SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – Nurturing young talent is one of the main strands of the government’s plans to invest an extra €80 million a year in culture, minister Ingrid van Engelshoven has told MPs.
‘If you look at the top level of our orchestras, societies and museums, it all looks fantastic,’ Van Engelshoven said in a letter to parliament. ‘But if you don’t invest it raises the question: will we still have such a fantastic top tier in 10 or 20 years’ time?’
The D66 minister said she had spent months talking to organisations to pinpoint what problems had arisen as a result of the €200 million in budget cuts imposed by her predecessor, VVD minister Halbe Zijlstra.
The government is also spending more money on giving schoolchildren access to culture with a €4.9 million scheme to allow every child to visit at least one museum during their school career and an extra €5 million for music lessons.
There will also be an extra €325 million to restore and maintain historic buildings, especially churches. Van Engelshoven denied that the emphasis was a concession to the Christian parties in the coalition: ‘Churches play a huge role in our heritage if you’re talking about the distinguishing features of the landscape. If you go walking, which I do a lot, you often walk from church to church.’ (DutchNews)