Don’t Allow Priceless Art to Be Locked Away By the Rich

Target: Johann Schneider-Ammann, President of Switzerland

Goal: Open free ports containing private art collections to the public.

Millions of rare and priceless art pieces are being locked away in free ports, hidden away where no one can see them. Free ports have become increasingly popular because they are tax-free storage places where the wealthy can keep art, waiting for its value to grow ever larger. Art is not meant to be hidden in dark buildings where no one can ever see them. With most of the free ports being in Switzerland, the Swiss government should have them opened to the public so that these masterpieces can be properly appreciated.

There are estimated to be over one million art pieces in the Geneva Free Port alone, including ancient Roman statues and paintings by Picasso and van Gogh. Many rich people favor these free ports because it allows them to avoid paying sales tax on these expensive masterpieces. For example, if someone bought a $50 million painting in New York, they would have to pay a four million dollar tax. But if they ship it to a free port in Switzerland, that tax disappears until the piece is brought back to New York.

Not only that, but many art collectors are finding it lucrative to buy art just to keep it until its value has risen astronomically. In essence, they are reducing art to the level of stock shares. Art is so much more than that; it is a celebration of human experience, and it only makes sense that it is shared with other humans. Demand that the Swiss government open up these free ports so that everyone has a chance to witness the beauty of these masterpieces.


Dear President Schneider-Ammann,

There is a large concentration of free ports in Switzerland, which allows wealthy people to lock priceless art pieces away from all human sight. These people do this because they are trying to make money off of the art’s increasing value while at the same time avoiding taxes. Art is not meant to be hidden away, stacked in dark rooms while its value increases like stock shares. That is why these free ports should be opened to the public, so that everyone is able to see beauty of these masterpieces.

Opening these free ports would be mutually beneficial to both the public and the owners of the art pieces. The free ports are climate-controlled and have fire-proof walls, so these masterpieces are safe and well-preserved. The owners can still avoid taxes and sell the art once it has a desirable value. The only difference is that now other people can also appreciate the art works.

For the sake of the meaning of art, please open these free ports to the public.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Fred Merz

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