COMPENDIUM CULTURAL POLICIES AND TRENDS IN EUROPE
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Libraries, cultural education, amateur arts, performing arts and museums will be especially affected in expected cuts to municipality budgets.

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Netherlands/ 8.4 Amateur arts, cultural associations and civil initiatives  

8.4.1 Amateur arts and folk culture

Characterisation of the amateur arts sector

Amateur arts are an important form of social and cultural activity and constitute an enormous sector in the Netherlands. The National Centre of Expertise for Cultural Education and Amateur Arts [Landelijk Kennisinstituut Cultuureducatie en Amateurkunst, LKCA], monitors the development of the sector. Since 2013, LKCA conducts a survey every two years among approximately 5 000 Dutch respondents from the age of six to collect data on artistic and creative leisure activities, which is called the Voluntary Arts Monitor (IJdens, 2016). In the intermediate year, respondents who expressed they were artistically or creatively active, are questioned again on specific issues relating to those activities.

The percentage of persons engaging in the arts and creative leisure activities was estimated at approximately 40 percent in 2013 and in 2015. Over 80 percent of the practitioners is active throughout the year, most of them almost every week or even on a daily basis.

The share of practitioners is higher among women (50%) than men (32%). Visual arts and crafts – in a very broad sense, including making clothes, quilting, etc. – and music are the most popular types of activity (see Table 6).

Table 6: Percentage of the Dutch population aged six years and older practising amateur arts in 2013, according to discipline, in percentages

Type of activity

6-11 years

12-19 years

20-34 years

35-49 years

50-64 years

65+

All

Visual

29

23

20

18

20

20

21

Music*

35

36

18

16

14

13

19

Dance*

29

16

9

4

3

3

8

Theatre

9

9

4

3

3

3

4

Creative writing

6

13

8

5

6

5

7

‘Media’ 

8

19

13

11

11

8

12

Total: one or   more

of these

61

53

39

36

38

36

41

Population of six years and older. Cross-tabulation of each activity (yes/no) by age-group. *V≥0,20 (p<0,001).’Media’ includes artistic photography, film/video and computer art. As many people practice more than one activity,  sums of percentages per column are higher than total averages.

Source: IJdens 2016, fig. 7, p. 10

Since 2007, participation in amateur arts activities, including taking classes, appears to have dropped with ten percent or more, depending on the sources. However, participation rates have not decreased further between 2013 and 2015, according to the LKCA Voluntary Arts Monitor (41 percent in 2015). Secondary analysis of data on other leisure activities suggests that all ‘traditional’ in- and outdoor leisure activities (e.g. fishing, playing cards, DIY) have suffered from competition with digital media and communication, the only type of leisure activity that people spend more time on than before.

Policies

Cultural education and participation, of which amateur arts is part, have been key objectives in Dutch cultural policy for a long time. For the period 2013-2016, cultural participation and education was identified as one of the four priority areas in the policy plan (see chapter 4.1). Since 2009, the Cultural Participation Fund has had an important task in implementing this participation policy. The fund supports a number of national organisations and events involving amateur arts. Furthermore, it implements a number of complementary programmes, for example to encourage children to play music and to promote cooperation between professionals and amateurs (see chapter 8.1.2).

Municipalities are the most important subsidy source for amateur arts. In 2011, 49 percent of the municipalities implemented budget cuts on culture. Libraries, cultural education, amateur arts, performing arts and museums are especially affected by municipal or provincial cuts on culture. Former Minister of Culture Jet Bussemaker aimed to improve the connection between the three levels of government regarding cultural education and amateur arts.


Chapter published: 12-02-2019

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