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24 million for culture added! Or 80 euros! Or 0.0015 euro!

At this election time, it is just how you put it and calculate it. That extra 24 million for culture, of which Pechtold triumphantly repudiated with the addition that 'the journey through the desert will be over after 2016', has, for now, as much value as Rutte's illustrious 1000 euros: first see, then believe. And since Pechtold gave no further explanation, it mainly opens up space for the lobbying of many politicians.

That 24 million is about fifteen hundredths of a cent

Adding to the 300 million in passed cuts, Pechtold promises 80 euros of that 1,000 euros from Rutte. Not extra, but as compensation. Culture is still down 920 euro - say the amount that many 'employees' in the culture sector miss out on monthly while working more than full-time. And if we take 16 million Dutch people times 1,000 euros and then... enfin. We can all do arithmetic. And then make excuses for that.

It is tempting to attack Enschede's VVD alderman Hatenboer for admitting that his party has allowed itself to be steered too much by populists - he explicitly does not mention the PVV. Just as it is tempting to point out to D66 leader Pechtold that his party holds culture in high regard mainly on paper. Or that PvdA minister Bussemaker has been implementing Zijlstra's policy for almost four years now and outgoing culture spokesperson Monasch is mainly being taken for one cart after another.


I sincerely believe they all do it out of the best of intentions. But it's time, especially with the elections coming up, that local politicians don't only step up to the plate when they have to defend their own urban interests. We need MPs who do not see culture as something to profile themselves with. Where are the list leaders who just ignore their mobiles during meetings and take a real substantive stand? Can we have a minister who doesn't just angrily fix everything, but bangs his fist on the table?


Politicians: use your influence and don't be guided by 24 million, 80 euros or that tenth cent when putting together the election programme; certainly do not see culture as the first point that can easily be sacrificed to populists outside as well as inside the own party; develop a vision; really stand up for it; kirst look at rules and constraints.

Culture is not the return of our existence, but the profit we share.Travel opera director Nicolas Mansfield

Explain that that - hopefully much more than - tenth of a cent extra is not merely for opera, orchestras and theatre and dance companies, but is also crucial for libraries, museums, festivals of many colours, that old mill on the edge of town, education in many forms, urban development, economic growth and you name it. And yes, that includes a band like De Staat.

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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