December 3, 2020

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Ten museums fall over: “Our savings are gone”

Ten museums fall over: "Our savings are gone"

About ten museums will have to close permanently within six months due to the corona crisis. According to a survey by the museum association, a quarter of all museums believe they can sing it for another year.

The latter was also the case in July. The reopening brought in some money again in the summer. But now that the exhibition halls are closed again, revenues are drying up and the end of the reserves is increasingly in sight.

Many of the museums are still living on emergency aid from the government. In some cases, however, the support packages also interfere with each other. The museum association gives an example: “If a community provides emergency aid to a museum, this support is accounted for with the NOW and thus benefits the state.”

In addition, 10 percent of museums receive little or no emergency aid. “Most of us fell by the wayside,” says Marcella Dings, chairwoman of the Museum de Kantfabriek in Horst. The textile museum did not receive any compensation for a corona renovation, as the costs remained under 5000 euros. And for the special corona support for cultural institutions, museums must have 40,000 visitors. “In a good year we could have 14,000.”

Less travel and no catering

For its income, the Kantfabriek depends on the sale of tickets, coffee and flan. The temporary exhibitions in particular attract visitors from all over the country to the former lace factory, which has housed a museum since 2009.

Due to the obligatory museum closings and the fear of traveling, it was quiet this year: the number of visitors has been around 2000 so far. “The reserves are now shrinking rapidly,” says Dings. “If it continues like this, it will be ready in June.” And so the museum, which is run exclusively by volunteers, has to be cut back. “We had saved to replace the gutter. That is not possible now.”

The same exhibition is longer

The photo museum at Vrijthof in Maastricht also has to be cut back considerably in order to survive. A proposed raise will be canceled and instead of a new exhibition, the current exhibition will remain in place until next summer.

“Still, I think we’ll survive,” says director Erik de Jong. “We’re busy collecting other flows of money. For example, we’d like to set up a photo gallery with photos for sale.”

Both De Jong and Dings have hope for a possible corona vaccine. “Maybe we’re lucky and the vaccine will be on time,” said Dings. She hopes that Mieke Werners’ felt artist exhibition will attract audiences from all over the Netherlands to Horst. “We will then automatically build up the financial reserves again.”