As we all know, between 2013 and 2016, the state cut 200 million euros per year from the culture budget (out of a total budget of 900 million euros). The market had to do its job and artists had to become more entrepreneurial. The consequences have certainly not gone unnoticed by the sector - and especially by the artists. The art market simply does not work according to the trading principle of supply and demand.

A new cultural planning period is upon us. For the coming period (2017-2020), there will be a structural increase of 10 million euros in the culture budget from the state. A paltry pittance. Art and culture will therefore remain under pressure in the coming years, and with it everyone working in this sector - and especially the artists. The image of these artists - and the sector - is now somewhat better than it was four years ago. More widely shared is the realization that artists are hard workers; entrepreneurial, innovative, international. And the sector is resilient - a painful compliment repeated again and again.

In Dutch government policy, art and culture will remain an "underdog" in the coming years. Words recognize the value of art, but these words translate only minimally into deeds. By way of comparison, Defense will receive an additional 300 million euros next year (out of a total budget of 7.9 billion); one and a half times the previous administration's culture cuts.

Economizing on culture is easy and reversing it is equally difficult. Yet a recently published UNESCO study shows that cities do well thanks to culture, especially when the presence of culture is taken into account in the urban planning phase. This applies both to prosperous peaceful cities and cities in war zones.

So culture has a positive impact on the effects of wars, among other things. That means quite a lot! Thinking about this, an almost ideal world unfolds, a world in which traumas are better processed, a world with more understanding of others, a world in which the environment feels safer. These are idealistic thoughts, especially at a time when hard values thrive and fear is an accepted counselor.

Many artists will have to do their work in the coming years using financial leftovers, and they will be looking for other opportunities. So let's be practical - and entrepreneurial - and take a close look at the study BKNL recently commissioned to see if the meager budgets of artists and art institutions can be supplemented a bit by government subsidies for entrepreneurs. Market forces in the arts will never work, but government stimulation of market forces extends beyond the arts and culture sector.

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