Statement on the proposed budget cuts in the Dutch cultural sector
The global economic crisis has impacted many countries, including the Netherlands. That is why the Dutch government has initiated an ambitious program of budget cuts in order to strengthen the economy and make it more dynamic.
These cuts will affect everyone and every sector. But eventually, they will make the Dutch economy financially stronger and more resilient. Against this background, the Dutch government has announced budget cuts for the cultural sector. The government believes that the cultural sector in the Netherlands has become too dependent on government subsidies. That is not healthy and must change.
Subsidies are not an entitlement. Maintaining the status-quo is not an option. The objective is to make arts and culture stronger, and prepare the sector for the future. That is why the government wants to reform the system of subsidies for arts and culture in the Netherlands.
Society as a whole should become more involved. The budget cuts, which are quite severe, are necessary. Rather than reducing funds for everyone, the Dutch government forces itself and the sector to make motivated choices.
This will also require an entrepreneurial approach, raising more private money, taking into account that after all, arts and culture are made for the public to enjoy it.
The cultural sector in the Netherlands is currently about 18 bln Euro in size. National subsidies amount to around 900 mln Euro. The government is proposing to cut that amount to around 700 mln Euro (that still amounts to around 44 € per citizen). The proposed cuts only affect subsidies at the national level; provinces and cities also subsidize the cultural sector in the Netherlands.