3. Cultural and creative sectors
Last update: July, 2019
Before 2016, the conservation and management of Dutch cultural heritage was governed by various regulations and laws. Different definitions, procedures and safeguards resulted in a sectoral fragmentation of heritage legislation. To solve this, the Heritage Act (Erfgoedwet) was installed in July 2016. The act replaced six laws and regulations in the field of cultural heritage, including the Monuments and Historic Buildings Act (1988) and the Cultural Heritage Preservation Act (1984). The Heritage Act describes what cultural heritage is, how the Netherlands deals with movable cultural heritage, who is responsible for what and how the Netherlands monitors this. More specifically, the act provides rules regarding the following: conservation and registration of public collections; financial relations with state-financed museums; assessing objects from public collections; protection of public monuments and archaeology; restitution of looted art; finance and governance; and cultural heritage inspection.
The Cultural Heritage Agency is responsible for the preservation and maintenance of cultural heritage in the Netherlands. The agency, which is part of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, awards grants for monuments, historic buildings, archaeology and cultural landscapes, and implements the Heritage Act. The Cultural Heritage Agency is also a centre of expertise concerning the conservation and registration of museum collections. It manages part of the art collection of the government and supports the collection managers with knowledge, research and advice. The Cultural Heritage Agency also takes care of the online Collection Netherlands (Collectie Nederland) and is responsible for the Heritage Monitor, which presents facts and figures about cultural heritage in the Netherlands.
In 2018, the current Minister of Education, Culture and Science, Ingrid van Engelshoven, announced the heritage sector will receive EUR 325 million: “It is time for the next step by giving new life to buildings, making monuments sustainable and increasing the accessibility of historical sights. With these extra investments, we can pass our monuments on to future generations.” The corresponding policy focuses on conservation and repurposing, the living environment and the connecting force of heritage.
On top of the increased budget for monuments, Minister Van Engelshoven also announced that the Dutch government will invest an additional EUR 34 million in monuments throughout the country, such as the Dom Church in Utrecht (EUR 2.1 million), the Monastery of St. Anna in Venray (EUR 3.5 million) and the Church of Our Lady in Breda (EUR 4.9 million).
In the policy letter Heritage Counts (Erfgoed telt), Van Engelshoven explains her plans for the heritage sector for the period 2018-2021. Some important measures are:
- The tax deduction for maintenance of national monument buildings is converted into a subsidy scheme per January 1st, 2019. As a result, EUR 57 million remains structurally available for monumental maintenance.
- EUR 95 million will be made available for the restoration, repurposing and sustainability of monuments.
- The visibility and accessibility of historical places should be enlarged. A working programme regarding the digital accessibility of heritage, archives and collections was published in February 2019 by the governmental Information and Heritage Inspectorate (Werkprogramma 2019-2020: Overheidsinformatie en erfgoed beschikbaar voor iedereen). (More than five million artworks, monuments and objects are already digitally accessible via Collection Netherlands (Collectie Nederland). For more on heritage and digitisation, see chapter 2.4.)
- EUR 31 million will be made available for conservation and investigation regarding archaeological monuments, for example maritime archaeology.
- EUR 13 million will be made available to support municipalities in developing a plan for the future of monumental churches.
- To maintain the knowledge and skills regarding heritage, EUR 3.8 million will be made available for the training of professionals and the development of guidelines.
On February 21st, 2019, Minister Van Engelshoven signed the Heritage Deal (Erfgoeddeal). The deal is a partnership between different Ministries, municipalities, provinces and governmental organisations related to monuments, forestry, real estate and landscape. In order to execute the agreements in the deal, Van Engelshoven contributes EUR 20 million and this will be doubled by municipalities and provinces to a total of approximately EUR 40 million. The agreements focus on three main themes: climate adaptation; energy transition and sustainability; and urban growth and contraction.
Last update: July, 2019
The Archives Act was created in 1995, which ensures access to and maintenance of the governmental archive. The archive of the central government is the National Archive in The Hague. The central government, the provinces and the municipalities currently collaborate in the development of a digital archive infrastructure, which is called the e-Depot. To stimulate the digital accessibility of archives, the Minister of Education, Culture and Science made a development budget of EUR 6.1 million available in both 2019 and 2020.
In 2018, Minister Slob proposed to have governmental documents automatically archived after ten years instead of twenty years. A project team is currently working on the creation of a new bill that includes this proposal.
The Dutch library network consisted of 149 public libraries and 3.7 million members in 2017. The central government approved a new libraries act (Library Service Act) in 2015, which aims to create a centralised and comprehensive network of libraries, both physical and digital.
The Library Monitor 2017 (Bibliotheekmonitor 2017) gives insight into the assets and liabilities of Dutch public libraries and shows that the total of assets were EUR 415 million. EUR 410 million originated from municipalities and EUR 2.4 million from provinces. The national government provides the Royal Library of the Netherlands with an annual budget of approximately EUR 48 million for national tasks such as innovation, the digital public library and the library for people with a reading disability. The additional financial resources were derived from remaining sources, such as membership fees, sponsorships and funds (for example the Royal Library’s Innovation Fund). The current Minister of Education, Culture and Science decided to invest in Dutch libraries: from 2019 onwards, there will be a budget regarding the digitalisation of public libraries (2020-2023) and local accessibility of public libraries (2019-2021). These budgets will vary between EUR 1 million and 2 million. The Ministry will also provide public libraries in smaller municipalities with additional subsidies (EU 1 million each year to be divided) between 2019 and 2021.
Last update: July, 2019
Apart from the organisations that receive direct state funding via the national basic infrastructure (BIS, see chapter 1.1), the Performing Arts Fund NL decides which performing arts organisations will receive subsidy from the central government. The fund has a budget of EUR 62 million and provides multi-annual funding to 84 cultural organisations since 2017. Applicants are judged on the following criteria: artistic quality, entrepreneurship, diversity and geographical spread. A fifth criterion applies to festivals and competitions, which is a contribution to the development of the performing arts. The maintenance and management of theatre, music and opera buildings is the responsibility of the local government.
To stimulate the participation and attendance of the youth in classical forms of the performing arts, several initiatives have been introduced, for example talent-developing programmes. The Performing Arts Fund NL and the Creative Industries Fund NL will manage these programmes for pop-music in particular. The Ministry of Education, Culture and Science also focuses on the development of co-productions in the sector of performing arts. Festivals, music- and theatre venues are able to receive additional subsidy from the government if they collaborate with other subsidised institutions. The Ministry aims to reach broader local audiences with this project.
Last update: July, 2019
In the policy letter Culture in an Open Society (2018), the Minister of Education, Culture and Science mentions that she aims to improve talent-development programmes regarding visual arts and crafts. The primary goal of the project is to match the cultural interests of the youth with cultural offerings. The organisations Rijksakademie van beeldende kunsten and De Ateliers are responsible for managing these programs.
In 2018, a new policy was initiated regarding the exchange of visual artworks (Code Bruikleenverkeer) in collaboration with the Association of Provinces of the Netherlands(Interprovinciaal Overleg) and the Association of Netherlands Municipalities (VNG). The Ministry will also invest additionally in the National Acquisition Fund for Museums (Museaal/Nationaal aankoopfonds): EUR 15 million in 2019 and EUR 10 million in 2020. These investments are primarily meant for museums to purchase artworks of national interest.
The Ministry is furthermore responsible for the Decentralisation benefit for visual arts and design 2017-2020 (Decentralisatie-uitkering beeldende kunst en vormgeving 2017-2020), which is a subsidy scheme that supports new talent within the visual arts and crafts sector. The goal is to enhance the connection between presentation and production and to improve professionalisation.
The Mondrian Fund supports activities and projects regarding visual arts and cultural heritage on behalf of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science. The policy of the Mondrian Fund for the period 2017-2020 focuses on development and connection.
Last update: July, 2019
In 2011, the central government marked the Dutch creative industry as one of the nine top sectors and these sectors are all accompanied by specific top sector policy and a so-called top team. The creative industry is supported by the Ministries of Economic Affairs, Education, Culture and Science and, to a lesser extent, Foreign Affairs.
In the Netherlands, the creative industry encompasses entrepreneurs and creative professionals within the field of creative business services (e.g. product designers, architects, fashion designers, digital designers, graphic designers and photographers), media and entertainment (e.g. publishers, game developers, film-, television- and radio makers, DJ’s and VJ’s) and arts and cultural heritage. What connects these sub sectors within the Dutch creative industry is the capacity to create, imagine, generate meaning and subsequently a profit. The aim of the creative top sector is to develop innovative services and products by collaborating with creative professionals and research institutions. The government argues that the flexible and out-of-the-box way of thinking of the creative industry is of importance for challenging social issues and for attaching meaning to new technological opportunities.
The top team for the creative industry should boost the cooperation between business, knowledge institutions and the government. The team functions as the executive committee of the Dutch Creative Council, which is the independent strategic advisory board established in 2012 by the top team. With the establishment of the creative industry as a top sector, the Creative Industries Funds NL was launched as the cultural fund for architecture, design and digital culture (the design sector), and crossovers. The fund has an annual budget of approximately EUR 15 million, which mostly comes from the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science. In 2013, three creative industry institutes merged into Het Nieuwe Instituut (The New Institute) as a platform for the creative industry and a museum for the design sector. Het Nieuwe Instituut organises exhibitions, lectures and fellowships and carries out research and development programmes.
Before the introduction of the Dutch creative industry as a top sector, the umbrella organisation Federation Dutch Creative Industries was established in 2009 to represent the interests of the creative industry business. Because achieving enough financial means remains a problem for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), the Federation published a document (Show me the Money) containing elaborate information on all the financing options in 2015 – from bank loans and informal investors to governmental subsidies and tax benefits.
To stimulate innovation, every top sector has its own Top Consortium for Knowledge and Innovation (TKI). In the TKI for the creative industry, CLICKNL, entrepreneurs and academics work together in exploring ways to market innovative products and services. CLICKNL develops the agenda for knowledge and innovation, which “outlines what knowledge is needed to prepare the creative professional for the future and to which issues the professional can and must contribute.” In the Knowledge and Innovation Agenda 2018-2021 (KIA), the knowledge base of the creative industry is split up into three roadmaps:
- “Design for Change is aimed at strategies that mobilize people by influencing their behavior. This line is about knowledge around system transitions in which a multitude of actors comes together.
- The Human Touch specifically looks at the individual’s experience and assignment of meaning. Interests, values and the quality of life of the individual in his/her social environment are central here.
- Value Creation is aimed more at the creative industry itself and focuses on the new role, responsibility and possibilities assigned to creative professionals.”
The implementation of the KIA takes the form of public-private partnerships. The KIA also guides calls for research aimed at the creative industry and researchers. These calls are issued by The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO). The implementation of regulations by The Netherlands Enterprise Agency, which operates under the auspices of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy, is guided by the KIA as well.
The Netherlands is a market leader in the export of creative products and services, with a share of 29,5% worldwide (ranking in 8th place across the globe). Creative Holland is an initiative by the creative industry to stimulate the internationalisation of the sector even further. It offers information and inspiration for entrepreneurs who aspire to work internationally.
The Monitor Creative Industries (Monitor Creatieve Industrie 2016) provides detailed information on the development of the creative industries in the Netherlands. To define which companies and activities are included, SBI-codes are used (SBI stands for Standaard Bedrijfsindeling van Economische Activiteiten: Standard company classification of economic activities) and the cultural and economic value were leading. This resulted in three main categories: arts and cultural heritage, media and entertainment, and creative business services.
In 2017, the Dutch creative industries had 172 828 enterprises within the subsectors arts and cultural heritage (71 304), media and entertainment (41 165) and creative business services (60 359). The total amount of enterprises in the Netherlands in 2017 was 1 557 710, which means that the creative industry accounts for more than 11.1 percent of all Dutch enterprises. That same year, the Dutch creative industries had 332 207 employees (3.9 percent of all Dutch employees) within the subsectors arts and cultural heritage (122 041), media and entertainment (96 300) and creative business services (113 866).
value of the creative industries in 2016 was EUR 17 239 million, which was 2.8
percent of the total added value. This added value consists of the subsectors
arts and cultural heritage (EUR 6 332 million), media and entertainment (EUR 6
400 million) and creative business services (EUR 4 920 million).
 The Boekman Foundation was provided with additional data up until 2017 that could be used for updating this part of the Dutch cultural policy profile.
Last update: July, 2019
In 2016, the Dutch government developed the programme Tel mee met Taal (Go Along with Language)to decrease the number of low literates. For the period 2020-2024, the government will invest EUR 425 million to educate the approximately 1.3 million low literates between 16 and 65 years old in the Netherlands.
The government subsidises five institutions in the period 2017-2020 to support the literature sector:
- Dutch Foundation for Literature supports translators and writers and promotes Dutch literature abroad.
- Dutch Reading Foundation promotes Dutch and Frisian readings among the youth in particular.
- De Schrijvercentrale (Writers’ Centre) supports the publishing sector and advises and arbitrates with organisations that are arranging author readings. They aim to promote literature offerings in the Netherlands.
- Dutch Fund for
“encourages the quality, diversity and independence of
journalism by using money, knowledge and research to promote the innovation of the infrastructure for journalism in the Netherlands.”
- Literatuurmuseum (Literature Museum) focuses on the literary heritage of the Netherlands.
Dutch Reading Foundation, De Schrijvercentrale and the Dutch Fund for Journalism Projects are part of the national basic infrastructure (BIS) 2017-2020 (see also chapter 1.1). The Dutch Foundation for Literature decides which literature organisations will receive subsidy from the central government.
Examples of public initiatives that support and promote the literature sector are: Voorlees Express (The Reading Express), Kinderboekenweek (Children's Books Week), Boekenweek (Book Week) and the International Literature Festival Utrecht.
The Dutch literature sector has its own knowledge and innovation centre since 2016, which is the KVB Boekwerk. The main aim is to combine all the available data, thereby improving the sector’s ability to position itself quantitatively, economically, socially and culturally. The Netherlands is also an active participant in the annual Frankfurt Book Fair, which is considered an important event for putting Dutch literature on the map internationally.
The Council for Culture gives the following recommendations concerning the future of the literary sector to the government:
- “Investments regarding reading- and literature education and low literacy.
- The promotion of the inclusive and pluralistic characteristics of literature.
- Unimpeded accessibility for every Dutch citizen to cultural products of the literary sector.
- The creation of optimal conditions for fair author's remuneration.”
Last update: July, 2019
For information on broadcasting, see chapter 2.5.3 on media pluralism and chapter 4.2.6 on audiovisual legislation.
For media affairs, there are two publics funds: the Co-productiefonds Binnenlandse Omroep (Co-production Fund National Broadcasting) and the Dutch Journalism Fund. The Dutch Cultural Media Fund was dismantled on January 1st, 2017 and the tasks of the fund were taken over by the national public broadcaster (NPO).
The Netherlands Film Fund is the government-subsidised agency that is responsible for film production and film related activities, such as festivals, co-production markets and individual training for film professionals. Dutch cinema and film culture should be developed and strengthened by the fund and it offers various support schemes on production and distribution. The Netherlands Film Commission, a division of the Netherlands Film Fund, “is the official liaison between the Dutch creative media industries and foreign producers and production companies.”
In 2014, the Netherlands Film Fund introduced the Film Production Incentive, which offers a cash rebate up to 35 percent on costs made in the Netherlands. Between 2014 and 2019, this measure generated more than EUR 375 million in production expenditure. In 2017, the Netherlands Film Fund started a pilot to expand the Film Production Incentive to high end television series. In June 2019, the Minister of Education, Culture and Science, Ingrid van Engelshoven, announced the continuation of this pilot in 2020 with an additional incidental investment of EUR 5.5 million (guidelines for the cultural policy in 2021-2024).
At the end of 2013, the government decided to earmark an additional EUR 20 million to improve the competitiveness of the Dutch film industry, and to stimulate foreign filmmakers to move their production to the Netherlands. The Netherlands Film Fund is responsible for distributing the additional grants. In the current period 2017-2020, four film festivals (International Film Festival Rotterdam, International Documentary Festival Amsterdam, Cinekid and the Netherlands Film Festival) and one support organisation for film (EYE Film Museum) are part of the national basic infrastructure for culture. The total budget for this period is EUR 50.18 million per year.
In February 2018, the Dutch Council for Culture published their advice for the government regarding the audiovisual sector. The Ministry of Education, Culture and Science requested the Council to investigate how to stimulate diverse and high-quality productions within the changing media landscape and how to guarantee their accessibility. To make the Dutch audiovisual sector future-proof, the Council has four main recommendations:
- Media literacy is seen as the foundation of a future-proof sector. There should be film education-hubs in every region and film screenings for educational purposes need to be VAT exempt.
quality of Dutch audiovisual productions must be better in order to compete
international offer. It is suggested that the Netherlands Film Fund should be transformed into one broad audiovisual fund that stimulates the quality, production and promotion of Dutch audiovisual production with selective and automatic schemes.
productions should stay findable and recognisable within the growing amount of
audiovisual content. The accessibility can profit from a collaboration between commercial and public broadcasters. There should also be a quota for video-on-demand providers (e.g. Netflix) and film theatres on the amount of Dutch productions.
- The Council advocates a ‘circular’ financing system for the sector. It is recommended to introduce levies on the exploitation of media productions that can be seen in the Netherlands; through sales, rentals and subscriptions, cable connections, cinemas and advertising revenues from platforms with audiovisual content. These taxes could finance the audiovisual fund partially.
Regarding media literacy, the Ministry already invested EU 900 000 in 2019 in the pilot project Network Film Education Programme with the EYE Film Museum as pilot organisation. The Ministry aims to expand the project with other regional partners and is willing to invest EUR 2.9 million on a structural basis from 2020 onwards.
In May 2018, Minister Van Engelshoven announced new agreements with the film industry to promote the production of Dutch films (btw-convenant Film 2018). In exchange for a lower VAT rate on cinema tickets, Dutch film distributors and cinema operators will make more money available for the production of Dutch blockbusters.
In February 2019, Minister Van Engelshoven attended a symposium for filmmakers at the EYE Film Museum on the quality of Dutch productions. The direct cause for the symposium was the result of a survey distributed within the film industry, in which 80% of the respondents stated that the quality of Dutch feature films is substandard compared to international feature films. The industry criticises the Netherlands Film Fund because the fund would interfere too much with the content of audiovisual productions. The industry wants a different policy regarding film and are discussing this with the government.
Last update: July, 2019
The government has developed several programmes in the past few years to support the music sector. One of the objectives, as stated in the policy letter Culture in an open society (2018), is the creation of talent development programmes and diversifying the music industry. With regard to the latter, EUR 3.75 million (2019-2023) will be invested to support symphony orchestras that offer jazz and pop music. The Performing Arts Fund NL and the Creative Industries Fund NL manage talent development programmes in the music industry.
An example is the pop music project Upstream, which is a collaboration with Sena (the organisation that manages the rights of performers and producers) and has a yearly budget of EUR 900 000. Minister Van Engelshoven mentions the following about this project: "I would like to give established talents the opportunity to improve their skills. To achieve that, artists need financial space to experiment and innovate. I want to help them with that. With this money, musicians can, for example, record new material or develop a live act. This allows them to take the next step in their career.”
The government also focuses on the development of co-productions in the music industry. Music festivals and venues are able to receive additional subsidy if they collaborate with other subsidised institutions with the aim to reach a broader local audience.
- “Develop a music policy, which is integral and inclusive.
- In addition to producing and presenting music, also pay substantial attention to talent development, education, management and preservation, innovation and experimentation.
- Recognise the characteristics and strength of a regional music climate.
- Review the composition of the basic cultural infrastructure and the function of the Performing Arts Fund NL.
- Pay explicit attention to diversity in music policy.
- Pay explicit attention to the improvement of the labour market for music professionals.”
Last update: July, 2019
As design and creative services are part of the creative industry, most is regulated by the specific top sector policy for the Dutch creative industry (see chapter 3.5.1). The national platform for the creative industry, Het Nieuwe Instituut (The New Institute), also functions as a museum for the design sector. In the Netherlands, the design sector encompasses architecture, design and digital culture. Het Nieuwe Instituut also organises exhibitions, lectures, fellowships and carries out research and development programmes.
In March 2019, Minister Van Engelshoven commissioned Het Nieuwe Instituut to explore important and endangered archives within the design sector. Direct cause for this research is a letter from the Association of Dutch Designers in which they express their concern regarding the current state of design heritage, especially archives. The research by Het Nieuwe Instituut must offer a policy perspective on the government’s task regarding these problems and will be used in formulating the cultural policy objectives for 2021-2024.
To promote Dutch design and fashion, there are several recurring events: for example, the Dutch Design Week in Eindhoven (which includes the ceremony of the Dutch Design Awards and is subsidised by the Creative Industries Fund NL), the Amsterdam Fashion Week and the Fashion + Design Festival Arnhem.
In October 2018, the Dutch Council for Culture presented their advisory report Design for the Future (Ontwerp voor de toekomst). The six overarching recommendations for the central government and the design sector itself are:
- Strengthen the existing infrastructure of the design sector.
- Facilitate and fund research related to design.
- Stimulate the flow of new talent.
- Use the potential of the design sector in tackling social issues.
- Ensure better management and preservation of the design heritage (for which the first step has been taken with the commissioned research of Het Nieuwe Instituut).
- Create more opportunities for the internationalisation of designers.
The Council states that a solid foundation for the design sector in cultural policy is desperately needed. The sector should also be given space to experiment, to develop artistically and to strengthen its critical capacity through research and reflection.
Last update: July, 2019
The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy supervises the Department of Tourism and Recreation. The Ministry aspires to spread the amount of tourists with the promotion of Dutch regions by means of the Holland City strategy, which is managed by NBTC Holland Marketing. Examples of objectives of the concept are:
- To promote the Netherlands through cultural and regional themes. For example, Leeuwarden was the European Capital of Culture in 2018, which ensured a considerable increase in the number of tourists. It is expected that Leeuwarden will attract an increased number of cultural tourists in the upcoming years as well. Cultural tourism in 2019 is focused on the theme Rembrandt and the Dutch Golden Age.
- Fictional storylines are developed to make tourists familiar with Dutch regions. For example, a fictional storyline concerning the theme flowers was initiated in 2018. This storyline includes, among others, the flower garden Keukenhof and the international flower trade market. In 2015, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy invested EUR 400 000 in the development of these storylines and the Dutch provinces financed EUR 300 000. The storylines are in use since June 2016.
In 2016, the government launched initiatives to improve the Dutch infrastructure to meet the demand of tourists. An example is theHolland Travel Ticket, which makes it possible to travel through the Netherlands by bus, train, metro and tram for a day. Another example is the Tourist Day Ticket, which is available in larger cities like Rotterdam and The Hague. As is the case with many popular tourist destinations, major cities in the Netherlands are struggling with a plenitude of visitors. Although the government does not particularly promote creative tourism, several creative events that are subsidised by the government attract thousands of tourists. Examples are the Dutch Design Week, International Film Festival Rotterdam and Pinkpop.