Museums must cooperate to soften cuts: culture minister

Junior culture minister Halbe Zijlstra has told the arts council it must look into whether cooperation and even mergers are possible among museums, news agency ANP reports.

In future, the minister wants museums to be considered for government subsidies on much stricter criteria than was the case in the past, such as entrepreneurship and efficiency.
Zijlstra is cutting €200m from the arts budget from this year but had said he would shield museums as much as possible. However, he said last June he wants the way museums are managed radically changed.
Fewer museums
The Netherlands has 545 registered museums, 236 of which are subsidised by local councils, 34 by provincial councils and 29 by the state.
According to Zijlstra, the museums can work together much more and better. ‘And in the case of mergers, this can lead to fewer museums,’ he writes to the arts council, says ANP.
He is also asking the arts council to come up with a way of valuing the collections. He said earlier the state will only subsidise collections of national or international importance. The arts council must decide if museums can employ joint curators or merge their collections.

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