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Fact-free journalism plunges into arts sector.

 

 

According to de Volkskrant, Rick van der Ploeg was state secretary of culture in the early 1990s (in reality, he was at the end of those years), and in Het Parool columnist Gerard Mulder claims that the fact that he "thankfully knows nothing about art subsidies" need not deter him from some wild speculation about why applications from cultural institutions in Amsterdam are lower than expected.

Where the Volkskrant, via a few random phone calls (previously experienced) tries to defend the thesis that the art world considers Halve Zijlstra's unmotivated cuts as a blessing in disguise, Het Parool makes a few wild guesses, which boil down to the fact that the columnist doesn't actually know either. But wrote it down anyway And that it is actually proof that the cuts are a success.

Behold the problem. As long as the national picture is not yet clear, there is nothing to say about whether, and if so why, there are fewer or more applications from the art world. The fact is already that many Amsterdam applicants have moved to 'the province': Arnhem and Utrecht have been delighted with a higher application amount, because those cities have promised to cut back less than the capital.

Moreover, an unknown number of arts organisations have already been told by Zijlstra via a letter that reapplication will be futile. Those clubs are now focusing on redundancy schemes and pro forma applications, which are therefore also lower than planned.

Indeed, promising institutions that apply now will whisper at every get-together that the cuts are quite likely to cause a little clearing in the field, and that that will make room for more new things. Disadvantaged institutions will keep quiet and lick their wounds. VVD and PVV silently cheer that the fact-free journalists of the larger newspapers are trying to outdo each other in proving Henk and Ingrid right, whom their Flemish directors tell them to focus on day in and day out.

The fact that the cuts are delivering something is only testament to the sector's great creativity and resilience to put everything on survival even in the face of a natural disaster. The policy has not helped that. Indeed. that is still causing the loss of over 6,000 jobs and the practice end of against 35,000 self-employed workers.

So in the meantime, we are trying to figure out what is really going on.

Wijbrand Schaap

Cultural journalist since 1996. Worked as theatre critic, columnist and reporter for Algemeen Dagblad, Utrechts Nieuwsblad, Rotterdams Dagblad, Parool and regional newspapers through Associated Press Services. Interviews for TheaterMaker, Theatererkrant Magazine, Ons Erfdeel, Boekman. Podcast maker, likes to experiment with new media. Culture Press is called the brainchild I gave birth to in 2009. Life partner of Suzanne Brink roommate of Edje, Fonzie and Rufus. Search and find me on Mastodon.View Author posts

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