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The structural budget for culture was 34% lower in 2013 than in 2010.

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Netherlands/ 6. Financing of culture  

6.1 Short overview

In the Netherlands, the public expenditure for culture is organised at three levels of government: central government (the state), the provinces and the municipalities (see chapter 3.2). Providing almost 60% of the public expenditure for the arts and culture, municipalities are the most important contributors financially speaking. Central government is responsible for almost 30% and the provinces for less than 10% of public expenditure on the arts and culture. In 2012, the total budget for arts and culture of all three levels of government together was approximately EUR 3.3 billion (see Table 1 in chapter 6.2.2. Since 2013 Statistics Netherlands (CBS) no longer collects statistic information on public expenditure at three levels).

The total government budget in 2017 amounted to EUR 264.4 billion in total. The Ministry of Education, Culture and Science will receive EUR 33.8 billion (Miljoenennota 2017). Within this ministry, education and science receive by far the biggest amount.

In 2000, the central government budget for the arts and culture (excluding the media) was 525 million EUR. Over the ten years that followed, the total budget for the arts and culture grew by more than 400 million EUR, up to 991 million EUR in 2010. The amount should be adjusted, taking into account an overall inflation rate of 22% during this period. In the same decade, a few big governmental heritage institutions were changed to the budget of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (National Archives, The Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands). In view of the above, the budget for culture remained fairly stable, with the exception of some incidental spending financed by the Dutch gas revenues. (source: Vinkenburg Boekman 95, p 96).

In 2014, the national government's total spending on culture was EUR 709 million. EUR 487 million of this was spent on the national basic infrastructure, including EUR 333 million on the institutions in the BIS which receive funding during the four-year period, while the remaining 154 million EUR went to the cultural funds. In addition, EUR 80 million was spent on the care for monuments, EUR 10 million on cultural education, EUR 61 million on the National Archive and Regional Historical Centres, and EUR 18 million on library innovation (Cultuur in Beeld 2015, 16).

Budget cuts

In 2011, the then State Secretary of Culture, Halbe Zijlstra (Cabinet Rutte I 2010-2012), presented the government's cultural budget - marked by cuts of 200 million EUR. Instead of spreading the reduction of the budget equally over the total number of cultural institutes, the cabinet made targeted choices in allocating the reduced funds. For the years 2013 and 2014, central government earmarked additional money for "friction costs" which resulted from the budget cuts. In 2010, the structural budget for culture was 991 million EUR; in 2013, it was an estimated 746 million EUR, with a one-off amount of 100 million EUR to compensate for the so-called friction costs. Compared to 2010, the structural budget declined by 24% in 2013 (source: Vinkenburg Boekman 95). 


A considerable proportion of the Dutch media is also funded by the three levels of government. In 2011, the total budget for the media was 1.1 billion EUR. Central government is the most important subsidy source for the media. It provides almost 85% of all grants to this sector, followed by the provinces with over 13%. The municipalities provide only 1.8% of the total media budget (see Table 1 in  chapter 6.2.2). The budget cuts established by the Rutte I Cabinet (2010-2012) have fundamentally affected the media. Reductions included a cut of 100 million EUR from the budget of Netherlands Public Broadcasting, or the NPO [Nederlandse Publiek Omroep]. In 2013 however, Cabinet Rutte II (2012-) decided to reduce the (additional) budget cuts from 100 million to 50 million EUR.

Chapter published: 19-03-2017

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