The Voorzaan and the Westerhem by Claude Monet © Courtesy Zaans Museum

Sunday Morning (Attempted) Theft of Claude Monet Treasure

A lot happened on August 15, 2021, but did you hear of the attempted robbery of the Zaans Museum?
white orange and black wall graffiti

According to Dutch police, two men attempted to take “De Voorzaan en de Westerhem” from the Zaans Museum in Zaandam (that’s just north of Amsterdam).

Imagine it. Two men navigate the museum to escape with a Monet original. A bystander sees what is happening, and engages the suspects. Gunshots fire, the men drop the painting. No one is hurt, and the heist is stopped. The suspects leave empty-handed and make their escape on a black motorcycle. Thank you, bystander, for your bravery!

The museum confirmed that the oil painting in question is being assessed for damage. The painting has subsequently been removed from the “Monet in Zaandam” exhibition until further notice. Police are still looking for both suspects as of August 17, 2021.

A quick history about “The Voorzaan and the Westerhem”

The subdued 15×28 inch oil landscape painting depicts boats floating along the River Zaan, a scene from the jetty of a hotel where Monet spent four months with his first wife and son in Zaandam. In the backdrop of “De Voorzaan en de Westerhem,” windmills tower over red-roofed houses.

This river scene was painted by Monet during a visit to Zaandam in 1871. According to the museum, Zaandam served as a source of inspiration for Monet, who created twenty-five paintings and nine drawings of the city. Monet said to fellow Impressionist painter Camille Pissarro that Zaandam had “enough to paint for a lifetime,” praising its windmills, colorful homes, and “delightful boats” in a letter.

This painting was bought by the museum in 2015 for approximately $1.36 million dollars (1.16 million euros) and resides in the Monet in Zaandam exhibition. This video made by the museum that showcases this beautiful work of art from one of the most famous painters of all time.

A Moment Of Inspiration

With Stephanie Harris

Claude Monet is one of my all-time favorite painters. In so, he inspires me as a painter. Monet jumped on my radar in high school when I was assigned a unique art project – to create a 3D rendering of a famous painting. This has become one of my favorite art projects of all time, despite the fact that it hasn’t aged well. It is a nearly 20-year-old high school project, after all.

In this project, we chose a famous painting and divided that painting into four planes of detail. We then applied those planes of detail as we saw them onto four pieces of plexiglass. These pieces of plexiglass are then settled into fitted notches made in the wood planks to hold the piece upright. From the front to back, you see a student’s rendition of famous artwork.

Are you ready to see it?

Voila! This is my high school 3D rendition of “The Thames Below Westminster” compared to the actual thing. It’s not the same, but the spirit is there. I think that is what matters the most.

I truly enjoyed sharing this with you, but I need to know!
What is your favorite art project from yesteryear?

Featured Image: De Voorzaan en de Westerhem by Claude Monet © Courtesy Zaans Museum
The Thames Below Westminster © Courtesy


  • As the Owner of WestHeir Ltd. Co., Stephanie shares the latest in industry news, behind-the-scenes details, and community content to help collectors grow closer together.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Shopping Cart
WestHeir Ltd. Co.