Arts demo violence breaks out in Holland – new video

Arts demo violence breaks out in Holland – new video


norman lebrecht

June 28, 2011

There was police violence  in yesterday’s demos in The Hague – but not involving the orchestra.

Pieter-Jelle de Boer tells me: ‘The orchestra played at the Hofvijver (the “Court Pond”), the large group of protesters (between 7 000 and 10 000) were at the Malieveld (a traditional location for large demonstrations), the smaller group (several hundreds) were near the entrance of the Tweede Kamer (Parliament) where deliberations on the proposed budget cuts were taking place at the time. This is also where the riot police were located. Things turned sour towards the end of the afternoon, around 5.30 or 6.’

Another correspondent writes: ‘Peaceful protesters to the Arts cuts (they were apparently sitting showing peace hand signs on the street) were dealt with excessive force by the riot police-symbolic for the government’s treatment of the Arts.’

See for yourselves. Here’s the video (skip the advert).

Protest Malieveld

photo: Frank Kresincc-by-nc-sa/


  • Marie Lamb says:

    Thanks for the RTL video, which makes clear that the confrontation did not take place at the orchestra’s protest concert. Please note: if you do not have Microsoft Silverlight on your computer, the RTL site will prompt you to download it so you can see the video. The software is harmless and installs quickly, and once you have it, you can see the video.

  • If only Americans had the guts to stand up for public arts funding like the Dutch.

  • William, Americans are too apathetic to stand up for arts funding. It’s just not an essential in our country. Sports and pop culture comes first.

    When one of the local orchestras went belly up here in the northwest, the players were cowered into silence. Why? They were told not to offend trustees and donors who may potentially reorganize and support in the future. So, you see? We have to seal our lips and suck up..I so enjoy your posts.

  • AVI says:

    Marjorie – eh? I thought America was one of the world leaders when it came to arts-supporting philanthropy. Assuming that to be true, that’s hardly Americans being apathetic – that’s them actually doing something about the perceived problem. Handing over your own hard-earned in support of the arts is doing rather a lot more for the arts than shouting loudly and demanding that “the taxpayer” somehow finds the cash to cover it.
    William, is enforced taxpayer funding ‘better’ than private philanthropy or sponsorship?

  • AVI, your use of the term “enforced” reveals your agenda. Neo-cons apply the same concept to many areas of society that are considered part of the common good. They reject government support for schools, parks, highways, hospitals, utilities, water supplies, social security, etc. As a result, the USA is the only developed country in the world without a comprehensive system of public arts funding. (We are also, for example, the only developed country in the world without national health insurance.) In all other developed countries, the view is that America’s unmitigated capitalism creates an isomorphic, corporate-dominated society with reduced individual and social options.

    So yes, America is a leader among private arts philanthropy, mainly because there is no other country in the world willing to embrace its neo-feudalistic system of arts funding by the wealthy. Aside from the appalling social dichotomies created by the system, its ineffectiveness is everywhere apparent. We have only a fraction of the orchestras and opera houses that Europeans have. Germany, for example, has 133 fifty-two week season orchestras while the USA with four times the population has only 18.

    And there is no other country in the world where *major* cultural institutions go through bankruptcy like the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Florida Symphony, the San Diego Symphony, the New Mexico Symphony, the Syracuse Symphony, the Kansas City Philharmonic, the Tulsa Symphony, the New York City Opera, and many others. The only developed countries with even a hint of these kinds of problems are the ones succumbing to American pressure to reduce their public arts funding. The most notable example are Italy, Britain, and Holland. These efforts have met with a great deal of resistance. I trust that the spread of America’s economic extremism will eventually be stopped.

    I wonder when right-wingers will start talking about the “enforced” support of our military budget, which is larger than all the rest of the world’s put together – and which is bankrupting our country. The one-sidedness of their arguments becomes apparent.