10 museums face closure amid financial support scheme tangle

The museum of bags and purses has already closed. Photo: Bert Knottenbeld via Wikimedia Commons
The museum of bags and purses has already closed. Photo: Bert Knottenbeld via Wikimedia Commons

Some 10 museums in the Netherlands face permanent closure in the next six months while around 260 museums said they may only last another year, a survey by museum association NMV has shown.

The NMV partly blames a bureaucratic tangle of conflicting municipal and government schemes to help them during the coronavirus pandemic. For example, extra local authority money, is being subtracted from the amount given to museums to pay their staff under the NOW scheme, NMV spokeswoman Janneke Visser told the Volkskrant.

The first museum to close its doors was the Amsterdam handbag museum in April which cited lack of sponsors and subsidies. One of the other ten museums under threat is the Lace Factory in Horst in Limburg, the only small-scale working lace factory left in Western Europe.

‘We will have depleted our reserves by June,’ spokeswoman Marcella Dings told the paper. ‘I don’t know where we’ll go from there.’

One in 10 museums in the Netherlands is private and do not get any state support at all.  These include the Photography Museum in Maastricht where director Erik Jong is trying to generate extra income. ‘We want to start a gallery where photographers can sell their work,’ he said, ‘but times are difficult and coronavirus has been a big blow.’

The NMV has urged the government and MPs to make sure the emergency support for museums and other cultural institutions actually ends up with the institutions who need the cash.

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