As freedom of expression is one of the main pillars of the Dutch cultural field and society, artistic freedom is secured and not an issue in the Netherlands. However, economic and social problems regarding labour within the cultural field do exist. To strengthen the position of both artists and professionals – a position that deteriorated due to previous government cuts and labour market changes – former Minister of Education, Culture and Science Jet Bussemaker invested EUR 400 000 in the cultural and creative sector in 2016. In response to a report by the Council for Culture and the Social and Economic Council on the worrisome situation of many cultural workers (Passie gewaardeerd), the Minister also commissioned the sector to develop an agenda for the labour market. The resulting Labour Market Agenda for the Cultural and Creative Sector 2017 – 2023 (Arbeidsmarktagenda culturele en creatieve sector 2017-2023)was published in November 2017 and formulated three main goals: structural social dialogue; strengthen the earning capacity; and improve the working conditions.
In the agenda, the sector also presented the Fair Practice Code, which is meant to be applied sector-wide. The code is based on the values of solidarity, trust, sustainability, transparency and diversity. This code offers a normative framework with guidelines for sustainable, fair and transparent employment and practices in the cultural and creative sector. Cultural organisations receive a Fair Practice Label when they meet the sustainable measures of the code. It should function as an instrument for the creative and cultural sector to improve the cultural labour market and make it future-proof.
In order to stimulate the
sector, the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science will support the further
development of the labour market agenda (with EUR 500 000 in both 2019 and
2020) and will play a role in the area of professional training and the
development of funding guidelines. Cultural funds will receive EUR 1.95 million
in both 2019 and 2020 for the continuation or development of compensation
schemes (respectively the Mondriaan Fund and the Performing Arts Fund NL) and for pilots regarding
specific labour market bottlenecks. To develop and professionalise the HR
departments in cultural institutions regarding sustainable employability, EUR
200 000 has been made available for both 2019 and 2020. In 2019, there is a
one-off contribution of EUR 1.5 million to improve the earning capacity and the
sector also received a wage and price adjustment of 2.5 percent. In 2021, the
start of the new subsidy period, a few trajectories will be incorporated within
the conduct of business of the sector and the conditions of the subsidy policy
(e.g. the Fair Practice Code).
To stimulate the mobility of artists, there are
several initiatives in the Netherlands. DutchCulture, a government funded foundation that promotes
Dutch culture worldwide, has a Mobility Info Point where they advise Dutch artists who want to
work abroad or foreign artists that work in the Netherlands. The Mobility Info
Point also participates in On The Move, the international network for cultural
mobility. For the funding of their international activities, Dutch artists can
apply for grants at many public funds and a few private funds. DutchCulture
also publishes an overview of these funds yearly (the Cultural
Mobility Funding Guide).
 After their first explorative report in January 2016, the Council for Culture and the Social and Economic Council published an official advice regarding the labour market of the cultural and creative sector in April 2017: Passion Appreciated (Passie gewaardeerd).