Municipal museums call for support during coronavirus crisis

Boijmans van Beuningen museum in Rotterdam
Boijmans van Beuningen museum in RotterdamLeonid_AndronovDepositPhotosDeposit Photos

The directors of city and municipal museums wrote a letter to the culture aldermen in their municipalities, asking to also be remembered in coronavirus aid measures. According to them, the 300 million euros made available by Minister Ingrid van Engelshoven of Culture mainly benefits the state-subsidized museums. But municipal and provincially supported museums, which make up 70 percent of the sector, are being overlooked, Het Parool reports.

"If the national government and the large municipalities of the Netherlands which are financially intensively burdened by the corona measures do not join forces, we as municipal subsidized but internationally important museums will not be able to function in the major cultural ecosystems and the museum field will become barren," the directors of the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, the Boijmans van Beuningen in Rotterdam, the Kunstmuseum Den Haag, and the Centraal Museum Utrecht wrote in their letter.

"We are indispensable for the makers, for the artists and designers in the cities, for the galleries, for art education, for education per se; for the freelancers who organize exhibitions with us, maintain and restore our municipal collections, produce our printed matter and social media; we also train future curators, educators, and art marketers in the context of talent development. We do this in addition to our role as an urban attraction with a major economic impact. Provided that visitors from outside and in large numbers can come at the same time."

Once museums are allowed to reopen again, visitors will have to stay 1.5 meters apart, which means a massive decrease in visitor numbers. Museums therefore expect "to only be able to make exhibitions on a small scale; not or hardly being able to attract sponsors; not to be able to attract tourists and day trippers to our flagships and our cities."