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Where does the Dutch cultural sector stand on 22 November? A first inventory

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The Netherlands is a country of culture. Not an art country. Because the word 'art' appears in almost none of the election manifestos we have to choose from on 22 November. Only the VVD talks about 'art in depots'. It does talk about culture all the time. About whether we shouldn't once again make a rock-hard distinction between art and culture, possibly next time.

For now, let's resign ourselves to the fact that art is part of our culture, and that culture is not also what determines how we hold our fork and knife, how the police treat protesters and how we greet each other, or strangers. The allowance disaster does prove that culture is also determined by government policy.

Little news under the sun

Note to self: actually, the PVV is the only party that defines culture correctly, by making our deepest overall loutishness a policy goal (2021 election programme). But, like D66 and Omtzigt, the PVV has not yet published its 2023 election programme.

The right-wing party with flirtations to PVV, VVD, still has the same cultural positions in its election manifesto as before. Cultural institutions still need to become more 'entrepreneurial', and what does not sell does not deserve support. BBB, the party of former cda-prominent Mona Keijzer, talks mainly about our valuable cultural landscape and rural culture.

PvdA and GroenLinks have a reasonably comprehensive culture paragraph, but as with the VVD, there is little new to read in it. Volt, the somewhat promising newcomer on the left, which will mainly give the languishing D66 problems, has, we can already say, the most far-reaching, and art-friendly, cultural policy paragraph of all the parties.

Incidentally, BBB, PvdA/GL and Volt agree that VAT on culture should go to 0%.

Four party positions

I plan to cover each culture paragraph separately in the coming days, so keep stopping by here. These are the quotes you'll have to make do with for now:

VVD: 'Less art in depots. The tens of millions of artworks in depots will be lent or rented out more often. This way, more people can enjoy art. When artworks are no longer on display, sales are in order.'

BBB: 'Cultural subsidies are distributed evenly across the country. Rural culture is also culture.'

GL/PVDA: 'We rely on trust and creative freedom rather than cramming it with accountability rules. We also make it possible to apply for subsidies for eight years - instead of four.'

Volt: 'We will achieve more diversity by no longer linking very broad tasks to subsidy. Give art institutions a choice of tasks within the subsidy conditions. Then there will be room for customisation and both large, broad institutions and small, specialised ones will get a chance.'

More on the elections and programmes in the coming weeks. Keep following us.

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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