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Dutch venues set to benefit from €2m culture fund

Dozens of Netherlands music venues are to benefit from a share of €2 million to help them withstand challenges such as inflation, rising energy costs and the aftermath of Covid restrictions, it has been announced.

Sixty-five venues affiliated with the Association of Dutch Music Venues and Festivals’ (VNPF) will each receive an additional €30,000 from the Prince Bernhard Cultuurfonds (culture fund) for marketing initiatives to rebuild post-pandemic audience numbers and showcase new artists.

“We have looked at where we can currently make a targeted extra investment to make a difference for young audiences and young makers, in places where programming takes place all year round,” says the fund’s director Cathelijne Broers. “Pop culture often comes off badly in subsidy land, so we opted for this.

“Music venues are pre-eminently places where culture reaches young people. And they are essential breeding grounds for young makers and new music movements. So it’s super-important to support them extra.”

The Amsterdam-headquartered cultural foundation says it was moved to act by the findings of the VNPF’s recently-published Pop Stages and Festivals in Figures 2021 report, which showed that 883,000 visits were made to VNPF stages last year, down 16% on 2020 and 83% from 5.2 million recorded in the last pre-pandemic year of 2019.

“With a contribution like this we can start next year with a new plan”

VNPF stages received €36.1m in Covid intervention in 2021, with most support coming from the national government (96%), but warned of a “bleak” financial outlook and said continued assistance was “still very necessary”.

The intervention by the Prince Bernhard Cultuurfonds has been warmly received by the Dutch live industry.

“Paradiso is very happy with this contribution,” says Geert van Itallie, director of Paradiso Amsterdam (cap. 1,500). “We have a relatively low subsidy from the municipality of 5% of our turnover and we almost always have to arrange extra financing for activities that do not cover their own costs.

“With a contribution like this we can start next year with a new plan: every week on Tuesday evenings we keep our small upstairs room available as free space for initiatives that result in something really different than that we already programme regularly ourselves and which do not yet have a good place in the city. An open call will be issued shortly. With this budget, we can support these new activities/programmes from external parties and provide them with a nice new audience.”

“This is so welcome,” adds Kelly Hammer, director of the 500-cap Burgerweeshuis Deventer. “Poppodium Burgerweeshuis is pre-eminently a stage that pays a lot of attention to regional talent. We want to encourage young people to discover their own taste in music and thus make all genres accessible to them.

“With this extra grant we can do more with specific target group marketing, for example by letting the young people themselves be active within Burgerweeshuis in the field of marketing and by letting talented people participate in our talent development programmes.”

 


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