Government spending cuts obscured by ‘mobile’ arts budgets

Large number of government-subsidised arts companies generate more revenue of their own

The Dutch government agreed with the House of Representatives (the lower house of the Dutch Parliament) in 2010 to cut the central government arts budget by over €900 million. The spending cuts are due to take effect in 2015 and will be effected in a series of steps rising to an annual saving of €200 million. However, since the agreement was reached, arts spending has fallen faster than the government had envisaged: the government spent a total of €73 million less in 2011, 2012 and 2013 through the arts budget than it had originally planned. It is not clear what impact this lower level of spending will have on the planned long-term spending cuts. Although the Minister of Education, Culture and Science has moved certain funds to other parts of the government budget (funds which will also be available for spending on the arts in either this year or the coming years), no clear information is available on how much money has been moved and where to.

A total of 225 organisations (such as theatre and dance companies, orchestras, museums and festivals) have received long-term government funding since 2013. 137 other organisations saw their government grants scrapped in 2013. Of these unfunded organisations, 23 (most of which are active in the performing arts) have since closed down. The Minister of Education, Culture and Science has not indicated how the other organisations have been able to continue without the support of government funding.

This publication is only available in Dutch.