Another culture cuts blow for Dutch performing arts
A court in The Hague has paved the way for VAT on the performing arts to be increased from 6 percent 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, They claimed it was unfair because zoos, circusses, cinemas and sports clubs have not had their Value Added Tax increased. The court dismissed the claim. The organisations also said there is unfair competition because these kind of activities are similar to a visit to the theatre. European rules forbid a different fiscal treatment of similar activities.
Last week, Deputy Culture Minister Halbe Zijlstra announced 200 million euros of cuts in the arts budget. The cultural sector says 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 Value Added Tax will make tickets more expensive as of 1 July.
It is not known whether the performing arts organisations will appeal. On Monday, the culture cuts will be debated in parliament.
The cultural sector is planning a "Weekend of Civilisation" in protest against the measures. On Sunday, people will march from Rotterdam arriving in The Hague on Monday.
c Radio Netherlands Worldwide
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