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WWII map sparks Netherlands treasure hunt

The treasure map. Associated Press/Photo by Peter Dejong

WWII map sparks Netherlands treasure hunt

Amateur treasure hunters are descending on the Dutch village of Ommeren because of an old map recently made public. The town has made it illegal to dig in several places because of the risk of finding an unexploded World War II bomb or mine. The map and thousands of other documents were released Jan 3 by the Dutch National Archive, following a 75-year confidentiality period. 

How is the treasure supposed to have gotten there? After World War II, Dutch authorities interviewed an unnamed German soldier who was responsible for the map. He said that in 1944, a bomb hit a bank in Arnhem and scattered a bank vault’s contents into the street. The German soldiers nearby packed the contents—which included gold jewelry and cash—into ammunition boxes. Near the war’s end, the soldiers were in Ommeren when they decided to bury the loot. The Dutch state searched for the treasure and never found it. 

Dig deeper: Listen to Nick Eicher’s report on The World and Everything in It podcast about a thrift store treasure worth far more than the asking price.

Mary Muncy

Mary Muncy is a breaking news reporter for WORLD. She graduated from World Journalism Institute and Patrick Henry College.

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