Culiblog, Massive Dutch Protests Planned Against Obliteration of Cultural Funding

Massive Dutch Protests Planned Against Obliteration of Cultural Funding

Imagine this: you’re an internationally recognised Dutch cultural institution of art/design/media culture. You have a substantial collection; media art, landscape art, but also paintings/ sculptures/ installations/ photography/ film/ design objects/ and artist-activist works in the public space that regenerate your city’s ill-planned urban areas. In short, you host a platform for innovation representing the entire gamut of your discipline. Over the past decades you have made substantial cultural impact in your field and thus you are considered to be a driver of culture. The artists/designers/architects whose works comprise your collection and fill your programming are also recognized internationally, and they often represent the Netherlands all over the world, in biennials and important exhibitions.

And then one day you receive a letter from the new Dutch Ministry of Culture that your funding will be completely withdrawn as of January 1, 2013. What do you do with your collection? Your staff? Your buildings? Your publications? The rest of the year’s programming? What will the artists/activists/designers/architects and your engaged public do, now that they no longer have access to your platform?

This Sunday and Monday the Dutch cultural sector will gather and protest en masse the unspeakably ill-informed budget cuts proposed by Secretary of State Halbe Zijlstra. These cuts are not simply across-the-board austerity measures taken from all sectors, but represent the destruction of Dutch cultural heritage in one fell swoop. Aside from the radical and sometimes COMPLETE obliteration of budgets for new media culture, design, art in the public space, and architecture, Zijlstra’s proposed budget, which ignores the advice given by his own advisory panel, will also severely and negatively impact spending in the areas of science, health care, and the environment.

Shockingly, though not surprisingly, the proposed cultural sector budget erasures represent a proportional drop in the bucket of overall national spending, less than 1%. By comparison, a 1% reduction in our annual asphalt budget alone would make cuts in culture in these areas unnecessary.

The Dutch cultural sector has produced a counter proposal which you can read here.

Here is a list of actions we can all take before June 27 that will likely impact the parliamentary debates on Monday:

1. Sign our petitions. 10.000 signatures to support Dutch media culture, art in the public space will make an enormous difference.

2. Occupy with us. On Sunday from 11-17:00 hours we will join together to occupy the Boijmans van Beuningen Museum in Rotterdam.

3. Wear sensible shoes and walk with us: Sunday evening we will march en masse from the Boijmans Museum to the Hague in a Civilized March Mars der Beschaving.

4. Attend our demonstrations: Here is a complete list - in Dutch infortch - but you’ll be suprprised how well you’ll manage it.

5. Vote correctly and encourage those around you to do so as well in all future elections. Do not let the undereducated populists ever come to power again.

6. And if you’re a believer, we urge you to please pray the rapid disintegration of this embarassingly shortsighted MINORITY cabinet.