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Joop Daalmeijer Marathon (2): 'So that caution is not always necessary.'

Wijbrand Schaap: 'Als it about talent development and embedding in society, has it also very much has to do with the absolutoo basic. The hits also to the minister's two functions: education and culture. The arts undprimary school education doesn't really help embedding. No attention has been paid for years at the pedagogical academies to art besteed. As a result, there is a kind of vicious circle origin.

Marathon interview
Following the uproar surrounding Melle Daamen's opinion piece on arts policy we were invited to a 'conversation about everything' with Joop Daalmeijer, president of the Council for Culture. The conversation lasted an hour and a half, and we agreed to reproduce it as literally and integrally as possible. Since that makes for a lot of text, and you won't have time for so much reading while waiting for the bus, we split it up. A serial thus.

Read all parts here:

Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 Part 6 Part 7

Joop Daalmeijer: 'Not at teacher training colleges either.'

Wijbrand Schaap: 'Waar at the new buzzword talent development think: you only make talent once.

Joop Daalmeijer: 'I couldn't agree more. It's such a logical goal. It comes up suddenly. Because it costs very little, so then it's easy to mention. We wrote an outstanding piece on cultural participation with that committee, which was about music schools. It says: "Ask municipalities if they at least have a space somewhere where people, including self-employed people, who just teach guitar, or choirs, can get going." I live in a small village, there you have spaces where that can be done. But on the other hand: we also wrote an advice together with the Education Council, on arts education in primary education. That was well received, but now the action.'

'That action, that is a very long way. Because what you said yourself: you have to go to pedagogical academies first, because those people sitting there now really don't know a thing. Not only can't they do maths, they can't sing either. That's where that training needs to happen. But that is a very long process. That is why cultural participation is so important, because there are people who can do it. Only, give them space.'

Wijbrand Schaap: 'That piece about it went gigantic viral at our place, it has been shared 20, 30 thousand times on social media. So whereby it becomes clear that we struck a chord because we were a little less lenient than the minister in her publicity story. We delivered the bad news first, so to speak. Apparently that did touch a feeling in society, that this was at play.'

Joop Daalmeijer: 'And rightly so.'

Wijbrand Schaap: 'That also says that the optimistic policies of the council, the ministry and the unions make a lot of people feel a bit like, "Nice, but my sandwich is no longer invested."''

Joop Daalmeijer: 'That is also a concern. I said that very clearly again in the interview in EenVandaag. There are very many actors who are under 10,000 euros a year. That's below the minimum wage. These are also people with a college education. They could also have become economists. These are just people with brains. They chose this, you shouldn't leave them out in the cold'.

Wijbrand Schaap: And then we return to the story's introduction. Daar is spoken of versecure unemployment. While I think: that's not hidden unemployment, but the moment all these people would stop doing their thing because they have to go towards benefits and then they wouldn't do their creative allowed to do work, then there is no more art. So it is actually hidden artlessness.

Joop Daalmeijer: There is less art then. But there is still art.'

Wijbrand Schaap: But suppose. There are some 20,000 freelancers working in the arts on low incomes. That applies to journalists at least as well. If those have to quit because of new government regulations, which are attacking self-employed workers at the moment, everything will stop. In the arts sector, but also in higher education, where they are no longer allowed to teach unless they get a permanent contract, which again there is no money for.'

Joop Daalmeijer: No, we were at, what's it called, in Breda or Tilburg, that college. Fontys, no, Sint Joost. All the teachers there are all people from the profession, they are all artists. They teach for two or three days. So they can work together. I think that's a very good thing. But those people then probably have a teaching endorsement, with a small appointment, or they have a contract. Maybe they will be self-employed, or have other terribly improper employment contracts, but it still exists. It works. I think it works very well, too. Like my teacher for my instrument also teaches at the conservatory in Amsterdam. In addition, he plays himself. So yes, if you are not allowed to have practitioners at conservatoires either, yes....'

Wijbrand Schaap: 'I fell over the term hidden unemployment among self-employed people, because there is a problem on the employee side. If those people would really start playing by the rules, apply for benefits and then have to start street sweeping to compensate, a lot of music education would fall away, art education would fall away, a lot of art production would fall away, because now all kinds of people are doing it as a glorified hobby for three euros an hour. In journalism, the same applies to a large extent. Wouldn't it be interesting in the survey not to talk about 'hidden unemployment', but simply to look at how much is being produced below the price, so that the minister can still say that there is culture and no bare bones?'

Joop Daalmeijer: 'Yes, but there are also people just being paid well, and there are people who also just have normal employment. There are not only people below the minimum wage. We only looked at actors now because it is very evident there. We cannot comment on the rest, because the figures are not there. We have asked in the sector, what is going on? In dance, for example, there is no poor payment at all. In dance, there is the problem that unemployment starts at 45, and not before. There it is running very well. And the outflow from training is also finding its way well. Often abroad, too.'

It's a bit less so with classical music, of course. What comes out of conservatories there: most become teachers, and then you end up in that weird system. If you are self-employed and you have a piano at home, you can play on it, but there are also instruments you cannot play at home: what do you do with those people? That's why we argued for studios: make sure there are good facilities for that, where these people can find their place. That they can stand in front of a harmony, that they provide practice space for someone who does percussion or other forms of percussion, that those can get on.'


'We wrote that down very clearly and squarely. Only, the more square you write something down in such a document, you will always see that the reactions from politicians are cautious. They will then say: 'yes, but that is very top-down', or 'we cannot oblige municipalities to do that,'. Of course, they don't want any hassle with those municipalities either. On the other hand: we have talked a lot with the VNG and they do feel in favour of it. So that caution is not always necessary.'

'On the other hand, you also see very good initiatives at municipalities, but not everywhere. And the strange thing is that you can never pinpoint it politically. If you look at D66, a club with a heart for culture - I'm a member myself - in Rotterdam you see an alderman, Visser, who protects it; in Amsterdam it is protected; but not at all in Maastricht, and that is also a D66 alderman. So, yes, I also sometimes say; we should actually talk to the party boards. Because we are much more in the second chamber. But party boards ask, 'Guys, what are you doing?'

Joop Daalmeijer Marathon (3): "The arts sector should have reached out to consumers"

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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