Museum More reports the death of founder and billionaire Hans Melchers on the website. The former businessman started the modern-realist museum in Gorssel in 2012. In 2017 he opened a second branch in Ruurlo Castle, dedicated to the work of Carel Willink.
“We are extremely grateful to him,” writes the management of Museum More. According to them, Melchers consciously chose the Achterhoek as a business location “because he wanted to give something back to the region where he had lived with great pleasure for decades.” The collection partly consisted of the estate of former DSB Bank CEO Dirk Scheringa, who had to sell his art collection after the bank’s bankruptcy.
Melchers acquired his wealth as the owner of the Arnhem chemical company Melchemie, which he took over from his father in the 1960s. His company became discredited in 1986 for supplying raw materials to the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein. These were used to make poison gases such as mustard and nerve gas. The company is also said to have deliberately evaded an export ban to Iraq. The court in The Hague will rule next week in a case brought by five Iranian victims of poison attacks against two companies, including Melchemy. Melchers always maintained that the chemicals supplied were intended as pesticides for Iraqi agriculture.
He sold the chemical company in the late 1980s. He invested a large part of his wealth in shares in HAL, a Dutch investment fund, which grew his wealth exponentially. In this year’s Quote 500 he was in 13th place with an estimated fortune of 2.3 billion euros.
In 2005, Melchers’ daughter Claudia was kidnapped from a home in Amsterdam. She was held at a bungalow park. Her captors demanded 300 kilos of cocaine. She was released after two days because a ransom was promised. As far as we know, the ransom was never paid. Her kidnappers were later arrested and convicted.
‘I’m not going to sit and muse looking at a painting for hours’
The post first appeared on www.nrc.nl