Rutte Government Makes its Next Move
Last Friday Halbe Zijlstra, Vice Minister responsible for culture (VVD), presented his final plan for cultural funding cuts to the House of Representatives.
The design sector fared well compared with others. It will lose 10% of its funding in 2013 and Premsela, the Institute for Design and Fashion must find ways to cooperate with both the NAi and the Virtual Platform.
The wording of the document is not completely clear, but it seems that the three disciplines will maintain their visibility and the brands of each organization will be protected. The long-term goal, however, is to create one creative industries institute for all three disciplines.
“We were already working on cooperation with the Virtual Platform and we also work together in the DutchDFA programme with which Holland profiles itself as a top tier country in the fashion, design and architecture sectors,” says Els van der Plas, Director of Premsela in an interview with NRC Handelsblad. “Premsela will work to ensure that design guards its own position.”
Ole Bouman, Director of the NAi, is also positive about setting up one cultural institute. “If I see how the different disciplines are growing together, then cooperation can lead to new and interesting projects,” he says in the same article.
For other cultural organizations the scale of the planned cuts are far more drastic.
The VVD led coalition (with the support of PVV) enjoys a majority in the House of Representatives, but already there are rumors of dissent both from within the immediate coalition members and even amongst VVD members themselves.
For the proposals to become legislation, a political majority in both houses is needed.
This week Vrij Nederland, a political weekly magazine, published a fascinating feature about how the VVD managed to get this far. Their vision started back in 2008 and entailed putting full attention on only three issues - the economy, law and order and immigration all the while painting so-called “left-wing, inner-city, intellectual elites” as the opponents of the suburban majority. The goal was to mobilize that majority while fuelling their insecurities.
It is reported that design and architecture were spared from even bigger cuts because the government views both industries as economically relevant. “The government is setting new priorities in its cultural agenda and each sector needs to become more market oriented,” NRC reports.
In an interview with the same newspaper Willem Velthoven, Director of Mediamatic, criticized that sentiment: “The government only looks at how to exploit the arts sector in the short term,” he says.
The point is that even the most economically viable cultural ideas can take years to develop.
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