Local culture heads ask government for more money to prop up sector

Some government money will go to local cultural organisations. Photo: Depositphotos.com
Photo: Depositphotos.com

Local councils claim they do not have enough money to save theatres and other cultural venues from going under and are calling on the cabinet to free up more funds.

In an appeal to the government in the opinion pages of Sunday’s Volkskrant, culture aldermen and women Said Kasmi (Rotterdam) Touria Meliani (Amsterdam), Robert van Asten (The Hague) and Anke Klein (Utrecht) said the 300 million euro support package made available by the government to support the arts is not enough to save some of the Dutch cultural heritage from becoming ‘irretrievably lost’.

Local councils have already brought in measures such as bringing forward subsidies but do not have the means to offer more support, they said. ‘Unlike the government, local councils are not allowed to have a budget deficit. The challenges we will be asked to meet in the next few years will also put huge pressure on our finances,’ the aldermen said.

Council funding of the arts in all four cities put together comes to over €400m a year, while the government contributes some €584m. Around 114,000 people are employed in the sector.

Earlier this month, organisation for theatres and concert halls VSCD, calculated that as many as a third of its 127 associated members may not survive the coronacrisis measures. Some 100 out of 400 museums are expected to close their doors for good before the end of the year.

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