Some 100 Netherlands museums fear they won't survive a year
About 100 museums in the Netherlands, a quarter of all museums, are in danger of having to close their doors permanently within a year due to the coronavirus crisis. Months of forced closure, followed by lower visitor numbers than usual mean that they are getting deeper and deeper into financial trouble, the Museum Association found in a survey of its members.
According to the Museum Association, museums that are in trouble are mainly museums that get fewer than 40 thousand visitors per year, museums that don't get government subsidies, and museums that are almost entirely reliant on income from entrance fees and renting out halls for functions. These museums largely don't qualify for the 300 million euros aid package the government made available to the cultural sector.
The Museum Association therefore calls on the government to make a more comprehensive aid package available for all museums, regardless of their size or location, to compensate them for the months of forced closure and the current limited number of visitors due to coronavirus- and social distancing measures.
Around 90 percent of museums are open again, but with adjusted opening hours and a limited visitor capacity. Most museums are currently only getting about a quarter of their usual visitors. The association attributes this to uncertainty about health, work and income.
"Appropriate support is crucial ot get through the corona crisis," the Museum Association said. "The large and increasingly diverse public that the museums throughout the country reach deserves that a huge cultural capital that belongs to all of us remains accessible to all, even in in the 1.5 meter society or after the corona crisis. And only together do the museums tell the whole, current story of our ever-changing society."
The Textile Museum in Tilburg is one of the museums that are struggling. When they reopened in early June, they received about 40 visitors a day. That has since increased to around 150, but is still far less than usual for this period, Elles van Vegchel of the museum said to NOS. The museum therefore started a flyer and poster campaign. "We hope that people who wanted to go to Eteling will come to us on rainy dais."
Museum Klok & Peel in Asten also saw a significant decrease in visitors. "In the past, big buses came here, mainly with groups of seniors. But they don't come anymore," operational manager Frank van Kempen said to the broadcaster. "Another factor for us is that those visitors often ordered a cup of coffee with pie in our museum cafe and bought souvenirs in the store. We also miss out on that income now."
The Zaans Museum in Zaanse Schans is currently only getting about 30 to 40 percent of visitors, compared to last year this time. The museum is also missing out on income from companies that rented rooms for functions, and from tours organized in conjunction with a visit to Zaanse Schans. "If the emergency measures disappear and the visitor numbers do not recover, it will be very stressful next year," spokesperson Marieke Verweij said to NOS.