The Netherlands

Country reports

THE NETHERLANDS

Boekman Foundation
Last update: June 2nd

In the publication Hoe komt de cultuursector uit de coronacrisis? (How will the cultural sector emerge from the corona crisis?), the Boekman Foundation takes stock of what is known — as of April 16th, 2020 — about the short- and long-term consequences of the corona virus for the Dutch cultural sector and the effectiveness of the announced support measures. An English summary of the publication can be accessed here.

Distribution additional support (May 27th)
The Minister of Culture announced how the additional support of EUR 300 million will be distributed. An amount of EUR 153 million will go to institutions that receive (multi-year) subsidies directly from the central government or through the state’s cultural funds. In addition, there are loans for monuments (EUR 50 million through the National Restoration Fund) and non-subsidised institutions (EUR 30 million via Culture+Entrepreneurship). EUR 48.5 million will go to municipalities and provinces to support their municipal institutions, and this will be distributed via the Mondriaan Fund, the Performing Arts Fund and the Netherlands Film Fund.

Additional support from the Dutch culture funds (May 12th)
The state financed culture funds will make EUR 15 million available for makers and institutions. Within their existing budgets, the six funds (Performing Arts Fund, Mondriaan Fund, Dutch Literature Fund, Film Fund, Creative Industries Fund and Cultural Participation Fund) have made room for specific measures aimed at the various sectors they serve. This amount is an addition to the existing measures and the EUR 300 million for the cultural sector.

Additional support for the cultural sector
Governmental news release, April 15th 2020:

“The Dutch government makes an additional 300 million euros available for the cultural sector. This support will help cultural institutions that are vital to the sector through the financially difficult first months of the corona crisis. It will also enable them to invest in the coming cultural season. In this way, the government supports the cultural sector and maintains the unique Dutch artistic product. This additional support also makes it possible to maintain employment in this sector as much as possible.

Minister Van Engelshoven (Culture) is happy with the extra money for this sector. “Culture matters. Precisely in this time of crisis it is clear how important art is: to offer comfort, distraction and hope. The government is also aware of this and is therefore making extra money available on top of the generic measures”.

300 million

The €300 million package now achieved is additional to the previous measures. “The main purpose of this package is to support institutions that are essential for the sector as a whole”, says Minister Van Engelshoven. By supporting precisely these crucial cultural organisations now, they will be able to ensure that, after the crisis, the flow of orders, including those to freelancers, is re-established. The Minister wants to start implementing these measures as soon as possible.

The additional €300 million is made up of four components. Firstly, money will be used to increase subsidies for institutions in the basic cultural infrastructure and for institutions and festivals that are supported on a multiannual basis by the six national culture funds (Rijkscultuurfondsen).

The government is also raising money to increase existing loan facilities from the National Restoration Fund for National Monuments. Thirdly, the six Rijkscultuurfondsen will receive a budget to support crucial institutions that carry the cultural infrastructure, particularly in regions and cities, such as important municipal and provincial museums, (pop) venues and film theatres. The fourth component will increase the borrowing facilities at Cultuur+Ondernemen. Critical private parties, such as free theatre producers, commercial festivals and art galleries, can turn to Cultuur+Ondernemen. Eligibility is conditional on maximum use being made of the generic measures.

Previous support measures

Independently of the additional support, the cultural sector can also use the general package of measures adopted by the government in mid-March. These include reductions in working hours for employees, additional support for freelancers and tax measures. In addition, at the end of March a coulance package for the cultural sector was implemented. The Minister is pleased that the sector has also introduced a voucher scheme to ensure that money for admission tickets remains in the sector as much as possible.”

The Boekman Foundation (the Dutch institute for arts, culture and related policy) monitors the daily developments regarding the Dutch cultural sector and COVID-19. A time line of important developments:

June 2nd
Research shows that only one third of the Dutch are concerned about the survival of cultural institutions. At the same time, only 4% donated actively, of which 29% expects to wait at least a year before visiting a cultural institution after the reopening on June 1st. 38% indicated that they are likely to visit a cultural institution less often in the coming period as well.
– Several left-wing parties want the Cabinet to allocate another EUR 700 million for arts and culture, in addition to the EUR 300 million of emergency support.

May 28th
– The economic emergency package (as announced on March 17th) will be extended by one month to October 1st. In addition, there will be a change in the new Fixed Charges Allowance scheme. This allowance, which many entrepreneurs in the cultural and creative sector can use, goes from a maximum of EUR 20,000 to a maximum of EUR 50,000.
– Municipalities, provinces and regional water authorities will receive an initial support package of more than EUR 566 million euros for the continuation of their services for inhabitants. This package also focuses on reimbursing costs for local cultural organisations, such as libraries, music schools, museums, municipal theaters and cinemas.
– The rights organisations in the cultural sector have collected EUR 10 million for an emergency fund. Half of this comes from the main debt collection companies and the other half is contributed by the Minister of Culture. The total amount will be used in different schemes, tailored to the needs of different organisations.

May 27th
– The Minister of Culture announced how the additional support of EUR 300 million will be distributed. An amount of EUR 153 million will go to institutions that receive (multi-year) subsidies directly from the central government or through the state’s cultural funds. In addition, there are loans for monuments (EUR 50 million through the National Restoration Fund) and non-subsidised institutions (EUR 30 million via Culture+Entrepreneurship). EUR 48.5 million will go to municipalities and provinces to support their municipal institutions, and this will be distributed via the Mondriaan Fund, the Performing Arts Fund and the Netherlands Film Fund.
– The task force for the cultural and creative sector states that the announced emergency package 2.0 is positive and necessary, but that it does not solve many of the previously identified bottlenecks, including for example the dire situation of self-employed in the cultural sector.

May 26th
– Dissatisfied with the current support package, a major online demonstration will take place from May 30th to June 5th (Culture in Action!). For seven days, twelve hours a day, people working in the culture sector will perform and explain why their work is so important.

May 20th
– Ministers and state secretaries of Economic Affairs and Climate, Finance, and Social Affairs and Employment have announced the emergency package 2.0. Accompanying their letter to Parliament is a study by Panteia into the economic effects of the corona crisis on sectors, including the cultural sector.
– The Dutch music industry launched the Love for Music campaign, highlighting the economic and cultural need to preserve the live music sector.

May 19th
– In a letter to the Minister of Culture, the Council for Culture writes about the importance of innovations in order to emerge resilient and agile from the current crisis. The Council assumes that the Minister will continue to apply the leniency policy for state subsidised institutions throughout 2021, giving them enough space to develop and implement innovations.

May 18th
– Aldermen for culture from the four largest Dutch cities state that the national government must step in, as municipalities do not have enough resources to help the cultural sector.

May 12th
– The state financed culture funds will make EUR 15 million available for makers and institutions. Within their existing budgets, the six funds (Performing Arts Fund, Mondriaan Fund, Dutch Literature Fund, Film Fund, Creative Industries Fund and Cultural Participation Fund) have made room for specific measures aimed at the various sectors they serve. This amount is an addition to the existing measures and the EUR 300 million for the cultural sector.

May 11th
– The municipality of Amsterdam is making EUR 17 million available for art and cultural institutions in need. The budget comes from the municipal emergency fund of EUR 50 million and benefits institutions that are already subsidized by the municipality.

May 8th
Research shows that music professionals lose 80% of their income and that the generic support measures are often insufficient.

May 7th
– The extra budget of EUR 300 million for the cultural sector is approved. 
– Because of the risk that the virus will revive, major events will be postponed until there is a vaccine for COIVD-19, the government announced.

May 6th
– At a press conference upon the request of Minister President Rutte, the following announcements we made: From May 11 onwards, libraries are allowed to open their doors to the public, permitted they visitors are able to keep 1,5 meter distance from one-another.  If the spread of the virus remains controlled, cinemas, concerthalls and theatres may open their doors under the following conditions: a maximum of 30 people and 1,5 meters distance between people at all times. Visitors need to reserve tickets in advance. Museums and monuments may open if visitors pre-order their tickets, so that 1,5 meters distance between visitors can be guaranteed. On July 1, if the virus has not peaked again, the maximum number of vistors to cinemas and cultural institutions can be expanded to 100 people. A decision regarding larger events and festivals will be revisited before September 1.
– In a letter to Amsterdam’s, Rotterdam’s and The Hague’s and Utrecht’s counselors for culture, the four largest state funded museums of the Netherlands called to demand more support from the government. The support package of EUR 300 million is inadequate, they state, as predominantly state funded institutes are eligible.

May 4th
– Kunstenbond (artists bond) and Platform BK (platform for visual arts), supported by the Visual Arts guild The Netherlands, call upon ministers Ollongren (Foreign affairs) and Van Engelshoven (Education, Culture and Science) for remission of rent for studios and houses of artists.
– Music professionals who are in financial difficulties due to the corona crisis will soon be able to turn to the Emergency Music Fund. The fund is an initiative of the music rights organizations Sena and Buma / Stemra, which have invested a total of 3.75 million euros. 

April 30th
– 400 Dutch museums receive an advance of EUR 10 million euros from the Museum card (a yearly subscription service). The advance is the size of a two-months worth of ticket sales. There is also the public campaign “Save your card, enjoy later”,  in which cardholders are urged not to make use of an extension of the turnaround time that they automatically receive, but to convert this into a “donation” to the museums. The Museum Association also calls for an administrative agreement between central government, provinces and municipalities for appropriate support for all museums. This includes a bridging fund.
– A loan facilitating the heritage sector is an effective and widely supported way to help ailing heritage organisations survive. Many thousands of jobs can be secured with this and soon about 50,000 volunteers will get back to work. This is the main result of a survey among the members of the Federation for the Conservation of Monuments (FIM).
– Music venues and clubs will remain closed until September 1 and are viewed as event and festival venues.  

April 29th
– In a letter to the Ministries of Economic Affairs and Climate (EZK), Education, Culture and Science (OCW) and Finance, the Association of Event Makers (VVEM) and the Association of Dutch Music Venues and Festivals (VNPF) insist on new measures for the corona crisis severely affected events industry.

April 28th
– Now that it is clear that the corona measures taken will be in effect even longer, Minister Van Engelshoven consults with the government about more measures to support the cultural sector. She also consults the provinces and municipalities to determine what is needed.

April 25th
– The theatre stages in South Holland affiliated with the VSCD (Theater and Concert Hall Directories Association) sent a letter to the province of South Holland stating that the current lock-down until June 1, will lead to 969 million euros in damage in the entire cultural sector. Any further extension will have irreparable consequences for the cultural infrastructure.

April 24th
– ‘No workers between two stools’ is the credo of a letter that the task force for the cultural and creative sector sent to Minister Koolmees and State Secretary Van Ark of Social Affairs and Employment (SZW), and to the Ministers of Economic affairs, of culture and the State Secretary for Finance. The letter refers to the acute financial need of various groups of workers in the cultural and creative sector, who currently are not entitled to financial support measures.

April 22nd
– The Boekman Foundation published an English summary of their article (How will the cultural sector em erge from the corona crisis?) about the short- and long-term consequences of the corona virus for the Dutch cultural sector and the effectiveness of the announced support measures.

April 21st
– During a press conference on the current COVID-19 measures, Prime Minister Mark Rutte announced that the prohibition of all events requiring a license will be extended until September 1st. This means hundreds of festivals cannot take place this summer. All museums, theatres, concert halls and cinemas will stay closed until May 20th.
– The Dutch trade association for professionals in the public event industry is warning that the event industry is on the verge of collapsing: 48,000 jobs are at risk and the estimated loss of turnover is EUR 3.5 billion.

April 17th
– The Netherlands Film Fund and streaming service Netflix are launching a new support fund for Dutch film and television productions that are experiencing acute problems due to the corona virus. Netflix is making EUR 1 million available and this amount will be supplemented by the Film Fund.

April 15th
– The Dutch government announced that an additional EUR 300 million will be made available for the cultural sector, on top of the generic measures for the Netherlands and previously announced measures for the sector such as the continuation and prepayment of grants.
– The survival of subsidised and unsubsidised art and culture is important for the future of the Netherlands, writes the Council for Culture in a letter to Prime Minister Mark Rutte. “Especially now, we ask you to consider the need for customization for the cultural sector. Make every effort and take targeted measures to increase the survival rate of the sector and contribute to controlling the coronavirus.”
In a letter on the website of Kunsten 92′ (the Dutch advocacy association for the arts and cultural heritage), 14 major cultural institutions write that they are grateful to the government for continuing their subsidies and easing the rules of the performance standards, but also express their concerns and offer concrete proposals.
– The 36 professional associations and unions, united in the Creative Coalition, argue that the generic financial measures of the government should be accessible for all cultural freelancers and employers, which is not the case right now.

April 14th
– The National Theatre and a group of large national institutions have sent a pressing letter to Minister of Culture Ingrid van Engelshoven, in which they express their concern for the entire cultural sector and ask for more attention for the current situation.

April 10th
– The Dutch art and culture world loses between EUR 85 and 100 million a week in turnover due to the corona measures that were taken mid-March. As of June 1st, this will amount to a total loss of EUR 969 million.
– The task force for the cultural and creative sector finds that the generic package of measures does not fit the structure of the labor market in the cultural and creative sector and asks the government for more support.

April 9th
– The ticket scheme Save your ticket, enjoy later has been launched. If an event cannot be moved to a new date or if the buyer of the ticket is unavailable that day, the buyer can receive a voucher, donate the ticket or ask for a refund. The scheme was drawn up with several sector organisations, the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and the Authority for Consumers & Markets.
– Dutch museums are experiencing great financial concerns due to their temporary closure. A quarter of the museums affiliated with the Museum Association (over 400) will probably not make it to the end of the year. This is evident from research among the members of the Museum Association, which calls on the Minister of Education, Culture and Science, the provinces and municipalities to support the museums.

April 7th
– The governmental Commission for Education, Culture and Science requests the Minister of Education, Culture and Science to provide further information about the Cabinet’s steps for the cultural sector in the coming period.
The Council for Culture wants to use the economic scenarios of the CPB (Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis) to identify the organisational, economic and personal consequences of the COVID-19 outbreak for the cultural sector in the medium and long term.

April 6th
– The Dutch copyright organisations for music call on radio stations to play as much national music as possible, to help Dutch musicians during the COVID-19 crisis.
– Several branch organisations joined the newly-formed alliance ENCORE (the Dutch Creative Industry Alliance). The alliance consists of entrepreneurs in the music, film and book industry and aims to provide insight into the consequences of the COVID-19 crisis for film and music producers, book and music publishers, film and music distributors, event organisations, festivals and collective management organisations for music and image.

April 2nd
In a pressing letter, the labor union for media culture has called on the House of Representatives to support workers and creatives in the cultural sector with a supplementary aid fund.

March 31st
– All museums, theatres, concert halls and cinemas will stay closed until April 28th, instead of April 6th. The same applies to schools, restaurants and cafes. People are urged to stay at home as much as possible. All events that require a license are still prohibited until June 1st.
– A taskforce for the cultural and creative sector (initiated by the Dutch advocacy association for the arts and cultural heritage) has sent a pressing letter to the Cabinet, stating that the general support package of the Dutch government and the additional measures of the Minister of Culture will not be enough to safeguard the sector.
– Left-wing parties from the Dutch opposition and artists published a manifesto in which they call for an emergency fund for the cultural sector.

March 30th
– A task force of the Professional Association of Film and Television Makers (NBF) keeps track of developments regarding the corona virus and provides an overview with relevant information and links for freelancers, employers and salaried personnel.
– The Dutch Audiovisual Producers Alliance (NAPA) also keeps a file on the consequences for the audiovisual industry, specifically for the practice of producers.
– In an interview, Minister of Culture, Education and Science Van Engelshoven discusses the Cabinet’s measures for the cultural sector. She also responds to the call for a support fund. “I realise we are not there yet. I am looking into whether we can also make a fund for the cultural institutions that are in danger of falling between the cracks.”

March 27th
– In a letter published today, Minister Van Engelshoven informs the Dutch Cabinet about short-term COVID-19 measures for the cultural and creative sector. Herein she references generic measures taken by the Dutch government such as a contribution in the form of a donation of EUR 4.000 for entrepreneurs in sectors directly affected by government measures to combat the virus. The allowance is tax-free. Culture specific measures that are mentioned are rent suspensions for cultural institutes whose building is in possession of the Dutch government. Subsidies are prolonged and deadlines for expenditure justification for projects from 2019 are extended by 2 months.

March 26th
A first inventory indicated that cultural associations, such as music associations and choirs, are expected to suffer from damages of at least EUR 12 million.

March 25th
– In a pressing letter to the Minister of Culture, more than a thousand actors and directors request financial support for theatre producers because of the consequences of COVID-19.

March 24th
– The culture funds have agreed to be lenient when assessing applications. Less strict rules will result in faster payments, even if the event in question has been cancelled. 

March 23rd
– All (cultural) events and meetings are prohibited until June 1st (instead of April 6th), even if there are less than a hundred people.
– The Netherlands Film Fund announces their first support measures, mostly aimed at removing the acute pressure on the film sector. Costs already made can be partly offset by early advances on subsidies. In addition, the Film Fund has reserved budget to cover additional costs that have been made due to the virus outbreak. The Fund also published their assessment of the effects of COVID-19 on the sector. 

March 20th/19th
– Multiple cultural organisations launched surveys to assess the impact in the cultural field. There are various possibilities for the sector to report on the economic consequences of COVID-19, which is essential for determining the necessary state support.

March 17th
– The government has decided to take special economic measures related to COVID-19. As long as necessary, the package provides billions of euros in monthly support. The measures ensure that companies can continue to pay their staff, they bridge the gap for self-employed workers and allow money to remain in companies through relaxed tax regimes, compensation and additional credit facilities. The government is also consulting with the cultural sector on how these generic measures can be applied or possibly altered if necessary.
– Kunsten 92′ (the Dutch advocacy association for the arts and cultural heritage) has sent a letter to the Minister of Culture, presenting an initial analysis and proposing an approach to a support package for the cultural and creative sectors. The letter was drawn up in consultation with and on behalf of a large number of organisations. Besides needing support, creatives also want to use their knowledge and innovative skills to solve the societal problems that arise from the coronacrisis.
– The Minister of Culture stated that she will ensure that the cultural sector can get through this time of crisis. She estimates that the loss for the Dutch cultural sector is between EUR 60 and 100 million per week.

March 15th
– The government took additional measures in its strategy to fight the coronavirus. Schools and childcare centres will close their doors until Monday April 6th. The same applies to bars, cafés, restaurants, sports clubs and gyms.

March 12th
– Gatherings of more than 100 people are to be cancelled throughout the Netherlands. This includes the closure of public places such as museums, concert venues, theatres, sports clubs and the cancellation of sports matches and other events. Universities and institutions of higher professional education are requested to offer online lectures instead of large-scale lectures. Primary schools, secondary schools, secondary vocational schools and childcare centres will remain open.
– A motion has been passed for developing a support package for the cultural sector in order to bear the consequences of the COVID-19 crisis. The Minister of Culture is consulting with the Minister of Finance on how to implement this motion.