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July 14, 2022

Thursday, July 14, 2022 - 1 comment

In Memoriam - Dick Drent (1959-2022)

It is with deep regret that we learned of the passing of our former museum security and risk management professor and dearest friend Dick Drent, who passed away on the 12th of July 2022.

Dick served as a professor with ARCA’s Postgraduate Certificate Program in Art Crime and Cultural Heritage Protection for more than a decade. Each year, his course not only provided participants with a thorough knowledge of the fascinating field of museum security, but drew upon his own magnificent career which spanned over three decades working on investigations, security and risk management. His unrivalled experience, his humour, and inspiring way of earning the respect of others, made his courses unique and unforgettable.  Entering a museum would never be the same again for anyone who had the privilege of studying with him. Or in his own words ‘your days of solely enjoying a museum or art will be over. Forever’. 

During his career in law enforcement, Dick fought organised crime and terrorism, mostly within the Netherland's Undercover and Sensitive Operation Unit. In 2005, he left policing to take on the role of director of security for the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. Over the next ten years he worked with this award-winning museum developing an OCE matrix which challenged traditionally reactive methods of museum risk management and instead took on a proactive security approach which focused on preventing incidents before they happen.  

While working at the VGM and after starting his own security and risk training consultancy, Dick served as the Van Gogh Museum's chief investigator working together with law enforcement authorities towards the eventual recovery of two stolen works of art by Vincent Van Gogh: View of the Sea at Scheveningen and 
Dick receiving the confirmation
that the two Van Gogh paintings recovered
from drug lord Raffaele Imperiale
were the art works stolen
during the 2022 Van Gogh Museum heist.
Congregation Leaving the Reformed Church in Nuenen. 

These paintings were stolen from the Van Gogh Museum in 2002 and successfully recovered 14 years later in coordination with Italian and Dutch law enforcement after it was determined that the paintings were held by one of the leaders of a Camorra affiliated drug trafficking clan operating throughout the Bay of Naples, the Netherlands and Spain.

Even after the paintings were recovered, Dick's security guard instincts carried on, even during the press event at Naples Museo Nazionale di Capodimonte when this recovery was being celebrated.  In a room filled with over two hundred members of the press and law enforcement officers, Dick stood guard over the two Van Gogh paintings as if they were heads of state, ensuring that they were well protected. 

Besides these memorable recoveries, Dick was also active in several other ways for ARCA. In Lebanon, he was one of our key instructors in a specialised training program for countering antiquities trafficking in the Mashreq, a joint collaboration between UNESCO with ARCA along with other affiliated NGOs working on art and heritage crime in conflict, post conflict and transit countries. 

Dick also stepped in to provide online eLearning courses when the COVID pandemic made our summer training program too risky, and assisted ARCA in any way he could, using his expertise, wide network, and endless energy to advance the mission of our association in the fields of cultural property protection.

Having him here to teach with and for ARCA was a profound gift.  One that we will miss dearly. 

We are incredibly grateful for everything he has done for the association and for the whole ARCA family of alumni, professors, staff, and volunteers, all of whome will miss him tremendously.

Our thoughts are with Dick’s wife Petra, his daughter Simone, his granddaughter Kato Marie, his son in law Wouter, and his bonus daughter Barbara. 

A condolence service will be held on Tuesday, the 19th of July at 7:00 pm in Zaandam. 

The pain of this hard good-bye is our heart’s tribute to the privilege to knowing, learning, and working with him. 

Rust zacht, beste makker,

ARCA Alumni
ARCA Professors
Edgar Tijhuis, academic director
Noah Charney, founding president
Lynda Albertson, CEO

Ohhh I am so sorry to hear this. He really did stand out and I loved all the stories he shared with us about the museum. I will always remember him. 
Please stay strong. I know deep in my heart that he will stay alive inside all of us. No one forgets a friend and a professor....he worked so hard in his careers and passed on knowledge and changed us all. I say this with a tiny tear in my eyes. I don't think I can ever forget what he gave us at ARCA. Please know that he will live forever. You will see and feel him in every course you succeed in. You all made it happen. Stay strong for his sake. 🌸❤️  --Rania Kataf - ARCA 2016

Dick was so very important and he did it through his heart. There are tons of people who insist you listen to them and respect their authority, but he never did that. He was always himself and that assurance and humor made you want to be near him, learn from him, work with him. -- Summer Clowers - ARCA 2013

Very sad to hear this. Such good memories from Dick’s course, especially at the museum trip. All the best wishes to Petra, family and friends. --Max Van Steen - ARCA 2019

I’m so very sorry to hear this 😞 Please pass our love on to Petra and the family. Dick was an incredibly generous, kind and gifted individual. He will be missed.  --Alexandra Taylor - ARCA 2019

Goodbyes really hurt when the story is not finished and the book has been closed too soon.  I will truly and deeply miss you my dear friend.  --LA

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