Amsterdamse Kunstraad

Dutch National Opera & Ballet’s response to the advice of the Amsterdam Arts Council

14 June 2024

We have taken note with great appreciation of the positive advice of the Amsterdam Arts Council (AAC) regarding Dutch National Ballet (DNB). In that advice, the high artistic level of our productions, the quality of our dancers, and our value to the cultural infrastructure of Amsterdam are acknowledged.

Nevertheless, the AAC advises reducing our subsidy for the period 2025–2028 by an amount of € 300,000 per year. Along with (proportionally) comparable reductions in the subsidies of ITA and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, this will free up an amount that will benefit the Meervaart and the Bijlmerparktheater.

We know that these theatres play an incredibly important role in their neighbourhoods, where the cultural infrastructure urgently needs reinforcement. That is not up for debate. 

However, the advice of the AAC means that we will have to make painful choices that will impact our programming and our organisation.

Moreover, there is another proposed cut hanging over us. The Alderman has previously announced shifting € 3 million per year, starting in 2025, from the seven institutions subsidized by the municipality, including Dutch National Ballet, to the AFK. This intention has not yet disappeared from the table.

In today’s advice, the AAC calls this cut “irresponsible”. Therefore, the ACC advises the College to find alternative coverage for this € 3 million. This way, the AFK’s budget expansion does not have to come at the expense of the budgets of these institutions.

We are very pleased with that advice. Because adding these cuts to the increase in VAT and possible national subsidy reductions, it is clear that this will have serious consequences for our artistic quality, our accessibility, our social impact, our local collaborations, and our international (top) position. These are aspects that the AAC has specifically mentioned in its positive assessment of DNB.

We therefore make an urgent appeal to the College to adopt this advice from the AAC for the entire subsidy period 2025–2028, so that our subsidy reduction remains limited to a maximum of € 300,000 per year. This amount, combined with the increased labour costs and material and energy costs, is already challenging enough.

The AAC’s advice regarding the budget for multi-year maintenance of the building is also important. The AAC rightly emphasises that if the maintenance of the municipal buildings costs more than the current maintenance subsidy available, the municipality should make up the difference. For this reason, we had requested an additional amount of € 200,000 per year in our subsidy application.

The complete advice of the AAC can be found here (in Dutch)