Cabinet comes with extra cultural money, but sector fears its too little

Be smoother with corona support and structurally invest more in culture. The Council for Culture advised this earlier this month. The cabinet allocates extra money, but does not take over all the advice.

On Monday, the House of Representatives is debating the cultural budget. The culture council therefore calls again: really comes over the bridge with more money. Without additional support, institutions are threatening to fall, says chairman Kristel Baele to Nieuwsuur. โ€œThe sector has proved agile but not resilient.โ€

Self-employed people the brunt

After a year and a half of corona, the sector is standing, but shaky, says Baele. โ€œCertainly, the cabinet has developed support packages and with the help of that support, the field survived. But those packages did not end up well with self-employed people. Many of them are therefore threatening to leave the field.โ€ By the way, it was often a choice of the institutions to be the first to cut back on self-employed people.

As of October, the emergency support stopped. Afterwards, it turns out too early, says Baele. โ€œOur expectation is that you will need that support again. We fear that the number of visitors will be disappointing because of the restrictive measures and because people stay home more.โ€

How do cultural institutions themselves look at the state of their sector after a year and a half of corona crisis? Nieuwsuur stopped by the symphony orchestra Phion in Arnhem and youth theatre company De Toneelmakerij in Amsterdam to ask them:

The Council for Culture makes three proposals. First of all: extend the corona acoulance. This year, culture minister Ingrid van Engelshoven decided that cultural institutions need to meet fewer demands, such as certain numbers of visitors and performances, in order to receive a subsidy. Baele: โ€œWe say, extend that coulance until the end of 2024.โ€

Cultural institutions normally receive a commitment to subsidy for four years. The council‘s second advice is to extend that so-called cultural planning period once until 2026, which gives companies and orchestras breathing space to recover, says Baele, because they are longer assured of enough money.

Thirdly, there must be structurally extra money to culture, says Baele. โ€œThe cultural sector is actually structurally underfunded. You can notice this especially in the weaker areas that no longer have meat on the bone. Think of the tremendously declining number of music schools and libraries. Amateur art is also running hard backwards in the Netherlands.โ€

Van Engelshoven has already announced that it will indeed be more than happy with the subsidy requirements for longer. Institutions also receive support for the income they lack because fewer visitors are allowed to enter the hall at performances and concerts.

Baele hopes that the minister will also take over the other advice after Monday. โ€œThe damage from the 2011 cuts has still not been repaired. Of course, cuts were also made in other sectors at the time. But in other sectors it has already been invested, this has not yet happened in the cultural sector.โ€

The children’s opera Hans and Griet plays during the Christmas holidays in Amsterdam and can be seen until January. The concert Glowing strings by Phion under the direction of conductor Maxim Rysanov is still to be visited this weekend.