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Netherlands/ 4.2 Specific policy issues and recent debates  

4.2.11 New technologies and digitalisation in the arts and culture

Digitisation in cultural policies

Besides education, talent development, creative industries and the social value of culture, according to Minister Bussemaker digitizing is a major theme of cultural policies. She believes that digitization offers a new perspective on the distribution and accessibility of culture. Therefore she has taken various initiatives. In the field of heritage, she launched the Digital Heritage Network, to strengthen cooperation between different heritage sectors. This network presented a National Strategy digital heritage in March 2015 (see chapter 4.2.2).

Other steps to make accessible digital culture are the new library law [Bibliotheekwet], which considers the creation of a national digital library. Another example is the large-scale digitization program Images for the future [Beelden voor de toekomst] of audio, video, photo and film, which was completed in late 2014. During seven years, a total of 91 183 hours of video, 22 086 hours of film, 98 734 hours of audio and 2.5 million photos from audiovisual archives was restored, preserved, digitised and distributed through various services. This material is now easily accessible for target groups such as schools and other educational institutions, as well as for the general public and the creative sector. In 2007, the government decided to spend EUR 154 million from the so-called Fund for the Reinforcement of the Economic Structure (FEZ) for this project.

Minister Bussemaker gives EYE Film Museum EUR 800 000 for the digitization of film heritage and the management and accessibility of digital heritage. From 2017 the ministry will invest EUR 1 million annually.

Increasing the social significance of culture through wider and better use of digital technology is a task for the whole cultural sector. Bussemaker follows the advice of the Council for Culture to take a sector-wide support for digitization function in the national basic infrastructure [Ruimte voor cultuur].

Digitisation of content

Heritage institutions and libraries are making enormous efforts to digitise their materials. Examples are Digital Heritage Netherlands, or DEN (see chapter 4.2.2), the digitisation and online availability of the Rijksmuseum collection, and the collaboration between the National Library and Google on digitising books published before 1870. In order to stimulate and increase digital access to cultural content, the minister has initiated closer cooperation between the National Archives of the Netherlands, the Cultural Heritage Agency, the National Library, the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision, Data Archiving and Network Services (DANS), Digital Heritage Netherlands (DEN), and other heritage institutions. Digital content can make physical facilities, such as museums and libraries, more attractive and meaningful, and vice versa. The culture minister aims to optimise the interaction between physical and digital content. In order to gain more speed in these processes, she announced a bill concerning collaboration and coordination between the national digital library and physical library facilities.

In April 2016 an assessment of the current state of affairs archiving and digitization of culture -producing institutions (national institutions for the performing arts, presentation settings, visual arts, design , e- culture), was published at the request of the Ministry of Education , Culture and Science and the Council for Culture. The report identifies three groups of institutions : a group where archiving and digitization is not a priority, a group with ambitions ( yet) to be implemented , and a small group of front runners.

Chapter published: 13-03-2017

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