Petition against new cultural policy in the Netherlands

Published on June 17th, 2011


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New cultural policy in the Netherlands and the future of Open, Cahier on Art & the Public Domain.

also as non-Dutch resident you can sign this petition

Amsterdam, 17 June 2011

Re: New cultural policy in the Netherlands and the future of Open, Cahier on Art & the Public Domain

Dear friends of Open,

The recent announcement that governmental funding of SKOR | Foundation for Art and Public Domain will be stopped by 2013 means that the existence of Open, as a project of SKOR, is also threatened!

On 10 June, the Dutch Secretary of State for Culture Halbe Zijlstra (VVD) presented the new cultural policy and the measures that are to be implemented in this regard. Under the pretext of economizing, an unprecedented intervention in the Dutch cultural system is being perpetrated. This above all seems to be an ideological modification of a social-liberal cultural policy into one that is neoliberal and populist. The extreme extent of the cutbacks (more than 30% for the visual arts!), the rapidity with which these must be implemented and the radical choices that have been made (whereby the Secretary of State has completely ignored the advice of the Netherlands Arts Council) would appear to confirm this. The new concept for art and culture is primarily aimed at efficiency, market processes and large audience reach.

In the visual arts, not only are fusions being forced and budgets cut in half, but governmental funding of various renowned institutions is being completely stopped. This is not just the fate of SKOR, but also that of the Netherlands Institute for Media Art (NIMK), Manifesta, the Rijksacademie, Jan van Eyck, De Ateliers and six of the eleven prestigious Dutch exhibition institutes. Art journals and magazines will no longer be subsidized.

Open is a groundbreaking SKOR project with an independent editorial team. It is published by NAi Publishers in collaboration with SKOR, and since 2004 has been an esteemed international platform for experimental and interdisciplinary thought on art, culture and the public domain. Open publishes profound, in-depth essays and is not aimed at a wide audience. It is not profitable and has but a small market. It is unique and invaluable. How Open can possibly manage to survive without SKOR in the current neoliberal and populist Dutch climate and its denuded cultural landscape is difficult to imagine right now…

Your declaration of support is urgently needed, and SKOR and Open are calling on you to make a stand against the present, fatal developments. We ask you to sign the digital petitions below before 20 June. And please, forward the petitions within your network!

On 27 June, the new cultural policy plan will be discussed in the Lower House. We will keep you informed.

Kind regards,

Jorinde Seijdel & Liesbeth Melis
Editor in Chief and Editor of Open, Cahier on Art & the Public Domain

Petition SKOR

General petition against the cutbacks in the arts

Relevant links
Slash & Burn, blog Sven Lütticken (English)
Platform Dutch art organizations
Letter by united Dutch art organizations to Halbe Zijlstra (English)


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