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Strong push needed to make cultural sector more sustainable


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Culture Council president Kristel Baele said: "The cultural sector can harness its power of imagination and change for its own sustainability and that of the Netherlands, becoming a legitimate partner for governments and business. It is a real shame that the role of culture in societal sustainability transitions is still so underexposed and underused. This is an opportunity for the Netherlands."

Transition workshops

Both making the cultural sector itself more sustainable and positioning culture more firmly in the social sustainability transition is a major task for which financial and substantive support from the government is indispensable, the council believes. With this support, the sector can make a transition to new ways of organising, producing and presenting. To this end, the council recommends using transition workshops, where knowledge is developed through exchange and experimentation on shared themes and challenges. The solutions that emerge from the transition workshops not only help make the cultural sector more sustainable, but also those of other domains. In addition, the council recommends making knowledge on sustainability easily and centrally available.

Zero measurement and transition plan

Accelerating sustainability starts with operations, the advisory states. This applies to both the subsidised and non-subsidised parts of the sector. The first step is to gain insight into its own ecological footprint through a baseline measurement and to draw up a transition plan with the aim of being climate-neutral and circular by 2050. Governments must play a facilitating role here, the council believes, otherwise it will not succeed. For the subsidised part of the sector, moreover, sustainability of operations can be included in subsidy rules, as the council recently proposed for the Cultural Basic Infrastructure 2025-2028, for example.

Cultural property

Cultural property is a story apart: making it sustainable is costly and complex. Much of the real estate, for instance, is not owned by cultural organisations themselves. The council therefore recommends a separate cultural property roadmap in addition to the 12 sectoral roadmaps that already exist.

The opinion was prepared by a committee chaired by Derk Loorbach, director of the research institute DRIFT and professor of socio-economic transitions at Erasmus University Rotterdam. Other members are: Conny Bakker, Deirdre Carasso, Willemijn Maas, Harald Tepper and Jasper Visser.


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