The art that was stolen in 2005 from the Westfries Museum in Hoorn is located in Ukraine. All attempts to recover the 17th century paintings and bring them back to Hoorn have failed, however. Contact with the present owners of the stolen art, as well as diplomatic efforts on the highest levels have not amounted to anything. Because the collection may be on the brink of being sold to others and because it is in a steadily deteriorating condition, Hoorn is now looking for publicity on a national as well as international scale to deter potential buyers and to expose the practices of the Ukrainian art criminals who have contacts on the highest political levels.
On the night of January 9, 2005, 24 paintings and 70 pieces of silverware, the heart of the 17th and 18th century collection, were stolen from the Westfries Museum during a burglary. For years, the municipality of Hoorn had been hoping that the paintings and silver would resurface when last year, one of the stolen paintings first appeared on a Ukrainian website. In July 2015, two individuals reported to the Dutch embassy in Kiev who said that they represented a Ukrainian volunteer battalion. This OUN militia claimed to have the complete collection of stolen paintings from the Westfries Museum in their possession. A photo showing one of the paintings accompanied by a current Ukrainian newspaper was presented as proof for this claim.
The militia stated that it was prepared to hand over the paintings to the Netherlands on certain conditions, one of which was that the Ukrainian authorities were not to be involved.
After the embassy informed the Dutch police and justice department, they decided to offer the municipality of Hoorn the opportunity to contact the owners of the stolen art themselves. Because the municipality of Hoorn had no experience in such matters, they decided to bring in Mr. Arthur Brand who specializes in art crimes and tracking down stolen art.
Wrong value expectations
Brand noticed during the initial interactions that the present owners had a completely unrealistic idea of the value of the stolen paintings. They estimated the value at 50 million euros. Brand presented a research report to his Ukrainian contacts that showed that, based on recent auction proceeds of comparable works of the same painters, the entire collection should be estimated at a minimum of 250,000 euros and a maximum of 1.3 million euros, if in good condition. Because the latter did not appear to be the case, he estimated the current market value at no more than 500,000 euros. On behalf of the municipality of Hoorn, Brand offered the militia a compensation, but received no response to the offer. The other party contended that a 5 million euro finder’s fee was in order and would not settle for less
whereupon the municipality urged the ministry of Foreign Affairs to attempt to expedite the case along diplomatic channels. Talks on the highest political levels were held but to no avail. At present, there are serious indications that the current owners of the stolen art are attempting to sell it to others. Further research by Brand shows that other highly placed individuals are operating behind the scenes of the volunteer battalion. The stolen art is used as a pawn in a non-transparent Ukrainian political arena riddled with internal power struggles, favouritism and corruption.
Sounding the alarm
The Westfries Museum has but one interest: to return the looted art to Hoorn as soon as possible before the collection is sold off in parts or deteriorates any further. According to the museum director Ad Geerdink: “We have done everything we can and have reached a dead end. Now that it seems that the art works are disappearing again, we want to sound the alarm to let potential buyers know that they are dealing with stolen art, to give a correct representation of the actual value of the art works, but also to send a signal that these art works only belong in Hoorn. They are invaluable to the story we are telling about the extremely riveting period of the Golden Age in West Friesland.”
Mayor Yvonne van Mastrigt has expressed the hope that the Ukrainian government realizes that they have a responsibility in this matter and that they can play an important part in returning the stolen art to Hoorn.
Further information
Images of all the stolen works can be found in this message.
At the end of this message (next page), please find attached a timeline of the most important facts and developments.

January 2014
A Dutch police detective discovers a colour image of one of the missing art works on a mysterious Ukrainian website believed to be the painting Rebecca en Eliezer by Jan Linsen. However, because the Westfries Museum is only in possession of black and white photos of the stolen art, a colour representation is deemed sufficient evidence to prove that this is one of the stolen pieces.
July 2015:
A phone call is made to the Dutch embassy in Kiev by someone claiming to speak on behalf of the Ukrainian volunteer battalion Saint Mary and that this battalion is in possession of the complete collection of paintings.
August 4:
First meeting between two representatives of the volunteer battalion and Arthur Brand, followed by several contacts.
The museum management requests the Dutch ambassador in Ukraine to attempt to expedite the process along diplomatic channels. Foreign intelligence services are also notified by Arthur Brand’s contacts.
Knowledgeable informants notify Brand that Oleh Tyahnybok, leader of the right-wing extremist party Svoboda, is pulling the strings behind the scenes. The name Valentyn Nalyvaichenko, former head of the secret service is repeatedly mentioned.
Negotiations do not yield any results. Brand receives information that a group of foreign criminals is offered a collection of 16 Dutch Masters. The accompanying photo shows that the collection being offered is comprised of some of the works from the Westfries Museum. Aside from that, there is also a Ukrainian lawyer that is attempting to sell the paintings via foreign channels.
List of paintings and silver objects that were stolen from the Westfries Museum on januari 10, 2005.
Painting, Henrik Savrij, View on Andijk, rond 1900.
Oil on canvas, 51 x 37 cm.
Invnr. 11383

Painting, Jan van Goyen, Landscape with cart, 1632
Oil on canvas, 126 x 94,5 cm.
Invnr. 00529

Painting, Floris van Schooten, Kitchenscene, 17th century
Oil on canvas, 178 x 112 cm.
Invnr. 00524

Painting, Jacob Waben, Vanity, 1622
Oil on canvas, 151 x 131 cm.
Invnr. 00237

Painting, Matthias Withoos (1621/7 – 1703), Grashaven Hoorn (1)
Oil on canvas, 100 x 63,5 cm.
Invnr. 13717

Painting, Matthias Withoos (1621/7 – 1703), Grashaven Hoorn (2)
Oil on canvas, 101 x 65 cm.
Invnr. 01739

Painting, Jan Claesz. Rietschoof, View on Oostereiland, Hoorn, 1652-1719
Oil on canvas, 127,5 x 93,5 cm.
Invnr. 18149

Painting, Steven van Duyven, Portrait of a lady, 1679
Oil on canvas, 62,5 x 74 cm.
Invnr. 00704

Painting, Steven van Duyven, Portrait of a man, 1679
Oil on canvas, 62,5 x 74 cm.
Invnr. 00703

Watercolour, Herman Henstenburgh, Stillife, 1680-1726
29,5 x 38,7 cm.
Invnr. 50400

Watercolour, Herman Henstenburgh, Stillife, memento mori, 1698
26,4 x 31,2 cm.
Invnr. 00574

Painting, Gerrit Pompe, View on Enkhuizen
Oil on canvas, 153 x 92 cm.

Printing, Hendrik Heerschop, Biblical scene, 1652
Oil on canvas, 103 x 88 cm.
Invnr. 00719

Painting, Egbert Lievens van de Poel, Interior, 1620-1653
Oil on canvas, 32,5 x 25 cm.
Invnr. 00525

Painting, Hendrik Bogaert, A farmer’s wedding, 1671-1675
Oil on canvas, 174 x 109 cm.
Invnr. 00528

Painting, Jan Linsen, Rebecca and Eliëzer, 1629
Oil on canvas, 59,9 x 36,7 cm.
Invnr. 00573

Painting, Salomon Rombouts, Winterscene, 1670-1700
Oil on canvas, 30,1 x 23,3 cm.
Invnr. 00523

Painting, Izaak Ouwater, The Nieuwstraat in Hoorn, 1784
Oil on canvas, 55,7 x 44,4 cm.
Invnr. 01575

Painting, Reinier Nooms, Ships at sea, 1640-1668
Oil on canvas, 49,5 x 37 cm.
Invnr. 00531

Painting, Jacob Waben, The return of Jephta, 1625
Oil on canvas, 163 x 103 cm.
Invnr. 12154

Painting, Claas Molenaer, Winter, 1647
Oil on canvas, 118 x 85 cm.
Invnr. 02183

Drawing, J. Groot, Surgeon, ca. 1850
13,3 x 16,8cm.
Invnr. 04022

Print, D. Teniers, Quack, 1766
24,6 x 35 cm.
Invnr. 09069

Painting, Claas van Heussen, Kitchenscene (1), 1672
Oil on canvas,27 x 35 cm.
Invnr. 00526

Painting, Claas van Heussen, Kitchenscene (2), 1672
Oil on canvas, 27 x 35 cm.
Invnr. 00527

Silver objects
Little cup
Germany (?), unknown master, end 16th century
6,5 x 7,5 cm.
Invnr. 00133

Hoorn, unknown master, 17h cent.
8,8, x 7,6 cm.Invnr. 00135

Hoorn,unknown master, 1670-1694
7,8 x 7,1 cm.
Invnr. 02454

Enkhuizen, Klaas Freerks (?), ca. 1680.
Invnr. 00137
33 cm.

Hoorn, Jan Krook, 1742 or 1767.
4,3 x 14,5 cm.
Invnr. 10059

Hoorn, mastersign horentje, 1768 of 1793.
9,8 x 16,3 x 5,8 cm.
Invnr. 00142.a-c

TTobaccobox, G. Bellekin.
10,4 x 4,5 x 9,3 cm.
Invnr. 00143

Engraved: “De vlooye steeke vel daardoor kan ik niet slaaen. Had ik een frs ( vrij?) gesel bij mijn om vreught te raapen. Dan waar mijn hert gerust ik sou om geen vlooye denke. Maar hem door mijn lust mijn maagde roosie schenke”.
6,5 x 8,3 x 3,2 cm.
Invnr. 17644

Gilde silver with the coat of arms of Hoorn, maker unknown, ca. 1700.
23,5 x 30 cm.
Invnr. 01849

Hoorn, Pieter Schuurman, probably made in 1801.
21 x 21 cm.
Invnr. 10932

Sugar basket
Amsterdam, J. H. Stellingwerf,1805.
16,4 x 12,5 x 11,8 cm.
Invnr. 00174

Mustardjar, Amsterdam, Wouter Verschuur, 1790.
14 x 6,2 cm.
Invnr. 00158.a-c

Two salt containers,
Blue glass.
Amsterdam, Diederik Willem Rethmeyer, 1803.
13,5 x 7,5 x 5,3 cm.
Invnr. 00159.1-2

Amsterdam, Barend van Mecklenburg, 1792.
9,1 x 24,2 cm.
Invnr. 00009

Container (powder, liniment)
Amsterdam, Jacobus Das, ca. 1730
Ca. 9 cm.
Invnr. 19289

Container made for the wedding of Jacob Jansz. Van Bronckhorst en Celitie Theunis Bruyningh.
Master unknown, 1682.
Ca. 10 cm.
Invnr. 12284

Possibly by Claes Bel ( 1675-1700)
7,3 x 4,8 x 6,0 cm.
Invnr. 14947

Hoorn, Reyndert or Claes Bell (?) 17th cent.
7,6 x 5,3 x 8,2 cm.
Invnr. 00138

Silver container for needles
Engraved: J.K.
Hoorn, master unknown, 1793.9,7 x 1,8 cm.
Invnr. 15530

Small plate
Zwolle, H. Zweering 1760.
19,2 x 19,2 cm.
Invnr. 11274

Pieter de Gilde, 1807.
92 grams
Invnr. 00169

Pipe cleaning set
Enkhuizen, master unknown, ca.1750
7,5 x 3,2 cm.
Invnr. 10353

Grater for nutmeg
Amsterdam, J.G. Koen, 1858.
3 x 6,7 x 3 cm.
Invnr. 04948

Two golden book-locks.
Made between 1700 and 1740.
5,8 x 6,7 cm.
Invnr. 00665

Two silver book-locks
Hoorn, Jan Kamps, 1777.
9 x 2,8 cm.
Invnr. 18043
Golden snuffbox
Hoorn, Willem Zip, 1833.
5,8 x 2,5 x 4,4 cm.
Invnr. 00167

Amsterdam, master unknown,  18th cent.
65 gram
Invnr. 12256

Bowl, Enkhuizen, 18th cent.
21,7 x 5,3
Invnr. 12102

Leeuwarden, J. Adringa, 1776.
24,8 x 12 x 7,8 cm.
Invnr. 18036

Engraved with the coat of arms of Maria Jacob van Akerlaken, 7 november 1848.
Amsterdam, Wed. E.H. de Haas
10,5 x 6,8 cm.
Invnr. 000185

Of Mr. W.C.J. de Vicq, Mayor of Hoorn 1862-1875 .
Amsterdam, J. M. van Kempen en C.B.H. Canté.
Ca 70 cm.
Invnr. 10471

Container for spoons
Hoorn, J.Verhoogt , 1911.
17,2 x 5,4 x 7,2 cm.
Invnr. 55872

Joure, C.J. Brunings, 1862.
11,3 x 6,3 x 8,8 cm.
Invnr. 02450

Rotterdam, C. Knuysting , 1805.
8 x 12,2 cm.
Invnr. 00175.1

Rotterdam, C.J. Knuysting, 1805.
7,9 x 15,1 x 10,3 cm
Invnr. 00175.2

Two silver containers
Amsterdam, H. Smit, 1829.
7,8 x 12,6 en 14,3 x 10 x 7,5 cm.
Invnr. 11272 en 11273

Pipe holder
Amsterdam, F. Arnsen, 1837.
15 x 12 x 12 cm.
Invnr. 01051

Decorated with a snake
Amsterdam, F. Arnsen, 1837.
15 x 18,5 x 11,5 cm.
Invnr. 01054.a-b

Utrecht, F.C. Moot, 1807.
22 x 18,5 x 10,5 cm.
Invnr. 00172.a-c

Amsterdam, Ruelle,1806.
22 x 18,5 x 10,5 cm.
Invnr. 00173

Amsterdam, A. Horman 1833.
14 x 8 x 13 cm.
Invnr. 13104

Amsterdam, A. Horman, 1833.
24 x 9,5 x 15,5 cm.
Invnr. 13103

Miniature mill by Adr. Volkers, 1953 (niet afgebeeld)
18,5 x 13,5 x 16 cm.
Invnr. 50008Miniature ship by Adr. Volkers, 1953
10,4 x 10 x 3,2 cm.
Invnr.Miniature bird by Adrianus Volkers, 1950-1960.
3,5 x 2,9 x 3,4 cm.
Invnr. 50011Miniature cabinet by Adrianus Volkers, 1950-1960.
4,9 x 7,5 x 1,9 cm.
Invnr. 50010Miniature fountain, maker unknown
5 x 13 x 3 cm.
Invnr. 00044Miniature bridge by Adrianus Volkers, 1951.
12,5 x 7,7 x 5,2 cm.
Invnr. 50007

Guildmedal, koper, 1723, ‘mr. Floris Snel 1723′
2,8 cm.
Invnr. 00697

Guildmedal, koper, 1753, ‘mr. Rijkwaart Duyvetter 1753′
2,8 cm.
Invnr. 00698

Guildmedal, 1740, ship and Klaas Jansz. Kaat’
3,2 cm.
Invnr. 00699

Guildmedal, 1775, ship and:’Volkert Cornelis Pool van Wieringe 1775 7M 26 dag’
3,7 cm.
Invnr 00700

Guildmedal, no date, cooper and ‘J.B.B.’
Coopersguild Enkhuizen
4,0 cm.
Invnr. 00701

Guildmedal, 18h century, cooper and:’Waar heeft men grooter kunst ter weereld ooyt gevonde als daer men hout te saam heeft digt gebonde
2,9 cm.
Invnr. 00702

10 guildspoons:00022.1
Albert Goversz Fortuyn, 1753′.
18,8 x 4,3 cm.00022.2
Albert Goversz. Fortuyn,  ’1754′,
18,9 x 4,3 cm.00022.3
Albert Goversz Fortuyn,  ’1756′,
19,9 x 4,5 cm.00022.4
Albert Goversz Fortuyn, ’1757′,
19 x 4,5 cm.00022.5
Maker unknown ’1759′, Carpentersguild
18,8 x 4,5 cm.00022.6
Dirk Hoep, ’1760′,
19,1 x 4,5 cm.00023.1
Jacob Dirksz Schuyt,engraved: ’As J Schellinghout het Besemakersgildt Ao 1771′
19,9 x 4,9 cm.00023.2
Adrianus van Egmond,  ’As J Schellinghout het Besemakersgildt Ao 1771′
19,7 x 4,8 cm.

40_gildelepelTimmerman gildelepeltimmerlieden
41_gildelepelmeesterteken 43_gildelepelBezemmakers
3 plates, 1697, Johannes Zschammer
33 cm.
Invnr. 00131

2 cups, 1738, Francois van Stapele
17,3 x 10,6 cm.
Invnr. 00123

1 plate, 1730, Francois van Stapele
25 cm.
Invnr. 00123

2 plates 1695, Wouter Schrijver
32 cm.
Invnr. 13376
2 cups, engraved: ‘Gifte tot het h. avondmaal der remonstranten tot Hoorn van Marijtie Boelen gestorve Anno 1662 den 26 maart.’ , 1662
17 x 11,1 cm.
Invnr. 13377Silver jug, ca. 1900, Firma H.A. Jurst en Co
34 x 22 cm.
Invnr. 13378Trowel, 1864, Jacob van Straten Alkmaar
16 x 11,5 x 14,5 cm.
Invnr. 13379