By now the art world has heard of the seven works of art stolen from the Kunsthal museum in Rotterdam on 16 October, which included works by Picasso, Monet, Henri Matisse, Paul Gauguin, Lucian Freud and Meyer de Haan. It took the thieves just two minutes to get the paintings and drive off.
Although they might have had some inside help, the thieves simply made sure that a piece of plastic was jammed between the doorpost and the door, making it look like the door was also locked. Normally, the doors are electronically locked until the alarm is deactivated. Once the alarm is activated, the doors unlock.
Insert face palm.
Earlier this year two visitors were stuck in the museum after closing time because security guards had not noticed them. The room they were in was the same room as the one were the paintings were stolen. The visitors left through the emergency exit, and it took the guards 10 minutes to notice it.
Museum director Emily Ansenk claiming the system is ‘state of the art’ in the media sounds like a communist quoting the party line. Dutch news site NOS qualified her statement as ‘utter nonsense’ . To make things even more embarrassing, the Kunsthal has placed large flower pots around the museum so no one can easily park a getaway car right outside it.
To quote an art restorer friend of mine: “I can sleep soundly at night knowing that the Netherlands’ cultural property is now being protected by flower pots.”