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Culture Council doesn't have plans ready yet

This summer, all was well. In Theatererkrant, house organ of the performing arts, an article appeared, apparently also on behalf of the Council for Culture. It showed how a hitherto unknown company called The Transition Bureau had pretty much completed the new sector plan, employed by the Council for Culture. Many people had been spoken to and now only seven dilemmas remained. It was a matter of ticking off and we were ready for the years to come.

Me made me happy about that, to which Transition Office spokeswoman Anouk Nuyens responded with a letter to a 'rebellious fifty-something' . She revealed: 'You will have to put up with it for the next few years, or maybe decades. Because neither myself or The Transition Agency, and presumably neither my generation, is planning to quit.'

Soon after, the mailbox here began to fill up.


Quite a few people, under and over fifty, male and female, a few transgender and here and there people of colour, expressed their shock. Was it really the case that with these seven non-issues the Council thought it had solved all the issues they had raised? Was it really the case that all the regional ambition, all the lobbying to achieve a truly new system, had ended up in the hands of a group of just starting artists with political ambition?

It looked hard, and so in the run-up to the Paradiso debate I wrote just a little more a piece. Daarin I summed up all those off-the-record fears expressed.

Then things got busy in the corridors.


It is now clear that the Culture Council is not at all as intimate with The Transition Agency as Nuyens told us. Indeed, the fears of many that the Council will come up with a half-hearted patchwork advice around seven non-dilemmas are unfounded.

People are brooding in the Hague on things that would have been unthinkable until a few years ago. Things like a basic cultural infrastructure that gives much more power to the urban regions. No more steering from above, but rather from below. And also: if cities want to have more say, the responsibility should also lie there, and no longer in The Hague. Something to do with hole burning and blistering.


Most importantly: the plans are not quite ready yet, other than what some letter writers hinted at. The text should still be finished by the end of this year, but since no one has any idea yet of the kind of cabinet we will have around that time, it is also not possible to write a text that will please a coming cabinet member - if any.

So until then, theatre-makers, orchestral musicians and theatre directors will have to wait and see. In any case, there is no new ground for fear that any necessary rebellion will be followed by an age-selected backlash from The Transition Office.

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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