Temporary import for exhibitions

The Netherlands supports the international collection mobility for exhibitions in heritage institutions through indemnity schemes and through immunity from seizure guarantee letters.

Indemnity schemes

The indemnity scheme is a guarantee scheme which entails the Dutch Government covering part of the risk relating to a precious item on loan from foreign institutions. This scheme makes it easier for museums to include precious pieces in their international exhibitions. The high value of cultural property makes it difficult to finance the sometimes high insurance costs; the indemnity scheme can lower the insurance premiums.

Immunity from Seizure ‘letter of comfort’

When organizing exhibitions, public foreign lending institutions can ask the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, through the Dutch cooperation partner, about the possibility of receiving an immunity from seizure ‘letter of comfort’.

The letter will explain that, for the purposes of the loan and in the event that it transpires from the loan agreement and that the item concerned is the property of a foreign State, the Government of the Netherlands will do everything that is legally within its power to ensure that the art object loaned by the foreign State will not be encumbered at any time while it is located on Dutch territory.

In this regard, the Netherlands will follow the rule as currently reflected in the 2004 UN Convention on Jurisdictional Immunities of States and their Property and relevant national law of the Netherlands, under which state owned cultural property is considered State property and as such enjoys immunity from measures of constraint.

The letters of comfort are a service offered by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to Dutch museums in cases of loans from foreign heritage institutions on behalf of an exhibition in the Netherlands.