Cultural sector in dire straits

Photo credit: Eindhoven Media Library

The corona crisis has hit Eindhoven culture sector hard. Additional government support is needed to stay afloat, the directors of the Muziekgebouw and Parktheater say. 

“We got a €3 million grant, but we earn €7 million. That income evaporated after mid-March. All the while you try to keep everyone employed. We need help with that. But that help will not get us all the way. We’re going to struggle because of this for years to come”, Giel Pastoor, Parktheater’s director, says.

Expenses simply continue, but the large organisations has all but lost their hospitality revenues and sponsorships. It is also all hands on deck at the Muziekgebouw. The extra financial support from the central government and the Municipality is sorely needed.

No income, but costs continue

“We can’t survive without government support. Ticket sales, catering, sponsoring has all fallen away. But the fixed costs continue,” says Wim Vringer, director of the Muziekgebouw.

The national government has already spent €300 million on the country’s ailing culture sector. Eindhoven City Council’s also put €3 million aside for this sector. But, according to Wim, that’s not enough. “That’s why pressure must remain on the national government to offer money for rent compensation. That’s the biggest problem for us, with a rent of €2 million per year”.

Cultural stages are now allowed to admit at most 30 people per performance. Next month, this number will increase to 100. It’s not profitable yet. Natlab cinema’s already had to lay off employees.

‘We might have to take drastic steps’

And if the crisis lasts much longer, the same will happen at Parktheater and Muziekgebouw. “It’s nonsensical to think that if your programme and the audience shrinks, the organisation won’t be affected. In the long run, we may have to take horrible steps”, Pastoor says.

Parktheater and the Muziekgebouw were closed for three months. This week the two institutions will open their doors again for the first time.

Source: Studio040

Translator: Bob

Editor: Melinda Walraven

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