Town with secret Nazi gold begs treasure hunters to stop looking

The trove was said to have been buried by four German soldiers in WW II. The National Archives says they are "overwhelmed by interest."

 Illustrative image of a treasure map.  (photo credit: STEVEN JOHNSON/FLICKR)
Illustrative image of a treasure map.
(photo credit: STEVEN JOHNSON/FLICKR)

Locals of a town in the Netherlands are agitated after a map designed to reveal the location of treasures hidden by the Nazis during World War II was made public for the first time, causing treasure hunters to flock to the town. 

A World War II-era map was released at the last week by Dutch authorities. It marks the spot where Nazis buried a small fortune of looted treasure as they retreated from the Netherlands in 1945. The National Archives says they are "overwhelmed by interest," but the local council is urging caution from treasure searchers.

The trove was said to have been buried by four German soldiers in WW II and has never been found. The map indicates the treasure is buried near the town of Ommeren in the municipality of Buren, central Holland and reportedly has been searched for in the past. 

The map was kept in the National Archives of the Netherlands for decades; only now can the public go and see it as well as hundreds of other World War II-era documents since the Archives declassified them as part of their annual Open Access Day on Tuesday.

"Experts point out that the area is close to the frontline of the Second World War. Searching there is dangerous because of possible unexploded bombs, landmines, or grenades. We, therefore, advise against searching for the Nazi treasure."

Buren council
 World War II Ammunition (credit: Wikimedia Commons) World War II Ammunition (credit: Wikimedia Commons)

The loot is believed to be worth $19.1 million, the Guardian reports, and is thought to have been stolen after a bank was bombed in the city of Arnhem, containing four ammunition cases laden with coins, watches, jewelry, and diamonds. 

A dangerous search

The Buren council website warned in a statement on January 5 that "experts point out that the area is close to the frontline of the Second World War. Searching there is dangerous because of possible unexploded bombs, landmines, or grenades. We, therefore, advise against searching for the Nazi treasure."

Experts theorize that the treasure could have been already ransacked by numerous people from local Dutch villagers, to retreating Nazi soldiers, to Allied forces that liberated the Netherlands, during the rough end of WWII. But that's not enough to stop the inquiring minds who gathered in the area this week.

The Battle of Arnhem

Annet Waalkens of the National Archives said in an interview with Dutch media outlet Omroep Gelderland that "during the defense of Arnhem, there was an explosion at a branch of the Rotterdamsche Bank on the Velperweg. German soldiers put loot in their coats at the scene."