Dutch councillors slam arts cuts
The new Dutch government’s proposed cuts will hit the arts and cultural sector disproportionately hard. The coalition programme says the arts and culture will “unfortunately” not be a priority over the coming years. Councillors responsible for culture in the nine largest Dutch cities have written to complain to the new Deputy Culture Minister Halbe Zijlstra.
They describe the decrease in arts provision and the “large-scale demolition” which will be caused as the cuts bite. The councillors hold the arts portfolios in Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague, Utrecht, Eindhoven, Maastricht, Arnhem, Groningen and Enschede; and are calling for urgent talks with Mr Zijlstra.
They fear that scores of cultural organisations, especially in the performance arts, will be hit hard and are warning that the damage resulting from the cuts will be irreparable. They believe the government’s plan to raise VAT on concert and theatre tickets from 6 to 19 percent will lead to smaller audiences.
The letter goes on to point out the knock-on effect of cuts in subsidies which will reduce the standing of arts organisations. Sponsorship deals will be cancelled as the groups are perceived as being below international standards. The councillors also regret the cutting of special subsidies WWIK designed to help artists work as one-man companies.
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