The Dutch government on Monday agreed to return more than 200 paintings by old masters to the heirs of a Jewish art dealer whose collection was looted by the Nazis.
The paintings, by Rubens, Rembrandt, Goya and other well-known painters, are valued at hundreds of millions of dollars.
They will be returned to the family of Jacques Goudstikker, a major pre-war art collector who fled the Netherlands shortly before the German invasion in May 1940.
Goudstikker left behind a collection of nearly 1,300 works that were looted by Hitler's air minister Hermann Goering and other Nazi officers. Goudstikker died in a shipboard accident while fleeing the Nazis.
His family has been engaged in a legal fight for years to get the paintings returned. They have been hanging in at least 17 Dutch museums after being returned to the Netherlands by the Allies.
"At long last, justice. A dream has come true for me and my daughters," said Marei von Saher, Goudstikker's daughter-in-law, quoted by Reuters. Von Saher, a resident of Connecticut, had continued the fight on behalf of the collector's widow, Desi, and son, now deceased.
In 1952, Goudstikker's widow reached a settlement with the Dutch government, but in their legal battle, the family claimed she was unaware of the full value of the works recovered.
A court ruled in 1998 that the earlier settlement was binding, but the government has since softened its stance.
A Dutch restitution committee recommended returning 202 of the 267 paintings claimed by von Saher. The Dutch Culture Minister says the remaining works will remain in museums because it could not be certain they belonged to Goudstikker when he left the country.
The Dutch decision came as Vienna's Belvedere Gallery packed five Gustav Klimt paintings for return to a California woman whose family owned the works when they were stolen by the Nazis.
About 10,000 people had lined up for hours over the weekend for a final glimpse of the cherished Klimt paintings, which are considered national treasures.
Last month, an arbitration court ruled that the paintings must be returned to Maria Altmann of Beverly Hills. It was the costliest concession made yet by Austria involving looted Nazi art.
Goudstikker's family is still fighting for the return of other works scattered in private and public collections from Russia to the United States.
Dutch secretary of state for culture Medy van der Laan said she hoped the owners might decide to lend some of the paintings to museums in the Netherlands. The museums won't be compensated for the loss of the paintings, she said.