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Culture review needs broad approach and more time

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The Culture Council believes that there is now a unique opportunity to make the cultural and creative sector more agile and resilient, while at the same time creating space for the sector's recovery after corona. However, this requires a broad view of the cultural system as a whole and sufficient time to discuss this. The usual four-year cycle to arrive at a new subsidy round for culture is too short for this and should be extended by two or four years. So writes the Culture Council in an exploratory memorandum to state secretary Uslu of Culture and Media. The state secretary endorsed the memorandum: "Movement in the system - exploration towards a new opinion on the cultural system" handed over yesterday afternoon by president Kristel Baele.

According to the council, the cultural system of the future is one that offers every inhabitant of the Netherlands access to cultural offers, cultural education and participation. It offers everyone - from young to old, from any background or place of residence - opportunities to develop and grow culturally and creatively and to practise and create culture themselves. Every cultural discipline or genre should be able to be covered. It also offers everyone opportunities to experience culture - in traditional and new ways - to experience beauty, to be enriched with critical reflections on society, to be intellectually challenged or emotionally touched. Unfortunately, this is far from being the case everywhere at the moment.

Therefore, the council believes it is important to take a fundamental and comprehensive look at the cultural system in the Netherlands. From there, solutions can be found to bring it more up to date. Building in an extra two or four years now will also create peace and space for the sector to recover after corona. The council argues that additional measures should be taken to prevent innovation and bottlenecks from lasting too long.

Over the past two corona years, the council has had many discussions with young creators, those working in the sector, cultural institutions and sector organisations, municipalities, provinces and funds to get a picture of the impact of the pandemic on the cultural sector. During those talks, the same structural bottlenecks kept recurring. These include the fact that cultural education and participation are unfortunately still far from being taken for granted by everyone in the Netherlands. Regional distribution and diversity of supply and audiences also require attention. As does a fair and stable cultural labour market for makers and other workers in the sector.

These bottlenecks were also on the agenda before the pandemic, but surfaced more emphatically with successive lockdowns. This picture was once again confirmed in an inventory of 30 years of cultural policy made by the council late last year. According to the council, the structural bottlenecks cannot be solved within the existing subsidy system for the so-called Basic Cultural Infrastructure (BIS) alone. The council therefore emphatically does not see subsidies as the only policy instrument to achieve a more resilient and agile sector. To tackle the structural bottlenecks, the council wants to develop a vision of the entire cultural system in 2035 and outline a path on how to get there.

State secretary Uslu is expected to present a recovery plan for the cultural and creative sector before the summer, which may include a policy response to the exploratory memorandum. The council will start working in the near future in consultation with (state) cultural funds, provinces, municipalities, cultural and supporting institutions and, of course, creators and other workers in the sector.

Documents:
Movement in the system.pdf

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