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Looted Art and Restitution: History, Theory and Policy


Admission requirements

Not applicable


The looting and destruction of art works in times of war is of all periods, yet never so systematically practiced as during World War II and the Nazi-regime. A large part of the stolen art is still missing. Museums are frequently faced with restitution claims. In this course, we will study four themes: 1) historical background of looting and war booty; 2) Nazi-looting during World War II; 3) restitution policy after the war; and 4) recent developments in restitution policy and ethics in an international context. We will discuss relevant literature on the basis of class questions and lectures by the instructor and guest-instructors. About 3 classes will be taught on specific locations, such as the National Archives, the Restitution Committee or the NIOD, Centre for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies.

Course objectives

  • Being able to select a topic and / or object related to the looting and restitution of artworks.

  • Being demonstrable skilled in formulating a research question and putting together a relevant bibliography.

  • Being able to independently research an art historical topic; to critically review the relevant scholarly literature and primary sources; to present research results both in a presentation (15 mins) and a written report (c. 5000 words).


The timetable is available on the Master Arts and Culture website

Mode of instruction

Choose from:

  • Seminar

  • Excursion

Course Load

Total course load 10 EC x 28 hours= 280 hours

  • Lectures: 12 × 3 = 36 hours

  • Study of compulsory literature: 85 hours

  • Assignment(s): 36 hours

  • Excursions: 28 hours

  • Other components: final paper = 95 hours

Assessment method

  • Take home examination (assignments) (10%);

  • Paper (75 %);

  • Abstract, oral presentation (15%).


Final mark is determination of the weighted average; the grade for the presentation has to be 5.5. or higher.


Research paper can be re-written. In case of a failed presentation, another assignment will be given.


Blackboard will be used for:

  • Literature

  • Assignments

Reading list



Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.
General information about uSis is available in English and Dutch

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable


For questions about the content of the course, you can contact the teacher Dr. M. Keblusek

Administrations Office Huizinga