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'Binding advice concerning the dispute over the restitution of: A Prayer before Supper by Jan Toorop from the estate of E. Flersheim'

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Binding advice concerning the dispute over the restitution of: A Prayer before Supper by Jan Toorop from the estate of E. Flersheim


Dutch Restitution Committee


April 2008


Read the Dutch Resitutution Committee's Binding Advice concerning the dispute over the restitution of: A Prayer before Supper by Jan Toorop from the estate of E. Flersheim published on 7 April 2008 by clicking here. 

The conclusion of the Committee was that the Zeeuws Museum in Middelburg was obliged to return the painting A Prayer before Supper to the heirs of E Flersheim on payment by the heirs. to the Museum of EUR 121,500.

This binding advice was given on 7 April 2008 by R. Herrmann (chair), J.Th.M. Bank, J.C.M. Leijten, P.J.N. van Os, E.J. van Straaten, H.M. Verrijn Stuart, I.C. van der Vlies (vice-chair), and signed by the chair and the secretary - (R. Herrmann, chair) (E. Campfens, secretary.

ABOUT THE RESTITUTION COMMITTEE (the Advisory Committee on the Assessment for Items of Cultural Value and the Second World War)

Many people lost works of art in the Netherlands during the Second World War. Paintings by well-known and less well-known artists fell into the hands of the Nazis, either because they were confiscated or because the owners were forced to sell them. After the war, countless precious works of art embarked on odysseys through various countries. Despite post-war restitutions, a fairly substantial collection of the works that were returned to the Netherlands remained in the National Art Collection.  

From the 1990s onwards, national and international concern grew for the distress inflicted on the victims of persecution during and after the Second World War. In this context, the Dutch government decided in 2001 to broaden the scope of its policy with regard to the restitution of cultural assets that had disappeared during the Second World War. At the end of that year, the Advisory Committee on the Assessment for Items of Cultural Value and the Second World War, known in brief as the Restitutions Committee, was set up by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science. Since January 2002, the Committee has been providing independent recommendations to the minister regarding individual requests for restitution of cultural assets lost during the Second World War. The original owners or heirs may claim these items by filing an application for restitution. These applications concern claims for works of art of which the owner relinquished possession involuntarily due to circumstances directly related to the Nazi regime.

The majority of the works for which restitution claims have been filed are currently in the Netherlands Art Property Collection.

Up until 8 July 2008, 91 applications for restitution were filed and reports on 64 of these have meanwhile been prepared.

Members of the Restitution Committee

The Restitution Committee consists of leading legal experts, historians and art historians. To give you a brief introduction into their backgrounds:

Mr R. Herrmann, mr. (Chair)
lawyer; former justice and vice-president of the Amsterdam Court of Appeal, as well as justice and until recently vice-president of the Supreme Court of the Netherlands. Former chair of the Dutch section of Amnesty International; also member of the Human Rights Committee of the Advisory Council on International Affairs.

Prof.dr. J.Th.M. Bank
historian; retired professor of Dutch History at Leiden University with a special expertise in Dutch cultural history.

Prof. J.C.M. Leijten, mr.
lawyer; former solicitor, judge and justice at the Arnhem Court of Appeal; former Solicitor General of the Supreme Court of the Netherlands and retired professor, Introduction into Law and Civil Litigation Law at the Catholic University of Nijmegen.

Mr P.J.N. van Os, mr.
lawyer, former notary; deputy justice at the Amsterdam Court of Appeal; chair of the Supervisory Board of the Netherlands Estate Agents Association.

Dr. E.J. van Straaten
art historian; President of the Kröller-Müllermuseum, former member of the Museum Acquisitions Committee 1940-1945 established under the auspices of the Netherlands Museum Association.

Mrs. H.M. Verrijn Stuart, mr.
lawyer; legal reporter/analist, essayist, member of the Advisory Council on International Affairs, former scientific employee of the Clara Wichmann Institute.

Ms Prof. I.C. van der Vlies, dr. (deputy chair)
lawyer; professor of Constitutional and Administrative Law at the University of Amsterdam; previously a member of the Dutch Council for Culture, member of the Public Administration Council and chair of the Committee evaluating the Cultural Heritage Preservation Act.

Mr J.M. Polak, mr. (advisor)
lawyer; former notary public, Head Counsel for the Ministry of Justice, judge and professor of Law and Political Sciences at the Agricultural University of Wageningen, member of the Netherlands Scientific Council for Government Policy and member of the Council of State.

Mr B.J. Asscher, mr. (advisor)
lawyer; former solicitor, judge and Vice-President of several district courts and President of the District Court of Amsterdam for ten years; after retirement, ‘Cleveringa’ professor at Leiden University.


In the performance of these duties, the committee can enlist the support of a secretariat under the management of secretary/rapporteur Ms E. Campfens. The secretariat also employs a deputy secretary/researcher, Ms A. Marck, a legal assistant, Mr O.M. van Vessem, an office manager, Ms T. Brandse, and researchers Ms E. Muller, Ms A.J. Kool, Mr F.M. Kunert and Ms A.M. Jolles-van Loo. While assisting in the day-to-day affairs, the secretariat also conducts research and prepares reports, in respect of which it regularly invokes the assistance of external researchers. The secretary/rapporteur also acts as spokeswoman for the Restitutions Committee.

Click here for the postal address of the secretariat.

Decree Establishing the Advisory Committee on the Assessment of Restitution Applications

Explanatory notes

Appointment of member/chair and reappointment of members of Restitutions Committee, 12 December 2007 (pdf-file)


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