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Netherlands/ 2. General objectives and principles of cultural policy  

2.1 Main features of the current cultural policy model

A planning system

According to the Cultural Policy Act 1993 (Special Purpose Funding)[Wet op het specifiek cultuurbeleid], the Minister of Education, Culture and Science is obliged to present a policy memorandum every four years. This policy plan reviews all foreseen and completed cultural policy activities. The predecessor of these cultural policy documents, the Arts Plan [Cultuurnota], was drawn up in 1988. It was extended to become today's Culture Memorandum, a four-year planning document on cultural policy spending, to include the arts, museums, monuments, archives, libraries, performing and creative arts, film and literature, architecture and urban planning. According to the government, the financing system allows art and cultural institutions to adopt long-range programmes in the knowledge that they have sufficient financial support. The culture minister is, by law, responsible for creating conditions conducive to maintaining, developing, and disseminating (both socially and geographically) cultural expression, or expanding it in any other way. 

Cultural policy

In June 2011, Halbe Zijlstra (Liberals), the then State Secretary for Culture of the Rutte I Cabinet (2010-2012), published the policy memorandum for the period 2013-2016, Meer dan kwaliteit [More than Quality]. In this memorandum, Zijlstra detailed the announced budget cuts on culture. From 2013 on, the cultural budget was reduced by EUR 200 million.

In 2013, the Minister of Education, Culture and Science Jet Bussemaker presented her vision for culture in the policy letter Cultuur beweegt: de betekenis van cultuur in een veranderende samenleving[Culture moves] (see chapter 4.1). She pays specific attention to the social value of art and culture. Although the tone of her vision for culture is different, a large proportion of the changes and budget cuts in the cultural sector initiated by Zijlstra remain unchanged. Since 2013 the budget slightly raised, though, targeted at additional programmes.

In June 2015 Minister Bussemaker (Social-democrats)presented her letter Ruimte voor Cultuur [Space for Culture]. It contains the principles for cultural policy in the period 2017-2020 and for the national basic infrastructure, meaning the cultural institutions which receive state funding. After the cuts in the cultural sector, instigated by Halbe Zijlstra (Liberals), Bussemaker’s budget is slightly increasing. Over EUR 18 million will be made available to artists and cultural institutions for the development of young talents, innovation and cooperation (see chapter 4.1).

Cultural institutions wishing to apply for a structural subsidy for four years (within the cultural policy period) are required to submit an application one year before the start of a new cultural policy period. Since 2006, the subsidy requests from smaller cultural institutions are submitted to the public cultural funds (see chapter 8.1.2). A rearrangement of cultural institutions was realised, redesigning the dividing line between institutions that were allocated to the national basic infrastructure. The funds gained more responsibility; besides project-based subsidies they can also acquire structural 2 and 4 year-subsidies.

Chapter published: 07-03-2017

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