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Dutch Court Gives Ownership of Ancient Crimean Treasure To Ukraine Over Russia

A court in the Netherlands has ruled that an ancient trove of Crimean gold artifacts belongs to Ukraine, not Russia.

The treasure, commonly known as the “Scythian gold”, contains nearly 300 pieces. The pieces are diverse, of various types, and belong to different eras. These include a necklace (2nd century AD), a helmet (4th century BC), and ceremonial daggers from different time periods. The objects were lent to four Crimean institutions as part of a traveling exhibition. The exhibition was launched in Germany before moving to the Netherlands.

Allard Pierson Museum, Netherlands

However, things took a drastic turn when Russia annexed Crimea in 2014, to global surprise. At the time, the objects were at the Allard Pierson Museum in the Netherlands. Since the annexation, Crimean museums lost the authority of taking back the objects from the Dutch. Russia, as the occupying country, demanded that the objects be returned to them. On the other hand, Ukraine – which shares the Crimean culture – has also been demanding the objects.

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The matter has been in Dutch courts for many years. In 2016, a district court ruling was given in favor of Ukraine, but Russia objected to the matter. Now, a higher Dutch court has upheld the previous ruling. Considering Ukraine the true successor of Crimean culture, the court has decided to return the objects to the country.

The Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was elated by the decision, calling it a “long-awaited victory”. Zelensky added that “We always regain what’s ours. After the ‘Scythian gold,’ we’ll return Crimea.”. On the other hand, the Russian representatives were not happy with the decision and said that they will take the case to higher courts.