BERLIN, Feb. 25 (Xinhua) -- After a couple of spectacular heists in Germany, the government announced Thursday it would launch a program to help cultural institutions expand security measures so as to better protect national art and cultural treasures.
For this purpose, the German government would provide up to 5 million euros (6.1 million U.S. dollars) this year. Cultural institutions, such as museums, archives and exhibition halls, could apply to fund the installation of structural, mechanical or electronic security measures against burglary and theft.
"Our museums house art treasures whose material and immaterial value can hardly be measured. They are formative for the cultural identity of our country," said Monika Gruetters, minister of state for culture and media, in a statement.
The German government would cover up to 50 percent of eligible expenses. Funding was conditional on a security concept that would be coordinated with the relevant state criminal investigation office or the criminal investigation advisory service.
At the end of November 2019, thieves had entered the Green Vault, a famous museum in Dresden, through a window and stole many historical pieces including priceless diamond jewelry.
Almost a year later, police in Berlin arrested the first suspects. According to the Dresden public prosecutor's office, there was still no trace of the stolen jewelry from the 17th and 18th centuries.
"Spectacular break-ins and thefts in museums in recent years have shown that the security situation in German cultural institutions has changed," the German government said. The threat became "more complex in view of the violence and the highly professional approach of the perpetrators."
Last September, the German Museums Association invited museum experts, criminal investigators, security specialists and representatives of the insurance industry to the first nationwide conference on museum security.
The discussion focused on "current challenges" for burglary and theft protection in Germany' museums and how institutions could protect their exhibits while remaining accessible to the public. Enditem