Please note that the content on the website may be used for press purposes when covering the TEFAF art fair. The usage rights are at publication's discretion. It cannot be guaranteed that the objects currently shown on the website will pass TEFAF vetting which takes place shortly prior to the opening of the Fair.
Agree and download
Code of conduct
Maastricht code of conduct




In respect of prevention and cease of illicit import, export and transfer of ownership of cultural property; and a diligent and transparent art trade, TEFAF affirms that it is important to abide at all times with the Dutch and international rules and regulations; in particular regulations as well as non-binding instruments re cultural heritage. Aforementioned non-exhaustively enumerated instruments include, where appropriate:

  • The Dutch Cultural Heritage Act (2016)
  • The UNESCO 1970 Convention
  • The Hague Convention of 1954 and its protocols
  • Directive 2014/60/EU on the return of cultural objects unlawfully removed from the territory of a Member State
  • Council Regulation 116/2009/EC on the export of cultural goods (Codified version)
  • Council Regulation (EU) No 36/2012 concerning restrictive measures in view of the situation in Syria
  • Council Regulation (EC) No 1412/2004 concerning certain specific restrictions on economic and financial relations with Iraq
  • The Washington Principles (1998) and Terezin Declaration (2009) regarding Nazi looted art
  • UNESCO International Code of Ethics for Dealers in Cultural Property (1999)
  • Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (1973)

The current code of conduct has been set up in cooperation and coordination with several authorities, a.o.:

  • The Dutch National Police – Unit Art and Antiquities related Crime and the specialist officer with responsibility for Art related Crime in the relevant Region (“National Police”)
  • The local Maastricht Police Unit (“Local Police”)
  • The Dutch Cultural Heritage Inspectorate (“Cultural Heritage Inspectorate”)
  • Dutch Customs (“Customs”)


TEFAF fully supports the general goal to strive towards far-reaching transparency and due diligence in the art and antiquities trade related to TEFAF, which is seen as an ongoing process.

Close co-operation between TEFAF and the authorities is considered in the common interest to reach the common goals as described under A and B above. This may involve the sharing of relevant information and best practices within legal boundaries.

TEFAF and the authorities acknowledge that it is in the common interest that issues relating to objects or participants to the fair are handled with due care and attention and resolved without unnecessary damage to the fair or the reputation of TEFAF, the objects, its participants or other parties involved to the extent possible. Thereto this code of conduct includes a protocol to practically resolve issues, as coordinated with several relevant authorities.

TEFAF and the authorities will consult and update each other and share information where necessary and possible within legal boundaries in advance as well as during the fair, when parties will be in touch directly if the situation calls for it. To this end, the National Police, local Police of Maastricht, Municipality of Maastricht, Cultural Heritage Inspectorate and Customs meet with TEFAF in advance of the fair. TEFAF is in touch with the National Police, Unit Art and Antiquities Crime of the police service, with the specialist officer with responsibility for Art related Crime in the relevant Region and with the local police in Maastricht. It is intended that involvement of any other investigation service (national or foreign) will be directed via aforementioned Units. Depending on the case the Cultural Heritage Inspectorate can also be involved in the investigation.


Inspection before opening of the fair

In the Vetting Guidelines and the General Terms & Conditions for Participants, it is laid down that participants remain responsible for the objects offered at the fair. The Vetting Committee, with assistance of a Scientific Research Team, will vet every object to be offered at the fair. Moreover, the organization of the fair is laid down in aforementioned documents as well as in:

  • the General Terms & Conditions for Visitors,
  • the Participant contracts,
  • the Selection Protocol,
  • TEFAF’s Privacy Statement.

In addition to these documents, this code of conduct serves as a complementary document concerning transparency, due diligence and compliance to rules and regulations.

Before the opening of the fair, the Cultural Heritage Inspectorate will be invited to perform an inspection round at the fair in order to examine the objects to be offered at the fair, among others in light of the rules and regulations mentioned under paragraph 1.A above.

Inspection will take place during the vetting, as further stipulated below. Art Loss Register will also be present during the vetting in the context of inspection. In case of any issue regarding an object to be offered at the fair, or any cultural heritage related issue regarding a participant at the fair relevant for TEFAF, the respective authority will contact TEFAF, within legal boundaries, without delay. TEFAF will act diligently in case relevant information comes up on objects with regard to the fair. It will inform the National Police, or when relevant the local Maastricht Police, the Cultural Heritage Inspectorate and/or Customs without delay, whenever appropriate.

Following the actions above, TEFAF and the appropriate authority/authorities will discuss and coordinate, within legal boundaries, diligently the best course of action regarding the handling and resolving of any occurring issue.

The aforementioned authorities acknowledge that it is of importance to minimize the impact that any action or investigation may have on the conduct of the fair. In that respect, TEFAF will follow the protocols as described in this code of conduct.

The Cultural Heritage Inspectorate, The National Police and The Local Police

TEFAF acknowledges that the Cultural Heritage Inspectorate, the National Police and the Local Police have authority to employ special investigation methods and jurisdiction in case one or more circumstances give rise to reasonable suspicion that a criminal offense has been committed.

If it is thought that an object might have been illegally obtained, the following people will be informed immediately:

  • Head of Art and Antique Crime Unit, National Criminal Intelligence Division, Dutch National Police;
  • Senior Inspector, Dutch Cultural Heritage Inspectorate;
  • CEO, vetting manager and project manager of TEFAF Maastricht
  • These cases will be treated as highly confidential and will not be disclosed.
  • TEFAF will be co-operative in such circumstances.

Export license procedure


  • It is noted that Customs have a facilitating and controlling role in relation with the fair organized by TEFAF. In advance of the fair, TEFAF will inform its participants about the application procedure for obtaining an export license. In the case that a buyer wishes to take an object out of the fair within two (working) days after application, the buyer can send its application with the notification of an ‘accelerated procedure’. This accelerated procedure will speed up the mailing/courier process. The application procedure includes the following steps and procedures
  • The participant may ask its shipper to complete the specific digital form regarding an export license request with the Customs’ Central Licensing Office for Import and Export (CDIU) operating on behalf of the Dutch Minister of Education, Culture and Science;
  • In such a request, the participant’s shipper will include all necessary documents as requested by the CDIU; CDIU will file and process the application;
  • On behalf of the Minister of Education, Culture and Science, the Dutch Cultural Heritage Inspectorate may decide upon the aforementioned request within one working day and thereupon authorize an export license in case of a positive outcome;
  • In case the export license is authorized, a paper export license will be issued by CDIU. In case that the CDIU receives an application with the notification ‘accelerated procedure’, the paper export license can be collected at the CDIU in Groningen by the participant’s courier. In the ‘normal procedure’, the CDIU sends the paper export license via traditional mail to the applicant. Traditional mail takes more time for delivery.

Further diligent course of action

Any additional diligent course of action regarding research or investigation in case of a complication in advance of the fair, either discovered during the pre-fair inspection or otherwise, is set out under paragraph 3 below.

Information provided to states representatives by the Cultural Heritage Inspectorate

The Cultural Heritage Inspectorate, where appropriate in coordination with the Dutch Ministry of foreign affairs, may generally seek to inform representatives (diplomats) of states represented in The Netherlands re TEFAF and any rules applicable in The Netherlands. The Cultural Heritage Inspectorate will keep TEFAF updated on the state of affairs of a yearly meeting or information letter in this respect. A TEFAF representative will be invited to join this meeting.


Arrangements for authorities

TEFAF facilitates customs to enable an efficient service and customs procedures. This facilitation includes the provision of a dedicated space at the fair and timely (i.e. pre-fair) registration of customs officers to minimize service and response times.

Practice in case of complications during the fair

The general purpose of the fair is to allow visitors to view and purchase art objects as displayed by the participants in the fair in a legitimate manner, and in that context to develop business relations with visitors and (prospect) participants in the fair. In the event an individual – or a group of individuals– presents him-/herself or demonstrates to have a different purpose - either represented by a bailiff or in person, or representing a foreign institution - the following protocol will be followed.

  • TEFAF will direct this person/these persons to a designated area at the venue, where deliberation will take place with the CEO or head of organization present at the fair.
  • Whenever appropriate or necessary, TEFAF will contact the National Police, the Local Police, the Cultural Heritage Inspectorate and/or Customs without delay in order to discuss possible co-operation in the matter at hand and to determine the next step.
  • Whenever appropriate or necessary, TEFAF will work together with the National Police or the Cultural Heritage Inspection or the respective Dutch competent authority and/or Customs (in case of non Union goods).
  • Generally, entry to the fair or further action, other than with the purposes laid down in the General Terms and Conditions for Visitors, should be arranged with discretion and outside opening hours of the fair.
  • TEFAF will fully co-operate in case involvement of one or more authorities is imperatively prescribed by Dutch or international law, after consultation with the National Police, Local Police the Cultural Heritage Inspectorate and/or Customs.
  • In case of a request for an investigation on initiative of either the National Police or the Cultural Heritage Inspectorate, TEFAF will always, within legal boundaries, be given the possibility to consult a lawyer, who will have the possibility to attend any investigation or questioning when an issue directly concerns TEFAF.
  • Moreover, the National Police, the Local Police and the Cultural Heritage Inspectorate will direct any request for information or questioning to TEFAF’s contact person within legal boundaries.
  • The National Police, the Local police and/or Cultural Heritage Inspectorate will directly inform TEFAF in case TEFAF is associated with a suspected criminal offense or a witness to such an offense, within legal boundaries.
  • If it is thought that an object might have been illegally obtained, the following people will be informed immediately:
  • Head of Art and Antique Crime Unit, National Criminal Intelligence Division, Dutch National Police;
  • Senior Inspector, Dutch Cultural Heritage Inspectorate;
  • CEO, vetting manager and project manager of TEFAF Maastricht

These cases will be treated as highly confidential and will not be disclosed. Any request for documentary evidence by any of above mentioned bodies is to be made in writing.