Restitution made easier for Bavarian museums

The Art Newspaper 18 April 2011

MUNICH. Returning Nazi-looted works of art has become much easier and less costly for Bavarian museums following a change in law that means the German state no longer has to be reimbursed when works are handed back to their rightful owners. The decision was made in parliament at the beginning of April and is valid for all returns made after 1 January this year. “The former regulation was absurd. Museums that wanted to return works were punished,” Sepp Dürr, a member of parliament for the opposition's Green Party told The Art Newspaper. Dürr proposed the change in law, but despite coming from the opposition party, the bill was backed by a majority in parliament. “There had been earlier attempts to find a solution and when this suggestion was made we reacted positively to it,” said a spokeswoman for the Bavarian ministry of culture . Previously, laws that protect capital reserves meant that the Bavarian ministry of finance required museums to pay the state a sum equal to the value of any restituted works. The condition had been heavily criticised as it made it more complicated to return works. Museums were only able to avoid the double loss of having to return looted works, as well as paying the state, if the Bavarian parliament made an exceptional ruling. C.Bf
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