11 Rare Artworks Were Stolen From a Historic Palace

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In the early hours of February 13th, a burglar—or burglars—broke into the Princessehof Ceramics Museum in Leeuwarden, Netherlands, and stole a collection of rare artworks. According to a press release, 11 pieces of Chinese ceramics were taken, though the description of the specific pieces wasn’t shared. The theft came after a failed break-in just two weeks earlier, which led to the museum increasing its security. “The perpetrators seemed to have specific knowledge and to have struck in a targeted manner. The objects were part of an installation with Chinese ceramics,” the museum shared in the release.

The institution noted that shards from seven of the objects were found near the museum, prompting speculation that they may have broken as the thief (or thieves) left the scene. The whereabouts of the remaining four pieces are still unknown. Princessehof has yet to comment on the estimated value of the stolen designs.

Speaking with Artnet News, a spokesperson shared that it’s unlikely the ceramics were taken to resell. “For these museum objects, there is a very small market, so we don’t expect that the intention was to offer [them] for sale. We don’t want to speculate, but a targeted assignment seems more likely.”

The Princessehof is housed in an a small 18th-century palace—a hof—that was once used by a Dutch regent, Marie Louise of Hesse-Kassel, Princess of Orange. According to Artnet, the burglar(s) entered the museum through the roof before making their way to the first floor where the rare artworks were displayed. The police are currently looking for the suspects, according to the press release, and the museum will remain closed until February 21st.

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