With our deep love of Auvers-sur-Oise, we understand and have experienced the unique connection between Van Gogh and our village. We know that this link excites great passion, but also strong opinions, in the classic French tradition of democratic debate.
But the Tree Roots debate has become both futile and incomprehensible*. Since the end of July 2020, our ardent wish to share this site has been obstructed by measures that are pointless, legally invalid, and deeply regrettable for all involved. The Institut Van Gogh, Wouter van der Veen, who made the discovery, and the Serlinger family are powerless to share with the world this unique cultural heritage lying within arm’s reach.
The Mayor of Auvers-sur-Oise has declared both to the press and in writing that she awaits the opinion of the French Ministry of Culture and wishes to let the surveyors and lawyers finish their work before allowing the site to be made accessible.
The surveyors have cleared the the way but we are still awaiting permission to install the final protective fence which is ready to install and that is, in everyone’s opinion, the best and most appropriate way of protecting the site whilst allowing the public to view it.
* The Auvers-sur-Oise commune claimed that the tree roots are on public property. Previously it was said that the site could not been shown to the public because of a dispute over ownership.
The expert report states that the site and the roots are our property. The regional body of surveyors has confirmed this.
We have lodged an action for excessive use of power and abuse of process. This action does not prevent us from protecting the site in accordance with the measures approved by the Architecte des Batiments de France (a public council advising on the restoration and maintenance of important sites and monuments).