Netherlands slashes government funding for the arts

Posted on: September 7, 2012

Thursday (9/6) on the BBC News site, Anna Holligan writes, “Forced to meet EU budget targets, the Dutch government has made sharp spending cuts—an unpopular move ahead of next week’s election. Arts and culture are among the biggest casualties. Inside an industrial-style tent, an audience of more than 1,000 have assembled. They stare in silent awe as six seductive dancers from Amsterdam’s Internationaal Danstheater perform a tantalising tango. This organisation used to receive almost 3m euros (£2.4m; $3.8m) in government subsidies. But, under the latest round of budget cuts, designed to bring the deficit down to an EU-mandated 3%, the Internationaal Danstheater has lost 100% of its state funding. Backstage the company’s frustrated director, Sophie Lambo, shakes her head: ‘It’s devastating.’ She is still trying to figure out how they will survive. … Dutch arts institutions have traditionally enjoyed generous subsidies. Clutching their plastic beer containers, a gaggle of festival goers say they feel the tight budget demands are threatening to kill their culture. … The Dutch culture budget of 800m euros has been slashed by 25%. Ms Lambo believes that ultimately, the wider Dutch society will feel the pinch too.”

Posted September 7, 2012