Only through culture can people give meaning to their lives and their place in society.
The core business of the cultural sector is shaping society.
Through socialization (bringing people into a social order), qualification (teaching people knowledge and skills) and subjectivization (giving people an autonomous voice), the giving) a culture is kept alive and well.
Cultural education contributes to cognitive skills, in the first place cognitive skills in the field of culture itself.
Cultural participation makes a substantial contribution to both mental and physical health.
The cultural sector encourages emotional involvement and (self) reflection.
Cultural activities contribute to the growth of the (local) economy.
Participation in cultural activities leads to the strengthening of social bonds within one's own group as well as with strangers or unknowns.
A lively community cannot do without a space of cultural exchange and dissensus in which divergent opinions, attitudes and lifestyles are continually collide.
Both economic and political crises are partly due to a lack of attention to and recognition of culture.
The above is from The value of culture, a 2014 study by the University of Groningen, in which the researchers looked at the cognitive effects, health, experiential values, economic and social effects of culture.
An entirely different survey, the annual museum survey by The Art Newspaper, recently showed that by corona the visit to the hundred largest museums in the world fell by 77 percent last year.
Are the Germans, Belgians and English happier later?
In the Netherlands the museums and presentation institutions are - apart from some trials - still closed. The Belgians, Germans, and English have been able to do so since December 1, 2020, respectively, 8 March 2021 and 12 April 2021 to visit their museums and presentation institutions again.
What would be the long-term consequences of closing the museums? Will Germans, Belgians and English be happier in later life, will they experience more meaning and cohesion? How will cognitive skills differ in the future - and how will this affect the future political appreciation of art and culture? Will there be differences in health, emotional involvement and the capacity for (self) reflection? And the social ties with strangers; will our collective xenophobia after so much cultural abstinence be a be given any more certainty? And can we deal at all with dissensus, or would we rather avoid that as much as possible?
We'll soon be able to shake hands - elbow - with the French.
We don't know. We'll be able to shake hands - elbow - with the French. There, the museums do not reopen until 12 May. In the Netherlands, people with a Museumjaarkaart can now visit a of the selected museums; provided it was booked in time and only if a quick test was carried out that was organised by a foundation that received 925 million euros from the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport for this purpose and of which it is unclear how they spend the money and how they got the assignment*.
To avoid dissensus, we'll leave it at that.