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New private museum in Amsterdam: a rather brazen action, seemingly fuelled by resentment.

'A beautiful gift to the city'- this is how the Hartwig Art Foundation describes on its website the plan to initiate a new art museum on the Zuidas. It is a private initiative by entrepreneur, art collector and philanthropist Rob Defares. The Amsterdam Arts Council has advised positively on the plan, with the municipality deciding soon. It sounds promising: an art hall - there will be no... 

The city as we knew it is doomed. Long live rural art?

Disturbing reports, over the past few days, in various media. First, there was Patrick van IJzendoorn in De Volkskrant, who observed that life had moved away from London's business heartland. I saw a few confusedly delighted reactions come along from friends on my cultural timeline. After all, the article made a clear connection between the closure of museums and theatres and the... 


In the second half of the 1980s, when Wim Deetman was still a cheese soufflé and many Utrechters of my age wore kletter vests with broken rifles, it was very easy to know what you were against. This was because of a few clear principles: anyone on the right was bad. Christians were stupid, hypocritical and scary. Anyone who rented real estate... 

Anfield's best pasties work against degradation. (Lessons from Manchester, episode 4, the Liverpool edition)

There is something incredibly cosy about it. While outside the storm is howling through deserted, boarded-up shopping streets full of demolished mini houses, baking pasties against the malady. But so it does work. On the side of The Kop, the most famous stand at the Anfield stadium on Liverpool's Oakfield Road, Dutch artist Jeanne van Heeswijk established a neighbourhood cooperative in 2012, when megalomaniacal urban renewal plans... 

Vis à Vis versus Almere (2): civil service finds building land too expensive for culture

A fortnight ago, we reported that the unique open-air theatre group Vis à Vis had started a petition. Reason: the Almere city council was reportedly planning to convert the company's permanent site on Almere beach into a residential area. This would go against an earlier promise made by the alderman. Since that alderman has since ceased to be an alderman, it would... 

Panic over nothing? Vis à Vis sounds alarm over forced departure from Almere.

Shocking mail, this afternoon. Theatre group Vis à Vis, the company that has been making very fine open-air spectacles on the beach near Almere for many years, would have to leave their just-built accommodation in just under a month. At least, so it seems. Read the text of the emergency message: 'After 10 years of uncertainty, Vis à Vis has been told by the college of... 

Small artists tested for 'payback'. Culture Council wants a large 'revolving fund' for loans to the arts.

The art world needs to be more entrepreneurial. The VVD thinks so, D66 thinks so, in fact the entire Lower House thinks so. But how do you get that combined with the 'intrinsic value' that the last two culture ministers say it should also be about? The Council for Culture has now, in response to a question from minister Ingrid van Engelshoven in March last... 

M carbunaru [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], from Wikimedia Commons

All balls to Cuijk. Why it really is a good idea for the Netherlands to have a Capital of Culture every year.

How nice it would be if Zutphen were to be Cultural Capital of the Netherlands next year, proudly representing itself and thanks to a strong impulse from its surrounding area: the province of Gelderland. They could immediately tackle the hopeless situation of the local theatre, the kids from the suburbs could also go to hip-hop in a real hall and everyone in the Netherlands would know... 

The Culture Council has been on a Storytelling course. So the Council's latest advice is all about stories. And about ruins.

One of the great things about France is that it is not raked. On any bike ride, or walk along that overgrown path that started out so beautifully, you might just bump into a ruin. Such a ruin that we here in the Netherlands would soon turn into an attraction, if we hadn't long since demolished the piece of unattended real estate to make way for... 

Somewhere at STRP Biennial 2017, a future, earth-shattering genius is walking around among the schoolchildren

Leisure is the mother of philosophy. -motto of British philosopher Thomas Hobbes, seen in Klokgebouw during STRP17 An app called "Die with me" that, as soon as your smartphone is at five per cent remaining power, automatically connects with other Die with me users. An app game called "Airb'n'bhost", where you have to choose who offers the airb'n'b interior from three portrait photos each time. The most fun:... 

passions humaines, guy cassiers, photo Kurt van der Elst

Hidden lusts of Belgians lead to great art on #HF15

2014 was the year of Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead, award-winning stage adaptation by Ivo van Hove. This year, that performance has been outstripped by 'Passions Humaines', written by Erwin Mortier, magisterially designed by Guy Cassiers. Again at the Holland Festival, confirming its place as a stage for the great debate on art. Two plays in which architecture, artistry and... 

Kenneth Herdigein, Vastert van Aardenne, Urmie Plein, Reinier Bulder in Race by David Mamet.

Discussion on colour should also rage in theatre

At Amsterdam's Stadsschouwburg, Hans Kesting will once again play the title role of Shakespeare's Othello, in a legendary version by top director Ivo van Hove, already 12 years ago. A stone's throw away, at De Balie, is the equally impressive actor Kenneth Herdigein in David Mamet's play Race. Why connect the two? Hans Kesting, the... 

Free money from the bank? Why some get itchy about the Guarantee Fund

Last week, the Metaalkathedraal was celebrating. This 'creative breeding ground' in the picturesque no man's land between Utrecht and Leidsche Rijn can, thanks to a loan from a bank, grow into something that might become great fun for the neighbourhood, but also for people on the other side of town. The Metal Cathedral is an initiative of two artists. They... 

Amsterdam art is doing great. Unless you are a (young) artist.

Two corpses. Despairing bystanders. A blood-red photo. The cover of the Exploration, released by the Amsterdam Arts Council, makes one fear the worst. A massacre has been committed. Even if it is a scenic photo of a performance by Toneelgroep Amsterdam. Or is it all different? Are only two dead, and the rest live on? Something about shows that on must go?.... 

Joop Daalmeijer Marathon (7): 'If the knowledge is lost, so is the heritage.'

Wijbrand Schaap: 'Just one more point. Then we're almost through.' Joop Daalmeijer: 'Continue quietly, we have until half past five.' Wijbrand Schaap: 'We have a problem with real estate. A lot of inner cities are empty. Shop premises are empty, downtown office buildings are unrentable. What do the municipalities say? Put artists in them. Cost nothing, because for free rent they do... 

'Limited measurement': minister throws Berenschot report in wastebasket

Minister Bussemaker thinks it is far too early to sound the alarm about the cuts municipalities are still going to make on culture. Research firm Berenschot had calculated earlier this year that many per cent would still be cut from the local culture budget. Our own sources told us that Berenschot was still on the sunny side. According to the minister, however, the research is too limited: only 65 municipalities were checked, and besides, it is still far too early.

We then wonder how v...

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Culture Council knew about 'Hole of DUS'

Theatre company the Utrecht Games, city company of the Netherlands' fourth largest city, is on the brink of bankruptcy. It was recently revealed that the company led by artistic and business director Jos Thie has a deficit of €2.1 million. Correspondence that has since surfaced shows that it was already clear in May this year that problems were getting out of hand. That was a month after the Utrecht subsidy advisory committee issued its laudatory opinion, and a few weeks before the Council for Culture issued its very thrifty advice.

Arts Council 020 reacts to Culture alderman's austerity plan: 'Don't cut!'

You can throw your ass to the curb, as an art sector, but you can also do something else, while staring with your big rabbit eyes into the headlights of an oncoming balderdash monster. And what is that other thing, the Amsterdam Arts Council wondered? Cuddling to death, was the answer. When Amsterdam's alderman of culture unfolded her plan for the... 

Even if they quit, Halbe Zijlstra is cracking down on culture clubs

Letters from Culture Secretary Zijlstra are dangerous, especially when they are about figures and schemes. And we haven't seen the latest one for now. So right now, it is about 'friction costs' for the cultural sector. These are the costs that subsidised institutions have to incur when their existence ends due to the subsidy freeze. Think, for example, of redundancy payments, compensation for damages, flower arrangements for funerals of suicides and the loss of v...

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Reply Zijlstra (culture) to question on friction costs confirms chamber did not pay attention in June

It came as a shock that still hasn't quite worked out. Haf September, dozens of arts organisations received a letter from the State Secretary for Culture, informing them that they could start using the subsidy they thought they were getting for projects until 31 December 2012 for redundancy procedures, selling property at a loss and staff lawsuits against... 

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