Another blow for Dutch performing arts
A court in The Hague has paved the way for taxes on the performing arts to be increased from 6 to 19 percent according to a verdict published on the judicial site Rechtspraak.nl
A number of large performing arts organisations had taken the case to court, claiming it was unfair because zoos, circusses, cinemas and sports clubs have not had their VAT Value Added Tax increased. The organisations compared these activities to a visit to the theatre and said taxing them differently would amount to a different fiscal treatment of similar activities, forbidden under European rule. But the court dismissed the claim.
Last week, Deputy Culture Minister Halbe Zijlstra announced 200 million euros of cuts. Experts say this will hit the arts hard and result in many thousands of people losing their jobs. In addition, ticket sales will drop severely as the extra VAT will make tickets more expensive as of 1 July.
It is not known whether the organisations will appeal the court's decision.
Culture supporters are planning a "Weekend of Civilisation" to protest the measures. On Sunday, a march will leave Rotterdam, arriving in The Hague on Monday - the day the culture cuts will be debated in parliament.
c Radio Netherlands Worldwide
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