Officials at the private museum declined to comment. It is closed due to the pandemic.
In 2011 – as well as in 1988 – “Two Laughing Boys” was stolen along with a painting by Jacob van Ruisdael, a Dutch master of the 17th century.
Wednesday’s robbery was similar to previous ones and did not appear to be an elaborate heist, said Arthur Brand, a Dutch artistic crimes private investigator. The museum is small, he says, and the thieves are quick. “The alarm goes off, but these guys are gone in three minutes. “
In 2011, the painting was recovered about six months later, and police arrested four people, aged 48 to 62, from the Amsterdam area.
After the theft in 1988, it took three years to recover the painting, Ms Sanders said. In both cases, the perpetrators were convicted, she added. “We are at a very early stage of the investigation,” she said. “We ask people if they have a video or if they have seen something; any help is welcome to solve it. “
The painting is worth “several million,” Brand said. “It’s important work.”
The mayor of the municipality which includes Leerdam, Sjors Fröhlich, called the theft “sad news of art” on Twitter. Mr Fröhlich said a full investigation was underway and urged people to call the police if they saw anything, adding that he hoped the painting would soon return to the museum, “where it belongs”.