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Dutch museum hit by heist amid lockdown

March 30, 2020

The Singer Laren museum near Amsterdam had closed its doors earlier in March as part of nationwide restrictions because of coronavirus. Thieves have broken in and stolen a work by Vincent van Gogh.

Exterior view of the Singer Museum in Laren, Netherlands
Image: picture-alliance/AP Photo/P. Dejong

A painting by Vincent van Gogh was stolen in an overnight raid from a Dutch museum, museum officials announced on Monday.

The Singer Laren museum east of Amsterdam says "Parsonage Garden at Nuenen in Spring" by the Dutch painter was stolen in the early hours of Monday. The museum is currently closed as part of restrictions to slow the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

The theft of the painting was reported in a press conference on Monday afternoon. Evert van Os of the museum referred to the painting as the "Parsonage Garden at Nuenen in Spring." It is also known as "Spring Garden" and "Lentetuin, the Parsonage Garden in Spring."

Local media put the value of the painting at between €1 million and €6 million ($1.1 million to $6.6 million).

"I am shocked and incredibly pissed off," museum director Jan Rudolph de Lorm told Dutch public broadcaster NOS. "Art is there to be enjoyed and to comfort people, especially during this difficult time."

Read more: Dresden police release details of brazen €1 billion heist

Gemälde Pfarrgarten von Vincent van Gogh
The stolen painting is reportedly worth up to €6 millionImage: picture-alliance/akg-images

Museum closed in COVID-19 restrictions

Police say thieves entered the museum at around 3.15 a.m. local time. They are currently examining security footage and investigating the crime.

The museum, which lies around 30 kilometers (18 miles) from Amsterdam, has not reported any other missing works. The museum houses around 3,000 works.

Before the closure, the museum was hosting an exhibition titled "Mirror of the Soul," in cooperation with Amsterdam's Rijksmuseum.

The museum houses the collection of American couple William and Anna Singer, with a focus on modernism such as neo-impressionism, pointillism, expressionism and cubism. Works by Dutch abstract artist Piet Mondrian and Dutch-Indonesian painter Jan Toorop are housed there.

Coincidentally, the theft coincided with Van Gogh's birthday.

ed/aw (AP, AFP, Reuters)

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