The cultural sector is relieved to hear that the cabinet has decided to conditionally open the cultural sector until 10 p.m., instead of the 8 p.m. advised by the OMT. But it is not logical that it is not possible a little later, so that regular performances and performances can be held. “Finally some good news,” says Jurry Oortwijn, head of marketing at the Amsterdam concert hall Paradiso. “Ten o’clock is not nice for us, but we can do concerts at eight o’clock if we have to.”
Jeroen Bartelse, director of concert hall TivoliVredenburg and member of the Taskforce Cultural and Creative Sector: “It is important that the sector reopens, that has certainly helped the sector in part. It would make more sense to set the time a little further back because of the spread of the run, so that fewer people are on their feet at the same time.” Last week, the Taskforce published a plan for the safe permanent (partial) opening of the cultural sector, regardless of the degree of contamination.
Bartelse emphasizes that it is not yet known exactly what the conditions for opening will be, such as a maximum occupancy or mandatory seats. The cabinet will make the final decision on the measures on Tuesday. Oortwijn: “If only remote seating concerts are allowed, we will move some small hall shows to the large hall. We have a number of Dutch artists ‘under the button’ to do shows for 250 seated people in the short term.”
Also read this report about the cultural protests: ‘A haircut in the theater and a boot camp lesson in the museum’
There was great social pressure on the cabinet to open the cultural sector after the previous press conference. On Wednesday, the sector itself protested by opening theaters and museums such as hair salons and gyms, followed the next day by an open letter from thirty mayors, often chairmen of the security regions, who called on the cabinet to open catering and culture.
Ivo van Hove, director of International Theater Amsterdam (ITA) threatened on Sunday at the TV program Buitenhof polite that it would be a ‘humble’ if the theaters didn’t open. Van Hove also said that “the way to court would then be the appropriate way”. On Sunday evening, a large number of, often socially influential, supervisors of large cultural institutions joined. They wrote a “cry from the heart” to the new ministers. Until her appointment, State Secretary for Culture Gunay Uslu was a supervisor at a number of cultural institutions.
“We are sincerely concerned that the cultural sector will not recover from the lockdowns of the past two years,” the regulators wrote in the letter. “Our concerns are about cultural survival, even more than economic survival.” The circumstances in the autumn, when concerts and performances could take place until midnight, provided the bar closed at 8:00 pm, they call ‘workable’.
Also read this profile of Gunay Uslu: ‘Macher’ puts charm in discipline
The relaxation will not work out the same for everyone within the cultural sector. Museums will largely be able to open as they are used to, but the pop sector and clubs will not. Berend Schans, director of pop and festival umbrella organization VNPF: “It is a nice and hopeful intermediate step, but this does not help our pop sector yet. Apparently, the same road to reopening should be followed as to closure, but the other way around.” He argues for faster opening. “We want to open without restrictive measures. A large part of our normal turnover is realized between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m. With an average of about 90 to 95 percent room occupancy (without one and a half meters) we can cover the costs.”