The worst arts Government in Europe

The worst arts Government in Europe


norman lebrecht

June 28, 2011

Word has just reached me that the Dutch Parliament has approved a government proposal to cut 60 percent from the subsidy received by the excellent Reisopera touring company.

This decision is not just bad for arts. It is bad government.

Why cut 60 percent? If the rightwing coalition wants to get rid of the company, it should abolish the subsidy altogether. If not, it should make the reduction manageable.

A 60 percent cut is chicken government – a bunch of politicians who are too scrawny and scared to take responsibility for the consequences of their decisions. Reisopera will probably have to shut down as a result of the deep cut. The politicians will then say ‘our hands did not shed this blood.’

Well, they did – and with a cowardice akin to Brutus and his friends. It is a shameful decision, a stain on Dutch democracy.


  • Laurens Otto says:

    As a matter of fact not only the reisopera has to give back 60 percent. But a lot more organisations see big consequences.

    Among this: lost of one theatrecompagny, all small productionhouses (21!) for theatreproductions, 6 orchestras lost 50 percent budget, the muziekcentrum van de omroep looses 60%, 3 dancecompanies loose all and lots more measurements. The sad case is that Secretary of State Zijlstra seems to be not bothered by the lack of any motivation. They tell the artist that they have the back to the audience and the hand to the government to collect money. He easily forgets the hundreds of thousands of enthousiastic spectators.

  • Andrew says:

    My orchestra (Holland Symfonia) is looking at a 65% cut as well. 110 musicians now, to, who knows how many after the budget is slashed? 30, 40?
    Incidentally, we performed Peter Grimes, Ballo, and Hansel and Gretel with the Nationale Reisopera in the last few years.