It's chop-chop for the Dutch – 22% arts cuts

It's chop-chop for the Dutch – 22% arts cuts


norman lebrecht

September 17, 2010



The performing arts in the Neth erlands are reeling from government plans to cut more than one-fifth of arts subsidies, with the brunt falling on the country’s excellent orchestras. Total savings estimated are 220 million Euros.

As many as 280 to 300 musicians’ jobs may go, affecting such international ensembles as the Rotterdam Philharmonic and the Residentie orchestra of The Hague to the point where their survival might be at stake. Tough times ahead for Yannick-Nézét-Séguin and Neeme Järvi.

The effect on the Concertgebouw orchestra is not yet known but the hall’s artistic director Anneke Hogensteijn has recently resigned.

In an unconected move, Dutch Radio has announced cutbacks in live classical concerts, shifting the relays to unsocial hours.


Here’s a couple of articles (in Dutch)


  • Cécile Hessels says:

    Fear for what’s to come. Sofar little or no reaction from the people to whom it concerns directly, the artists and program makers. The few not too impressive petitions offered by a some thousands of angry and worried people have been ignored by the neo-barbarians.
    Action will come, but maybe first the true fact will have to be known.

  • Tim Dowling says:

    Tough times for the conductors????
    I rather think Messrs Järvi and Nezet Seguin will have somewhat of a less tough time of it than the musicians of their Residentie and Rotterdam orchestras if these plans go ahead as they seem certain to do. Basically the Dutch orchestras are expected to morph into London-style orchestras, and rely on a lot less subsidy. A fine objective, but one which needs to be introduced a little more gradually I feel. To leave the orchestras enitrly to private enterprise will almost certainly spell dramatic cuts in size and repertoire, if not the disappearance of more than one or two orchestras

  • ambala says:

    The plan as it stands in the coalition programme is to close down the Centre for music (MCO)of the National Radio, which means 2 orchestras – Ned Phil and Ned Chamber Phil, Dutch Radio Choir, Metropole orchestra (Big Band) and one of the biggest if not the biggest music library in Europe. Outrageous!! They want to kill the only profesional big symphonic choir in this region of Europe. This all will have devestating effects on the Concertgebouw building whose 20% of concerts are done by the MCO ensembles. Also needs to be said that these concerts are always full, always receive positive critics and are extremely well received. SHAME OF LIBERAL AND FASCIST DUTCH POLITICIANS.

  • For years we in the USA have looked on in dismay as arts budgets nationwide have simply been cut or eliminated by ignorant bean-counters and politicians, as though art, music and dance have ceased to be important – even critical – to people’s lives. What is even more disturbing is the utter lack of training in their own musical hertitage offered to school children, training that should take place from the time that children are taught to communicate through speech. As is the case with our stewardship of the environment, we are robbing our own children of their heritage in order to satisfy narrow, short-term fiscal concerns. We condemn them to illiteracy, and the arts to oblivion. This barbarous assault on the arts flies in the face of all reason and ignores the fact that they provide much of life’s meaning, without which all the computations and prudent fiscal management in the world are in vain. No great civilization will ever be known to future generations principally by the assiduousness of its accountants, especially if, in the process, the arts are thrown under the bus.
    That Europe, where government sponsorship is so crucial, should be going this route is profoundly disturbing, and shows that, perhaps, the greater part of its cultural heritage, of which so many Europeans are justly proud, is far less secure than we in the Americas would have thought. Everyone should be demanding – urgently – that their political leaders come to their senses and cease their vandalism of this most important part of our heritage. And, frankly, if anyone should know better, it is the Dutch.