Protest for higher culture budget yields extra 25 million euros

The Flemish government is allocating an additional 25 million euros annually to continue subsidising the large cultural houses that received a negative recommendation. This decision was taken after protests from the sector about a too low culture budget.

The assessment committee that examines the operating subsidies in the Flemish cultural sector issued a number of surprising recommendations in March. Some large cultural organisations no longer received a positive advice and therefore feared for their future. Others did receive a positive recommendation but were left out due to a shortage of budget. Under the name "Verbeelding Werkt" (Imagination Works), more than 6,000 people quickly signed a petition to increase the culture budget from 0.27 to 0.35 percent of the Flemish budget.

The government has now decided to allocate 178 million annually for the next five years, compared to 153 million today. In this way, all the organisations that received a positive assessment but fell outside the budget can still be supported. These include the orchestra Anima Eterna, Kopergietery and theatre company De Roovers.

Also nine organisations which received a negative advice retain their operating subsidies. This concerns theatre company Toneelhuis, music ensemble Ictus, music ensemble Casco Phil, performing arts collective Needcompany, art house Z33, music group Huelgas Ensemble, children's theatre group 4Hoog, folk presentation place 't Ey and the Ensemble Terra Nova, which focuses on the unknown Flemish musical heritage from the 18th and 19th centuries.

Dance company Troubleyn does lose its subsidies. Choreographer Jan Fabre was convicted of violence, bullying and sexual harassment at work. The company took measures, such as an integrity plan, but still received a negative recommendation.




© BELGA PHOTO NICOLAS MAETERLINCK The Bourla schouwburg/ Toneelhuis. The organisation behind the famous Bourlaschouwburg in Antwerp got a negative advice but received funding after all. ​

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