Proposed changes threaten Dutch arts groups

Posted on: June 21, 2011

Monday (6/20) on The Guardian online (London), Tom Service writes, “The Netherlands. Land of tulips, windmills, deep-fried cheesy treats and one of the world’s most enviable music scenes. Although not all of them for much longer—and I’m not talking about the windmills. Dutch music is under threat, from its orchestras to its opera houses, its new music ensembles to its small-scale touring outfits. … Arts and education ministers have now come up with revised plans, reducing the overall culture spend to €600m in return for raising VAT on concert tickets from 6% to 19%—proposals which will be debated and voted on by the Dutch parliament a week today. … the big boys of Dutch culture currently get off pretty much scot-free, with only minimal cuts to the Concertgebouw Orchestra, the Dutch National Ballet and Netherlands Opera, and the rest of Dutch culture taking the biggest hits. … A proposed 55% reduction to the Netherlands Broadcasting Music Centre (NBMC) would mean the amalgamation of the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic (which plays the Proms this year) and Netherlands Chamber Orchestra. … The effect would be devastating for Dutch and international musical life. Both orchestras are among the most adventurous anywhere in the world, commissioning and playing new music that simply wouldn’t exist without them.”

Posted June 21, 2011