Meanwhile, this message was confirmed on 14 March by the Halbe Zijlstra. We thank our source for acting accurately.
We once again visited our trench-coat-clad coughing chain-smoker in his Hague car park. Because there had been no news from The Hague for another week, and with the elections so close, that's always a shame. Well. Our well-informed circle blower had news. Is of course completely out of the blue and unconfirmed and so on, but when it is said in a Hague car park there is usually a ground of truth in it.
The cabinet, which in recent weeks, through the prime minister and his art-loving state secretary had already shown to be well-informed about what is really happening in the arts sector (ahem) (cough) (proest), is going to abolish the art-free year 2013.
That is to say: because Halbe Zijlstra needed time for his reorganisation of the arts sector, until now no arts organisations were allowed to plan for the future until 2013. So now they are allowed to do so, at least if you are still alive. As an arts institution. In 2013.
Normally, in 2012, the 120 arts institutions that used to get warmed by the government would submit their plans for the 2013-2018 period. But so they were not allowed to, because the ministry wanted to carefully go over how to set up the amputation of 20% in total and 50% of the performing arts. That came across as careful, but of course it was not, because a year's standstill can be deadly for a sector in which plans are often made years ahead.
Then last week municipalities and provinces were added. You know, those things you are on 2 March is going to vote. And what transpired: those are forced to vote even much more than the cabinet cuts in arts and arts education. They also have to arrange that among themselves with the government in so-called covenants: if the government cuts 50%, the province cuts 70% and the municipality pays for all the costs. Of those things. Problem now is that those provinces and municipalities absolutely cannot wait until Halbe Zijlstra knows in 2014 what limbs are left of the art scene. If the municipalities and provinces are not allowed to do anything for a year, it will be a mess. And now it may well become a mess in the Rijksmuseum, if it becomes one in Gelderland or Oss, it will be a disaster.
Hence, State Secretary Zijlstra will soon announce that by the end of 2012, the art world will already know exactly who and what will be allowed to live. After all, time is money and money is more important than diligence.
So the year of stagnation in 2013 is no more. 2012 will be the year of truth. The arts sector is going to be busy. And because Zijlstra does not trust the sector's own experts, there will probably be a nice real raffle with a Wheel of Fortuyn and so on. Because what's good always comes out on top. Like corpses, for that matter.
This will be announced soon. That is, if our coughing source in The Hague is correct.
We shall see. So far, he was coughing up the truth.