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One and a half million for art. Provided it is directly demonstrably useful

One and a half million euros sounds quite a lot. So a cry of joy will be heard here and there now that Jet Bussemaker is allocating that extra amount to culture. After all, this is yet another make up after the almost 300 million her ministry took from the sector earlier. However, the conditions the culture minister attaches to the money tell a different story: the money is only for art that is demonstrably useful.

Art and utility are historically quite at odds. After all, as soon as something is useful, it ceases to be art. Then it is industry, design, welfare or sport. Someone who dances to get a better body from it is doing sport. Someone who clay to understand themselves better is in therapy. But now all that is different. Bussemaker has discovered that her cabinet only wants to talk about useful things, intended for people who really need it. Whereby that 'real' or 'unreal' is subject for discussion. So art should also only be there for people who really need it.

80 initatives are now listed. The minister has set up a whole website for it. Anyone who opens it, and looks at what it says first under the heading 'culture and creativity', immediately gets an impression of what the minister is all about: 'Theatre as a means for students to complete a compulsory social apprenticeship‘.


Those who click further may find such gems as 'a special form of therapy for young people with ADHD and/or ASD‘, ‘A simulation game for laparoscopic surgery' and 'Inspiring examples to integrate urban sports in cities‘.

All very useful indeed, and perhaps also suitable to do something with the average 20 thousand euros available for each of those 80 initiatives. You could just hire a half-day helpdesk employee for that. For example.

But then that is not the intention. From those one and a half million euras, committees will go to work. The minister sees it this way:

The amount is intended to support (exemplary) projects that focus on the connection between the cultural sector and sectors such as welfare, care and sports. The funds will follow those projects intensively to assess the added value of the connection and cooperation.

And further, culture can help alleviate some of the terrible cuts in care. She really means it, when she writes:

'From 2015, municipalities will be responsible for, among other things, supporting residents who currently use guidance, day care and short-term stay from the General Act on Exceptional Medical Expenses (AWBZ). This has consequences for the role of care providers and for the role of municipalities themselves. Together with the VNG, I am investigating how municipalities can deploy culture in the implementation of the new care tasks.

So you get it, the next time you see Halina Reijn in a nurse's outfit. But the money could also go to André Rieu:

In the Netherlands' calendar of major events, the rich cultural offering and sports events could support each other even more. With the inauguration party of King Willem Alexander as a fine example, where sport and culture merged.

[Tweet "So you get it, the next time you see Halina Reijn in a nurse's outfit"]

That way, you can still make some policy. Because for the rest, everything else remains as it is, the minister said: 'I see no reason to review the subsidised system very fundamentally.'

A society that values creativity, and supports creativity because creativity ever, but perhaps never, produces something, but above all makes society more colourful and enriched, is something out of the deep dark Middle Ages, which began with the number '17, 18 and 19′.


1 thought on “Anderhalf miljoen voor kunst. Mits die direct aantoonbaar nuttig is”

  1. Fransien van der Putt

    The minister and her apparatus have no faith whatsoever in the art sector to make a valuable contribution to the cultural-social-economic climate in the Netherlands through its own channels. So that is why an army of applicators and controllers have been created, all of whom do not really know their stuff - regarding art, that is. That will be a delicious Janboel, or rather Jetsoep, that will make artists move elsewhere. How long does the Netherlands think it can rely on past merits?

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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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