The Museum Hofje van Mevrouw van Aerden, in Leerdam, the Netherlands, was raided just before dawn on Thursday – robbers broke in after forcing open a back door, according to police. ‘Around 3:30 a.m. the alarm went off, and agents went straight to the museum,’ the police said in a statement, calling for witnesses.
The thieves made away with the painting Two Laughing Boys with a Mug of Beer by Frans Hals, dated to 1626. The artwork – part of the museum’s collection – is estimated at 15 million euros by one expert. The museum had been closed since the COVID-19 lockdown.
Remarkably, this is the third time the Dutch Golden-Age painting has been stolen in recent history – it was taken from the museum in 1988, but recovered three years later. It was stolen again in 2011, and was missing for six months.