Boekelo residents come up with a plan to keep the statue for the village

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The statue in front of the hotel in Boekelo

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RTV East
NOS News

In Boekelo, an attempt is being made to keep a disputed statue that will soon be auctioned in Paris in the village. The village council and the accidental discoverer of the statue’s value devised a plan to buy it. “So it can go back to where it belongs.”

The statue stood next to a hotel in the village for decades. The work of art, which was unveiled in 1968, was a gift from the Royal Dutch Salt Industry to the village community.

Its value was recently discovered by a resident of an apartment in the hotel. He discovered by chance that it was a statue by the French sculptor Henri Étienne-Martin. An identical copy by the same artist had fetched 150,000 euros at an auction at Christie’s in Paris.

Rightful owner

The hotel owner decided to have the statue excavated and auctioned in Paris, but the municipality of Enschede initiated summary proceedings to prevent that auction. The municipality saw itself as the rightful owner because the artwork was a gift to Boekelo, which falls under Enschede.

But the hotel owner saw it differently: he bought the statue in 2004, together with the hotel and the surrounding land. He sees himself as the rightful owner. The court ruled in his favor and so the work of art can be auctioned.

‘Buy yourself if necessary’

The statue will go under the hammer at the end of April. Now the village council and the discoverer of the statue’s value, former professor of political science Henk Dekker, still want to try to keep the statue for the village. Dekker previously announced that he would like to buy the statue together with others if necessary, for example through a fundraising campaign.

“Several parties have reported to us recently. Large parties too. An organization that is committed to heritage, but also salt producer Nouryan, the legal successor of the company that donated the statue,” says Dekker to RTV Oost.

It is still unclear what the lowest amount will be from which bids can be made. The statue is valued at approximately 30,000 to 40,000 euros. Including auction costs – which can add up nicely at a reputable auction house – according to RTV Oost, it will soon be approaching the 50,000 euros that will have to be raised. “As long as the statue has not been sold, we will keep hope,” says Dekker.

Convinced Tucker

According to him, the plan is now to make agreements with the hotel owner before the auction starts. “He has been proven right by the judge. He can call himself the rightful owner and can therefore auction the statue. But it might also be worth something to him if we come out together. Then he will also keep the image that he, as a convinced Tukker, image for the region.”

The hotel owner is open to a good offer, he tells RTV Oost. “But then let them report to Christie’s, because that’s where it is now.”

  • Statue at hotel in Boekelo can be auctioned after court ruling
  • Boekelo statue not auctioned after all due to dispute over property rights
  • Forgotten statue may be worth 1.5 tons: judge must appoint real owner
  • In association with

    RTV East

  • Regional news

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