[NEWS] A Thief Was Sentenced to Eight Years in Prison for Van Gogh and Hals Thefts

September 28, 2021


Vincent van Gogh, The Parsonage Garden at Nuenen in Spring (1884). ©Groninger Museum. 

A Dutch man was sentenced to eight years in prison for stealing paintings by Vincent van Gogh and Frans Hals in 2020. The Central Netherlands Court also said the man, who was not identified in the sentencing, must pay $10.2 million to the owner of the Hals painting. Both the Hals and van Gogh paintings remain missing.


The man was convicted of taking both van Gogh’s 1884 painting The Parsonage Garden at Nuenen in Spring from the Singer Laren Museum in March of 2020, and Hals’s 1626 canvas Two Laughing Boys with a Mug of Beer from the Museum Hofje van Mevrouw van Aerden in August.


Frans Hals, Two Laughing Boys with a Mug of Beer (1626), ©Frans Hals Museum

The break-in at the museum happened in the early hours of Monday morning, at around 3:15 a.m. The thieves smashed a large glass door at the front of the museum to access the building. Police reached the scene after the museum’s alarm was triggered, but the perpetrators had vanished by the time they arrived, according to a statement from the local authorities.


“These  paintings are part of the national cultural heritage. They are part of our past and are of great importance to present and future generations so that they can learn about that past,” the judges wrote in their ruling. “With [their] removal, the defendant not only disadvantaged the relevant museums for enormous amounts, but also society. 

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