The Kunsthal Museum in Rotterdam is closed today (October 16, 2012) after paintings by world famous artists including Picasso, Monet, Matisse, Freud and Gauguin were stolen from its premises in the early hours of the morning.

BBC News have reported that the police in the Netherlands have confirmed that the works of art were taken at around 03:00AM local time (02:00AM BST). A spokeswoman for the museum told the AFP news agency that the police were alerted when the alarm was activated but by the time they arrived, the thieves had already left.

Amongst the most famous paintings that have been taken from the museum are Monet's Waterloo Bridge, Picasso's Tete d'Arlequin, Matisse's La Liseuse en Blanc et Jaune and Freud's Woman with Eyes Closed, as well as Monet's Charing Cross Bridge, Gaugin's Femme Devant une Fenetre Ouverte, dite La Fiancee and Meyer de Hann's Autoportrait. A police statement revealed “An initial investigation suggests that the robbery was well prepared” and the investigation into the theft is currently centered in videotape footage from the area. Police have called upon witnesses to come forward with information about the crime.

The pieces of art that were taken were all from the Triton Foundation, a collection of avant garde artworks, including works by Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol. They were being shown at the museum as part of its 20th anniversary celebrations. It was the first time that the entire collection had been displayed together at the same time.