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The culture budget has increased slightly since 2013, although it is targeted at additional programmes such as development of young talent, innovation and cooperation.


Private sources are matching government funding of 25 million euro to provide music education in primary schools up to 2020.


Space for Culture (June 2015) contains the Minister’s principles for cultural policy and the state supported infrastructure in the period 2017-2020.

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Netherlands/ 4. Current issues in cultural policy development and debate  

4.1 Main cultural policy issues and priorities

Culture Moves

In 2013, the social-democratic Minister of Culture, Jet Bussemaker, presented a vision letter, Cultuur beweegt; de betekenis van cultuur in een veranderende samenleving [Culture moves: the meaning of culture in a changing society], the policy memorandum for the period 2013-2016 in which she reveals her vision of culture in an evolving world. The priority areas for the period 2013-2016 are: cultural education, talent development, creative industries, digitalisation and social dialogue.

The minister stresses the importance of arts and culture for society and their added value for society and the economy. Choosing ‘Culture moves’ as a motto, she argues that the arts have the power to invigorate both individuals and society as a whole. In her policy document, she addresses the future of culture, in which what she calls 21st-century skills will help to fulfill the needs of our evolving society.

Essential to the recent cultural policy approach is a balance between the intrinsic value of culture and the instrumental benefits for social and economic processes. Dynamic developments in society presuppose the powerful contribution of museums, music, theatre and other cultural domains. To support this dynamism, Bussemaker selects focus points and instruments to empower artists, as well as audiences, in order to create an effective interface between culture and society. She stresses the importance of individual developments, creativity and cultural education. Artistic excellence, the creative industries and digitisation are prioritised.

Cultural education. The government aims to introduce children and young people to culture in the course of their formal education, and to give them the opportunity to develop their talents in the area, as creators or consumers, on a professional or amateur basis. The main policy concerns in this regard are the quality of cultural education, the expertise of teachers, and cooperation between schools and cultural organisations and amateur arts. In a policy document about music education, the minister described her plans for music education for all children in the age from 4 to 12.  An important instrument for cultural education is the Culture Card [Cultuurkaart]. With this pass, as secondary school students receive a discount on cultural activities (see chapter 8.2.2). Furthermore, Bussemaker has presented a document concerning museum policy, Museumbrief: samen werken, samen sterker, in which she accentuates the importance of cooperation between museums and of strengthening their educational mission, plus the need to reach a wider audience (see chapter 4.2.2).

The programme "Cultural education with quality 2013-2016", carried out by the Fund for Cultural Participation, will be continued in the period 2017-2020. The aim is to strengthen the quality of cultural education in primary education by:

  • sustaining the quality of cultural education through collaboration between primary education and the cultural field;
  • strengthening cultural education in schools who participated in the scheme in 2013-2016; and
  • increasing the number of participating schools.

The Ministry will again invest EUR 10 million through the fund annually. Municipalities and provinces will match this amount (see chapter 8.3).

Artistic excellence. In the policy documents Ruimte voor talent in het cultuurbeleid (2014) [Room for talent] en Uitwerking visie op talentontwikkeling [Vision on talent development] the minister sets out her plans for talent development.

Space for Culture

In June 2015 Minister Bussemaker presented her letter Ruimte voor Cultuur[Space for Culture, 2015]. Itcontains 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 Secretary of State 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. The national basic infrastructure will be expanded by a symphony orchestra for jazz to pop; for this measure EUR 3 million per year will be available. Another EUR 5.5 million will be available for national museums, partly in order to keep the Tropenmuseum open. Museums receive in 2017-20 EUR 1 million extra for mutual collaboration and or with other institutions. The public cultural funds will again have the possibility to subsidise journals, as they are important for debate and reflection, and for developing the talent of young writers. For the youth companies in the national basic infrastructure and the Performing Arts Fund [Fonds Podiumkunsten] EUR 0.8 million extra will be available for dance, music, theatre and film.

Creative industry

In a letter to the House of Representatives, November 2015, Minister Bussemaker and Minister Kamp (Economic Affairs) outline the developments that the creative sector has undergone in recent years and describe how they want to work together with entrepreneurs, institutions, and other authorities to further strengthen the creative industry. A professional creative industry focuses on permanent learning, seizes opportunities abroad, and invests in public-private collaborations in the field of research. Therefore the government supports this.

Cultural policy 2017-2020

In March 2016 a policy letter on pop music was published Een investering in popmuziek [ An investment in pop music]’in which the minister stimulates pop talents to look beyond national borders.

In September 2016, Minister Bussemaker published Besluiten culturele basisinfrastructuur periode 2017-2020]. In this document she explains how she divides subsidies among the institutions in the national basic infrastructure in 2017-2020. Bussemaker focuses on stability in the sector. With an additional investment of over EUR 18 million she gives artists and cultural institutions more room for innovation, cooperation and development of young talents. She announces an additional investment of EUR 10 million. Priority areas are (again) talent, reaching a diverse audience and regional distribution. Quality is an important criterion. Bussemaker wants to encourage collaboration within and outside the cultural sector. The cultural funds are allowed to provide funding for four years instead of two years.Cultural institutions will be judged on quality, social values, education and participation. The Minister argues that all Dutch people should be able to enjoy a rich and varied cultural offer and cultural education is essential for young people to develop their creativity and shape their identity.

In total, 88 cultural institutions and 6 funds receive an amount of EUR 379.91 million per year. EUR 10 million extra is spend in the basic infrastructure, including the six cultural funds. This amount mainly benefits talent, cultural education and public outreach, especially in the region (see chapter 3.2 and chapter 4.1).

Chapter published: 13-03-2017

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