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Art restitution in Austria

In spite of the time that has elapsed since the end of World War II and the restitution laws passed since the post-war years, there are still works of art in state collections that were confiscated from their rightful owners during the Nazi regime.

The Commission for Provenance Research was established in 1998 for the purpose of systematically inventorying the state collections and unearthing looted objects. The Federal Art Restitution Act on the return of works of art in Austrian national museums and collections to their rightful owners (Bundesgesetz über die Rückgabe von Kunstgegenständen aus den Österreichischen Bundesmuseen und Sammlungen) was also passed in 1998. Under this law, confiscated works of art and cultural objects still in the possession of the state can be returned to the original owners or their heirs. The Art Restitution Act was amended in 2009.

Art Restitution Law as amended on 25 January 2011 (PDF, 35 KB) (PDF, 35 KB)

More information is provided in German.

Austrian federal museums in colonial contexts: State Secretary for Arts and Culture Andrea Mayer establishes new expert committee

A high-level committee of experts will develop a guideline for a consistent approach to objects in a colonial context and demands for repatriation.

Austrian federal museums in colonial contexts: New expert committee (PDF, 581 KB)