Is there buried treasure in the Netherlands from World War II? People are trying to find out

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A research file with a map that was released after reaching a 75-year confidentiality limit has caused a stir in the Netherlands over the past week.

On Jan. 3, the Dutch National Archive made public an old map believed to mark a spot in the eastern part of the Netherlands where millions of dollars worth of treasure were hidden by German soldiers during World War II.

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The maximum period of 75 years, during which the file with the map could be held confidential, expired.

The institute said the map was believed to reveal where Nazi soldiers hid four boxes of diamonds, jewelry, gold and silver that were looted following an explosion at a bank in August 1944, according to Reuters.

The map was collected from a German soldier by the institute, which, following the war, was tasked with tracing German capital in the Netherlands after the country was freed from Nazi occupation in 1945.

Since the release, amateur treasure hunters have flocked the area, wandering fields with shovels and metal detectors in hopes of striking it rich.

Anne-Marieke Samson, a spokeswoman for the National Archive, said to Reuters the institute undertook numerous failed attempts to find any treasure in 1947 and that the existence of it could never fully be confirmed.

“They never found it and if it existed, the treasure might very well have been dug up already,” Samson said.

Still, it didn’t stop hunters, figuring they had nothing to lose by trying, from doing a search in rural Ommeren, located on the country’s east side.

“Anyone who finds anything will have to report it to us, so we’ll see,” said former Ommeren mayor Klaas Tammes, who runs the foundation that owns the land where the treasure might be located, to Reuters. “But I wouldn’t expect it to be easy.”

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Keith is a member of Graham Media Group's Digital Content Team, which produces content for all the company's news websites.

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