But the small chance of finding any valuables did not deter the amateur gold-diggers.

“I see groups of people with metal detectors everywhere,” 57-year old Jan Henzen told Reuters as he took a break from his own search.

“Like a lot of people, the news about the treasure made me go look for myself. The chance of the treasure still being here after 70 years is very small I think, but I want to give it a try.”

Former Ommeren mayor Klaas Tammes, who now runs the foundation that owns the lands that might hide the treasure, said he had seen people from all over the country.

“A map with a row of three trees and a red cross marking a spot where a treasure should be hidden sparks the imagination,” he said.

“Anyone who finds anything will have to report it to us, so we’ll see. But I wouldn’t expect it to be easy.”

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