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Fun on Friday: A Moving Nightmare

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I hate moving.

We moved from Kentucky to Florida about a year ago. It wasn’t fun. It was stressful. I lost things.

Now, imagine moving $11.7 billion in gold bars and coins.

No thanks!

But Netherlands’ central bank recently did just that. It moved 14,000 gold bars and about 1,000 boxes of gold coins.

The Royal Dutch Military Police coordinated the move, because, you know, you probably don’t want to trust ACME Moving with $11.7 billion in gold. Those guys tend to lose things just like I did. And I’m guessing their insurance probably wouldn’t cover the loss.

On a side-note, I don’t think I’d want to be the guy that has to tell some government officials, “Oops, we seem to have misplaced a box of gold coins.” The response would probably be along the lines of, “Oops, you’re going to prison.”

At least the move was a short one – just 12.5 miles from the central bank’s headquarters in Amsterdam to a safe in the nearby city of Haarlem.

Security was tight. The truck convoy was guarded by armed military police, police motorcycle outriders and a police helicopter patrolling overhead. According to a police statement, the  “carefully planned operation went smoothly and safely.”

In other words, nobody got shot. I’m pretty sure if anybody had tried to interfere with the move, shooting would have been swift and precise.

The move came ahead of the scheduled renovation of the central bank headquarters. But it’s apparently not the last stop for the country’s gold hoard. Eventually, the gold will make its home in a yet-to-be-constructed vault in the central town of Zeist.

By the way, that’s not all of the country’s gold. The Netherlands’ central bank also stores some of its gold reserves in the US, Britain and Canada.

The Netherlands’ gold-hoard ranks as the 10th-largest in the world. The Dutch only hold 612.5 tons of gold, a paltry sum compared to the US’s 8,133.5 tons. But it makes up 71.4% of the country’s monetary reserves.

Back in 2014, the Netherlands moved some of its overseas gold holdings back from the United States. This has been a growing trend. Countries want to keep their gold close to home. Can you blame them? I really like my neighbor. He brings me fresh eggs from time-to-time. But I’m not trusting him with my gold.

Anyway, that sounds like an even bigger moving nightmare – transporting gold across the ocean. Again…no thank you! But I can understand why they went through the hassle. As the saying goes, you don’t really own it if it’s not in your possession.

Gold repatriation underscores the importance of holding physical gold where you can easily access it. Gold-backed exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and “paper gold” have their place. But true security and stability come from physical possession of precious metals. That’s exactly why the Netherlands and a lot of other countries have brought their gold home.

Fun on Friday is a weekly SchiffGold feature. We dig up some of the off-the-wall and off-beat stories relating to precious metals and share them with you – with tongue firmly planted in cheek. Click here to read other posts in this series.

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About The Author

Michael Maharrey is the managing editor of the SchiffGold blog, and the host of the Friday Gold Wrap Podcast and It's Your Dime interview series.
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