Provinces slash arts, culture spending
Provinces are cutting expenditure on culture by an overall 23 percent this year, which has prompted alerts that the sector's infrastructure could crumble.
A report by Berenschot/Boekman Foundation that looked into nationwide budget cuts said on Friday that the funds allocated for arts, heritage and literature went from €328 in 2011 to €254 in 2015.
The Foundation said this jeopardizes the cultural infrastructure and education in several provinces. It reports that the budget cuts vary: while Overijssel shaves off 75 percent to leave just € 14 million of the € 57 million of 2011, four other provinces – Friesland, Drenthe, Gelderland en Zuid-Holland- actually bump up their culture expenditure by 10 to 20 percent in 2015.
Heritage was left mostly unscathed with € 129 million, €20 million of which especially for monuments. The arts suffered the most, with a 40 percent in cuts. Provinces thus will spend €81 on the arts this year. Expenditure for literature, which includes funding for libraries, is dropped to €44 this year, a 21 percent cut.
Bastiaan Vinkenburg of Berenschot/Boekmanstichting questioned whether it will be possible for the provinces to maintain the infrastructure for the arts and libraries. “In a few cases the continuity of the program Quality in Culture Education that aims at music and other culture education at primary schools, is in jeopardy because the provincial support is cut. Even the authorization (by provinces) toward the municipalities could disappear, which could make the effect of the budget cuts even harder,” Vinkenburg said.