One in four museums at risk of failing due to corona, says association


A quarter of Dutch museums are in danger of permanently shutting their doors after months of being temporarily closed due to the coronavirus outbreak, according to the Museums Association.

The museum trade organisation found in a survey of its members that private museums and small, regional museums are especially at risk. The Handbag Museum in Amsterdam was the first cultural corona victim and shut for good in April.

The association has made an urgent call for all museums to be compensated for the costs they incurred while the country was in lockdown as well as for the decrease in visitor traffic due to social distancing measures.

‘Appropriate support is crucial to get through the corona crisis,’ the association wrote in a statement. ‘The large and increasingly diverse public that museums throughout the country reach deserve that the huge cultural capital, that belongs to all of us, remains accessible to all.’

The Dutch government allocated 300 million euros to help the cultural sector earlier this year but those in the sector have already warned the bailout was insufficient. Only ‘important’ cultural institutions were apparently eligible for support money.

Directors of some of the country’s major museums, including the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam, the Centraal Museum in Utrecht, the Kunstmuseum in Den Haag and the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam wrote an open letter saying that without more support, the Dutch cultural sector would turn into ‘a wasteland.’

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