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Carlos Gonçalves (Rotterdam Arts and Culture Council): 'According to the alderman, we have committed mortal sins.'


When he was appointed chairman of Rotterdam's Arts and Culture Council in December 2021, nothing seemed wrong. But less than six months later, he is virtually on the street now that Arts alderman Said Kasmi (D66) has decided to disband the Rotterdam advisory council. After 17 years. Gonçalves is baffled, especially since the research firm that wrote an evaluation report on the RRKC did not advise it at all. Read what we wrote about it earlier here: Rotterdam culture alderman tells independent advisory body off. Based on biased investigation.

We talk about how it could have come to this. In this podcast, Gonçalves talks at length about the years when things were going quite well, but there was also increasing friction. After all, previous presidents had already resigned out of dissatisfaction, and the constant cuts imposed on the cultural sector by populist colleges in this century did not help.

Substantially staffed

Another important point is that, with 35 FTEs, the Cultural Affairs Department is quite heavily staffed, even larger than the entire ministry. Civil servants have often been in their posts for more than 20 years, which naturally creates friction with such an independent advisory board, of which no one has been a member for more than a few years.

That independence is now in question, and a culture of fear seems to have grown in Rotterdam's art world: people want to keep the officials at city hall on good terms at all times, so the RRKC cannot yet count on too much overt solidarity.

Meanwhile, the RRKC is considering going to court as it has emerged that the councillor does not know his own procedures.

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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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