Art Thieves Nearly Stole a Monet Painting Worth €1.2 Million

Art Thieves Nearly Stole a Famous Claude Monet Painting Worth €1.2 Million

They would’ve gotten away with it, if it weren’t for one important detail.

Last Sunday morning, the Zaans Museum in the Netherlands nearly fell victim to art theft when two robbers attempted to steal a Claude Monet painting worth over a million euros. 

At around 10.35 am, one of the thieves took Monet’s De Voorzaan en de Westerhem (1871) from the Dutch museum and tried to flee with the painting on a motorcycle with his partner. But a clever and flawlessly executed museum heist straight out of the Ocean’s franchise, this incident was not. 

Zaans Museum in the northern Dutch town of Zaandam in the Netherlands

Zaans Museum in the northern Dutch town of Zaandam in the Netherlands | Image credit: Henk Monster

Just as one of the robbers was approaching his accomplice, who was waiting on a motorcycle, a bystander attempted to thwart their escape. Gunshots were reportedly fired, but nobody was hurt or injured, according to the museum’s official Twitter page

Then in their haste to get away, one of the suspects dropped the Monet painting by accident while mounting the bike. The pair drove away from the museum on a motorcycle, leaving behind Claude Monet’s masterpiece as they fled. 

Also read: 12 Best Crime Thrillers You Can’t Afford to Miss in 2021

What happened during the failed art heist at the Zaans Museum? A local art detective weighs in

“They don’t seem like professionals. I can name a few things that made this little chance of success,” art detective Arthur Brand told local newspaper outlet NH News. “A lot of mistakes were made.” 

Far from being a pair of crime-savvy thieves, the suspects don’t appear to “do this very often,” said Brand. Pointing out the mistakes they made, he mentioned: “First of all, it is not a convenient location there at the Zaanse Schans. You cannot leave unseen, because there are many tourists and they already have the cameras ready.” 

“Then I also heard something about a fallen wig. It does not seem well thought out,” he added.  

About Claude Monet’s De Voorzaan en de Westerhem

Claude Monet, ‘De Voorzaan en de Westerhem,’ 1871 | Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

Claude Monet’s De Voorzaan en de Westerhem, which reveals a peaceful scene of sailboats and windmills by a river, is believed to have been “one of the 25 paintings Monet completed during his four-month stay in the northern Dutch town of Zaandam in the summer of 1871,” according to

In 2015, Monet’s painting was bought by the Zaans Museum for €1.2 million, making it a valuable piece for the Dutch museum and their most expensive painting acquired at the time. 

Thankfully, the Monet painting is now back where it belongs with the museum, where it is currently being examined for potential damage and will be kept away from the public eye temporarily.

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