Cash-strapped theatres and cultural institutions are to get a €482m bailout to generate work in the arts sector, culture minister Ingrid van Engelshoven has told MPs.
The measure, which comes in the wake of an earlier package worth €300m, is separate from general wages and bridging support schemes, and brings the total investment in the sector to €1.6bn.
The second package, to be rolled out in the first six months of next year, is meant to generate work for directors, script writers, actors, technicians, theatre makers and artists, the minister said.
Almost €50m has been set aside to stimulate commissions while public broadcaster NPO will be given €10m to provide ‘a national podium’ for theatre and other productions.
‘We need the cultural and creative sector, especially in times of crisis. It enriches our lives, and has the ability to bind people together and surprise them. It also provides jobs and incomes to many people,’ the minister said.
Some €40m will go to independent theatre producers who were cut out of earlier measures and who had made investments in productions which then had to be cancelled. Part compensation, the money will also go towards new shows for next year’s in order to preserve jobs.
Local authorities will also be allocated €150m to support the local cultural infrastructure.
Arts Council chairwoman Marijke van Hees said she hoped local councils would not use the €150m to fill up the financial hole left by deferred rents. ‘I hope they will chalk those up as a loss and spend the money to keep artists in work, she told the Volkskrant.
Van Hees said that even if a cornavirus vaccine becomes available it will take at least five years before the cultural sector is up and running again.