Amsterdam to rescue the Melkweg
14 September 2007, AMSTERDAM – The municipality of Amsterdam is willing to grant a loan of maximum EUR 750,000 to the Melkweg at the end of this year to help the venue stave off bankruptcy.
14 September 2007
AMSTERDAM – The municipality of Amsterdam is willing to grant a loan of maximum EUR 750,000 to the Melkweg at the end of this year to help the venue stave off bankruptcy.
The loan is an interim solution to allow the venue to continue operating until extra revenue can be generated through sponsoring, changes to the programme, or a hike in ticket prices. This emerged on Thursday from a proposal from alderwoman for culture Carolien Gehrels.
In early July it emerged unexpectedly that the Melkweg had a deficit of EUR 1.8 million because of a recent renovation.
The venue had spent money on a renovation of its large concert hall before the funds had been secured.
Without help from the city the 250 people employed by the venue would be without a job.
The city gave a financial injection of a half million euro in July. The city also appointed a supervisor to look into the venue's financial affairs.
This supervisor has now concluded that the Melkweg can cough up EUR 550,000 of its own resources. Gehrels and the Amsterdam city council say management at the venue was censurable for spending the funds before financing had been arranged.
The concert hall is opposed to the rescue plan. "The proposal is an inordinately heavy financial burden that does not benefit the continuity of the Melkweg," management has written to Gehrels.
The venue does not think it can raise EUR 750,000 from sponsors and operations and wants the city to grant this amount as a subsidy rather than a loan.
Nor does the management think it has made any mistakes. The Melkweg had interpreted emails from a city official to indicate that the renovation could go ahead and that the city would find coverage for an amount of EUR 1.8 million.
The alderwoman has written to the Melkweg that she does not agree with this view.
Amsterdam thinks the Melkweg is too important a cultural institution to let go bankrupt. One tenth of all concerts in the capital take place in the Melkweg.
[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2007]
Subject: Dutch news