Increase culture support to €1 billion: Left-wing parties

Lodewijk Asscher (Photo: Commons)Lodewijk Asscher (Photo: Commons)

Left-wing parties PvdA, GroenLinks and SP are calling on the government to significantly increase its support for the culture sector, from the already promised 300 million euros to a total of 1 billion euros. The Netherlands has a moral obligation to support this sector that not only colors society, but is also of great economic importance, PvdA leader Lodewijk Asscher said to AD. 

According to the PvdA leader, the first emergency package of 300 million euros was a promising start, but it  almost immediately became clear that much more was needed. "It's not just us saying that, Minister [Ingrid] Van Engelshoven of Education, Culture and Science also stated that more money was needed and called it the first installment for the first few months," Asscher pointed out.

But so far, there is no second support package for culture. D66 Minister Van Engelshoven instead said that the culture sector can also draw from the generic emergency aid package. And that the more than 500 million euros allocated to municipalities and provinces last week is partly intended for libraries, film houses and music schools.

Asscher is disappointed by this. "The first emergency package is mainly for subsidized art: large museums an cultural institutions. Many cabaret and theater performances come from free, small producers. They have high cots, and contrary to what the minister says, they cannot rely on the NOW regulation, with which entrepreneurs can continue to pay the wages of their employees." According to Asscher, some 30 thousand creators are affected. "Many people have no money to buy basic things like shoes for their children."

According to the three parties, more money for culture is a dire necessity. "Where the catering industry is cautiously starting up again, culture is still at a standstill. 30 people in a room for 500 is far too expensive. Something really needs to be done. The sector is disappointed that a second  economic aid package was introduced, but there was nothing in it for culture." PvdA, GroenLinks and SP want to enter a debate with Van Engelshoven and the government.