Boost cultural citizenship says Arts Council

The government should be stimulating people to become cultural citizens, at home in the many languages and cultures surrounding them, said the Arts Council in its latest recommendations published on Tuesday.

Enjoyment of the arts and culture should not be an expensive luxury or a hobby but seen as a social necessity in a well-functioning multicultural society, the council said.
The council wants the government to boost spending on arts education, both inside and outside schools. There should be more recognition for amateur arts and the arts and culture sector should have a role in the government’s strategy for innovation, the council said.
In particular, emergency action needs to be taken to stimulate the role of Dutch literature in education, the council said. It also called for the setting up of two new city-based theatre companies in Maastricht and Utrecht.
Art is not a commodity. It should be judged on its ‘quality and impact’ rather than on visitor numbers or viewing figures, the council said.
The new government plans to cut spending on the arts by €50m as part of a shift towards a more profit-orientated arts policy. The arts and culture budget will also have to accept its share of a €250m package of cuts across the government’s entire subsidy package.
The performing arts sector has said the subsidy cuts will lead to a further increase in prices. It claims ticket prices rose 136% between 1996 and 2004.
Culture minister Ronald Plasterk said in today’s Volksrant that the upper gallery or ‘gods’ should make a comeback in the Dutch theatre. ‘Make the Friday night black-tie events a lot more expensive because people who attend those can afford it,’ the minister said. ‘Then hold a cheaper concert for students on a Wednesday afternoon.’

Thank you for donating to

We could not provide the Dutch News service, and keep it free of charge, without the generous support of our readers. Your donations allow us to report on issues you tell us matter, and provide you with a summary of the most important Dutch news each day.

Make a donation