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Switzerland puts up 2m SFr to track down Nazi loot in its museums

The federal office of culture is encouraging museums to research the provenance of works in their collections

by The Art Newspaper  |  29 January 2016
Switzerland puts up 2m SFr to track down Nazi loot in its museums
According to a 2011 federal report, out of 326 Swiss museums that responded to a survey, 25 estimated that they could have works that were looted by Nazis
Over five years, Switzerland’s culture ministry will give 2m Swiss francs to encourage museums to investigate the provenance of works in their collections. According to a 2011 federal report, out of 326 museums that responded to a survey, 25 estimated that they could have works that were looted by Nazis.

The government aid will be awarded through a competition, with requests due to be filed by the end of April 2016. The culture office will then choose the projects to received funding based on multiple criteria: the institution’s standing, the significance of the cultural property in question, the urgency of action, an analysis of the cost-benefit and the amount of self-financing the museum could manage. The government will not cover more than half of the total cost of the research, with a maximum of 100,000 francs and a minimum of 20,000 francs per project.

The results will then be published, “in order to make the process transparent and responsible”, says Isabelle Chassot, the director of the culture office. Museums that have already carried out investigations into the provenance of their works can get support to publish the results.


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