Not all museums were as busy as the Rijksmuseum Photo: S Boztas
A total of 43% of museums in the Netherlands ended last year in the red, according to new figures from the museum association Museumvereniging.
Visitor numbers dropped in 2021 to 11.8 million, down 37% from the 13.2 million people who visited a year earlier. The estimates for numbers this year are a third lower than in 2019, with 23.8 million in the best-case scenario.
NRC reports that the performance venues association VSCD is expected to report similar audience drops in its annual figures on Friday.
Vera Carasso, director of the Museumvereniging, said that the current worsening economic situation is even more of a worry.
‘Luckily, the sector has creativity in its DNA, because it takes a lot to think ahead with one difficult situation after another,’ she said in a press release. ‘First the pandemic, now inflation and rising taxes.’
She said government cash, especially from local government, is essential to preserve the future of the country’s museums. ‘If we don’t [have this], we run run the risk that many museums, especially locally-subsidised ones, will fall further and further behind, get sucked into a downward spiral and ultimately fail.
‘These institutions preserve our history, tell our society’s stories and provide essential connection and mutual understanding – things that we desperately need right now.’
Pandemic visits  Image: Museumvereniging
Last week Laurien Saraber, director of the Amsterdams Fonds voor de Kunst cultural organisation told the Parool newspaper that many companies felt burnt out. ‘Organisations have gone through their reserves, they have disappointing audience numbers, personnel problems, less international collaboration, and a lot of delays and scale-downs,’ she reportedly said.

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