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Dutch gov boosts culture support to €251.6m

The Dutch government has made an additional €56.5 million available to culture, bringing its latest support package for the sector to €251.6m.

The funding, which covers the period from 1 February to 8 March, brings the amount allocated solely to the Performing Arts Fund (for music, musical theatre, dance and festivals) since the start of the November lockdown to €122.5m, with €11m still available from an earlier round.

The scheme will shortly open for applications for the 28 November to 31 January window, with a new scheme to be drawn up for February/March period in light of ongoing Covid-19 measures. A total of €30m has also been set aside for creators.

Although live events were given the go-ahead to resume in the country last week, they must adhere to a 10pm curfew and are currently restricted to a maximum of 1,250 visitors indoors with fixed seats and up to a third of the capacity in outdoor spaces.

“The corona crisis continues to hit the cultural and creative sector hard”

Access to music venues is limited to those who have been vaccinated, have recovered from Covid or have been tested against Covid – otherwise known as the 3G model – and facemasks are required when walking around. One promoter told IQ the rules made it “almost impossible” to stage concerts. Meanwhile, festivals are still banned and nightclubs remain closed.

“The corona crisis continues to hit the cultural and creative sector hard,” says Gunay Uslu, state secretary of culture and media.

“In addition to the support for subsidised institutions, there is therefore also extra support for the self-employed. This is desperately needed to retain their knowledge and skills for the sector. We are extending various subsidy schemes for makers at the funds. There is also support for freelancers, makers and technicians in the part of the performing arts sector that is not subsidised by the government through the compensation scheme at the Performing Arts Fund.”

Overall, more than €1.8 billion has been made available in specific support for the cultural and creative sector since the start of the pandemic, in addition to generic support packages.

The latest development coincides with Denmark today (1 February) becoming the first country in the European Union to end all coronavirus measures. The country will no longer categorise Covid-19 as a “socially critical” illness from 5 February, with PM Mette Frederiksen telling citizens they will be able to look forward to “concerts and festivals again” this summer.

The authorities have removed measures due to Denmark’s high (81%) vaccination rate and Omicron appearing to be milder than previous variants.


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