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Bussemaker gives Chamber incorrect figures HET Symfonieorkest

The acute financial problems at HET Symfonieorkest were reasons for Jacques Monasch questions to minister Bussemaker. Yesterday, the replies Bussemaker. To sum up: it's all not too bad. Only: the minister is giving the Chamber the wrong figures.

The minister relies on figures from Culture in focus 2014 and reports "HET Symphony Orchestra's own income percentage was 85.8% in 2013. Also in 2014, the institution seems to be well within the own income standard of 21.5%." Good news, then.

But those figures don't add up. And the minister could and should have known that. Not only does it state in Culture in focus 2014 that they are "provisional figures", but the ministry was recently reminded by the Court of Auditors that the figures contained therein are a false picture give.

And although the minister states "By the way, I also follow the financial developments of the cultural institutions in the basic infrastructure myself through the annual figures and quick-scans", she has just not done. While the correct figures can be found nota bene on HET Symfonieorkest's site. The differences are startling.

Minister's figures:

Total Structural grant: €3,623,471

Audience income: € 1,789,723

Other own income: € 1,318,805

Own income in %: 85.8

The actual figures:

Total Structural grant: €3,623,471

Audience income: € 906,766

Other own income: € 356,810

Own income in %: 34.8

And that percentage gives a huge distortion, because if we take the remaining subsidies out of public funds of €1,266,455 included, the percentage of own income drops to 25.8%. If the 2014 figures are even worse, HET Symfonieorkest actually drops under the own income standard.

The ease with which Bussemaker concludes "At the moment, I have no indications that the continuity of cultural institutions funded by the state is at risk" is thus downright astonishing. The question remains whether Monasch will be satisfied with these answers from the minister or call her to account to the House.

Henri Drost

Henri Drost (1970) studied Dutch and American Studies in Utrecht. Sold CDs and books for years, then became a communications consultant. Writes for among others GPD magazines, Metro, LOS!, De Roskam, 8weekly, Mania, hetiskoers and Cultureel Persbureau/De Dodo about everything, but if possible about music (theatre) and sports. Other specialisms: figures, the United States and healthcare. Listens to Waits and Webern, Wagner and Dylan and pretty much everything in between.View Author posts

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