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Netherlands/ 7. Public institutions in cultural infrastructure  

7.1 Cultural infrastructure: tendencies & strategies

In accordance with the Cultural Policy Act, the Dutch government guarantees a financial contribution to a wide and varied range of cultural institutions and programmes. The cultural institutions directly funded by central government form the main part of the so-called Basic National Infrastructure (BIS). The BIS guarantees subsidies for a four-year period. Since 1997, the number of institutions with a four-year subsidy has increased substantially, to 84 in total. In 2006, the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science established a number of public cultural funds and provided them with public money. Each fund allocates money to cultural institutions or individual artists according to their specific aims (for a full list of these funds, see  chapter 8.1.2). In 2009, an amendment was added to the Cultural Policy Act, concerning smaller cultural institutions and companies, which were now no longer a part of the four-year cultural policy cycle. Their subsidy requests were instead to be submitted to the public cultural funds (see chapter 5 for more information about legislation on culture). In 2014 a total of 140 cultural institutions are being subsidised by one of the six funds in a multi-annual cycle. The funds also grant project-based subsidies (Cultuur in Beeld 2015, deel 2, 36.

In addition to these subsidies, provinces and municipalities also award grants (see chapter 3.2 for more information about the relationship between the three levels of government). Furthermore, central government implements policy programmes with other ministries or with public institutions, giving special attention to specific issues like education or philanthropy (see chapter 3.3 for the full list of intergovernmental cooperation).

The National Basic Infrastructure (BIS) 2017-2020

As a result of the recent economic recession, governmental budget cuts and rapid shifts in political views regarding subsidised art and culture, the number of institutions incorporated in the BIS has decreased enormously. In the period 2009-2012, 172 cultural institutions and seven public cultural funds were funded by central government. In the period 2017- 2020, however, this number fell to 88 cultural institutions and six public cultural funds (see chapter 7.2 for an overview of the BIS institutions for this period).

As in the period 2013-2016, the criteria for public funding in the national basic infrastructure in the period 2017-2020 are artistic quality and geographical spread. Other criteria are cultural education and participation, and social value.

Cultural institutions wishing to apply for a position in the national basic infrastructure are required to submit an application to the Council for Culture [Raad voor Cultuur] The Council for Culture decides content-wise on which cultural institutions should be part of the BIS

Media funds

There are two public funds regarding media affairs: the Co-production Fund National Public Broadcasting [Co-productiefonds Binnenlandse omroep] and the Dutch Journalism  Fund [Stimuleringsfonds voor de journalistiek]. These funds are not included in the national basic infrastructure, but are managed using different policy and cash flows (for more information see chapter 7.3). The Dutch Cultural Media Fund [Mediafonds] will be dismantled on 1 January 2017. The tasks of the fund will be taken over by the Dutch Public Broadcasting (NPO)  (see chapter 7.3).

Chapter published: 19-03-2017

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