Friday 15 January 2021

France to close down Amsterdam’s Institut Français

Photo: J.W.Boudewijn via Wikimedia Commons

Photo: J.W.Boudewijn via Wikimedia Commons

France is closing down its cultural institute in Amsterdam and is looking to sell its listed building on the Vijzelgracht, the Parool says, quoting teachers who work there.

The Institut Français will close on July 1 after 83 years in the city, and most of the 25 members of staff will be out of a job, the paper says.

The institute, which used to be known as the Maison Descartes, was set up in 1933 and has been located in a former orphanage on the Vijzelgracht since 1971.

The institute focuses on increasing awareness of the French language and culture. It  gives language lessons to some 4,000 people a year and has a library of some 35,000 books and films.

So far, 2,000 people have signed a petition against the closure, set up by staff.

A spokesman for the French embassy in The Hague told the Parool the sale of the building is part of a package of ‘reforms’.

The Dutch cultural institute in Paris, the Institut Neerlandais closed at the end of 2013 because its budget was withdrawn.

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