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This article considers the recent and vigorous critique of the Dutch restitution policy on Nazi-looted art in connection with the inclusion of what has been termed the “public interest” in the applicable substantive assessment framework. This assessment framework is entirely based on morally induced policy rules, and it allows the Dutch Restitutions Committee to advise on requests for restitution based on a weighing of interests, including the significance of the work to a museum or public art collection. Although one might question the appropriateness of such interests in a framework designed to remedy historic injustices, it remains to be seen whether this critique is entirely justified. Recent recommendations issued by the Dutch Restitutions Committee indicate that it takes a generous, rather than strict, approach when dealing with requests for restitution. All in all, it seems that both institutional and substantive vulnerability are inevitable if one embarks on a morally induced framework based on mere policy rules rather than legal rules.
Author Tabitha I. Oost LLM, MA is Lecturer/Researcher in the Department of Constitutional and Administrative Law in the Faculty of Law at the University of Amsterdam.
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Published online by Cambridge University Press in the