Our work is based on the Washington Principles adopted in 1998, the Joint Declaration of the German Federal Government and the Guidelines, which Germany has committed to implementing in acceptance of historical and moral responsibility.
The Washington Declaration (Washington Conference Principles on Nazi-Confiscated Art) of December 3, 1998, is an international, legally non-binding agreement of 42 states with the goal of promoting the identification and restitution of Nazi-looted art in public institutions and contributing to "just and fair" solutions in dealing with it.
On 9 December 1999, Germany implemented the Washington Principles of 1998 with the “Declaration of the German Federal Government, German states and leading municipal associations to locate and return cultural assets confiscated through Nazi persecution, especially those of Jewish ownership.” In that document, commonly referred to as the "Joint Declaration," German federal, state and municipal authorities expressed their resolve to identify and return Nazi-confiscated cultural assets, especially those of Jewish ownership.
The German federal government, the German states and the municipal associations have provided Guidelines for the implementation of the Washington Principles and the Joint Declaration. The Guidelines, though not legally binding, give orientation to both public and private museums, collections, libraries, and archives in their provenance-research efforts concerning Nazi-looted cultural property.