
Jan Claesz. Rietschoof, View of Oostereiland, 1652-1719
Salomon Rombouts, Winter scene, 1670-1700
Henrik Savrij, View of Andijk, ca. 1900
Floris van Schooten, Kitchen piece, 17th century
Jacob Waben, The return of Jephthah, 1625
Jacob Waben, Lady World, 1622
Matthias Withoos, The Grashaven in Hoorn, after 1750
A second painting by the same master of the same subject, same date

Drawings and aquarelles

J. Groot, Surgeon, ca. 1850
Herman Henstenburgh (1680-1726), Still-life
Still-life with memento mori, 1698


Print after David Teniers, A quack, 1766