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News — 19 Feb 2021

Today, Touria Meliani alderperson for Culture, has informed the Amsterdam city council that the city endorses the Kohnstamm Committee’s advice that the balance of interests test currently applied by the Restitutions Committee (RC) does not serve the restoration of rights. 

We are happy to hear this and fully support this conclusion. Like the city council, we acknowledge that a new assessment framework, as proposed by Kohnstamm and to be assessed by the minister of culture, shouldn’t only apply to new cases, but also to cases that have already been settled. 


Wassily Kandinsky, Bild mit Häusern, 1909. Collection Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam c/o Pictoright, Amsterdam 2004.
Wassily Kandinsky, Bild mit Häusern, 1909. Collection Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam c/o Pictoright, Amsterdam 2004.

This also concerns the painting Bild mit Häusern of Wassily Kandinsky, in our collection since 1940. In recent years, we researched the painful history of the painting’s provenance as thoroughly as possible. We submitted our findings to the RC, which then conducted its own extensive years-long research. We are aware that the RC’s decision to allow the museum to retain the painting is a disappointment to the heirs of the then owners, particularly as the ruling weighed the interests of the owner and the museum.

In light of this, the city will invite the claimants to petition the RC for a re-evaluation on the grounds of a new assessment framework. We fully support this move. And, as we did when we first presented the case to the RC, will of course accept the RC’s future ruling. 

We are aware that this painting will forever be tied to a painful history. It is imperative that the injustices and privations suffered by the Jewish community during the Second World War, are addressed. We consider it our job to offer full cooperation and transparency in the matter.