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Performing Arts Fund works to clean up grant jungle

It all goes into effect only in 2023, at the earliest, but the first gusts of fresh wind blowing through the Performing Arts Fund are stirring the treetops. Under new director Viktorien van Hulst, the Fund wants to put an end to the many subsidy schemes that had led to a bureaucratic jungle in recent years under the guise of 'customisation'.

On the website of the Fund, which (for the time being) has just under 40 million euros to distribute across the performing arts in the Netherlands, it says that they are already aiming there for one subsidy for the programming of Dutch venues. Now there are some more schemes there, namely. We give the list: 2P: Connecting producing and presenting, small-scale and occasional programming (SKIP), podium start regulation, pop music festival programming, pop music stage programming (core stage), pop music occasional concert programming, programming contribution for venues in Drenthe, Flevoland and Zeeland, regular programming in theatre and concert halls (SRP) And finally, the special disaster funds of the Compensation scheme for organisers of cultural events Covid-19, 2P Covid-19: a stage for local creators and venues Covid-19. 

With this package of schemes, you can imagine that you already have to employ a whole department of employees if you want to get a subsidy at all.

From 11 to 1

The new management wants just one more regulation, and we can only applaud that very loudly from this spot. So instead of 11 pots, just one. In doing so, the fund will pay more attention to the local/regional perspective and wants to make room for other roles that venues take on, such as that of (co)producer and talent developer. To achieve this, and this is the really good news, the fund will no longer provide 'deficit subsidies', but only lump-sum subsidies.

This means that the Performing Arts Fund is devoting itself in good spirits to the new management culture, which no longer relies on distrust - first spend your money, then account very precisely for what you are missing, and we are going to make up for that - but on trust: you get money based on your plans, and we assume that you spend that money accordingly Afterwards, we then determine whether that was done well.

This saves administration and allows room for own initiative. Profiling becomes more important and local rooting (something that has been on the wish list here for a long time) is anchored in agreements with local governments on matching grant amounts.


The idea is based on what has already been arranged for the festival market, where current FPK director Van Hulst previously held sway. There, a similar arrangement led to further profiling of performing arts festivals and greater freedom to spend money on prestige and/or development.

The plan was presented to the 'field' in four sessions. The response was favourable, although the pop sector in particular was somewhat reluctant. The focus on international acts in that sector, for instance, should be given more emphasis.

In any case, what the plan is good for: diversity of supply and attention to the difference between the randstad and the region. The report states: 'a performance that is still exciting and experimental in Nijmegen is sometimes already old news in Amsterdam. Topics such as diversity and inclusion play on a different level in the region than in the Randstad.

For now, the subsidy is still under development. Not until 2023 is it scheduled to be introduced.

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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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