Van gogh
The paintings were stolen from the Van Gogh Museum in 2002 vangoghmuseum

The Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam is "overjoyed" to welcome back two paintings that were stolen 14 years ago.

The priceless masterpieces Seascape at Scheveningen (1882) and Congregation Leaving the Reformed Church in Nuenen (1884/85) are available for public viewing from 22 March until 14 May in a new exhibition, aptly named "Van Gogh Returns".

Van Gogh Museum director Axel Ruger wrote in a message on social media he was "overjoyed" to welcome the stolen paintings back. Through its Twitter account, the museum is sizzling in anticipation for what promises to be a "fantastic day".

The two paintings were stolen on 7 December 2002 after thieves entered the museum, located in the heart of Amsterdam, through the roof.

They were found in Italy on 30 September 2016 as part of an investigation into organised crime in Naples.

Ruger said at the time of the discovery: "After all those years you no longer dare to count on a possible return. We owe a great debt of gratitude to the Italian Public Prosecutions Department, the members of the Guardia di Finanza investigation team, the Italian police, the Dutch Public Prosecutions Department, the liaison officers of the Dutch Public Prosecutions Department in Rome and everyone else involved."

In promoting the exhibition, the museum created two videos describing the process of recovering the paintings, one focusing on Ruger's journey and one highlighting the work of the Italian authorities.

Before returning to Amsterdam, the painting were on exhibition at Naples' Museo di Capodimonte in Naples until 26 February. Celebrating the Dutch-Italian collaboration, a banner at the entrance of the exhibition bears the message "Welcome home" in Dutch, Italian, and English.