Friday 03 April 2020

Dutch councils have 42,000 ‘works of art’ in stock

Artist paints picture close-upAlmost 30 years after the end of a scheme allowing local councils to give artists social security benefits in return for art, some 42,000 items are still in storage, current affairs show Nieuwsuur reports.

In total, almost half the country’s 391 local councils responded to Nieuwsuur’s request for information about the art they had acquired under the BKR scheme. Councils were given almost 300,000 items during the 30-year period the scheme was in operation.

‘Some of it is in windy attics, others in damp cellars,’ Rik Vos, who used to manage the national government BKR collection, told the programme. ‘It is high time councils did something about it, whether they put it on show or give it away.’

Rotterdam has the biggest collection of BKR art – some 15,000 items – followed by Groningen with 14,000.

Many councils are in the process of disposing of their items. For example, Alkmaar got rid of 2,500 items by returning them to the artists and destroying the rest. has been free for 13 years, but now we are asking our readers to help. Your donation will enable us to keep providing you with fair and accurate news and features about all things Dutch.
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