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From Eelco van der Lingen, Director of the Mondriaan Fund, April 17

Eelco van der Lingen. Foto: Aad Hoogendoorn Eelco van der Lingen. Foto: Aad Hoogendoorn

Dear visual arts and cultural heritage professional,

The corona crisis is having an unbelievable impact on all our lives and causing great uncertainly throughout society, certainly in the visual arts and heritage sector. Everywhere we look, artists and mediators are seeing their incomes dissipate. Exhibitions and festivals can no longer take place, the loss of revenue for museums is enormous, and gallery sales have dropped. As a result, suppliers and supporting businesses are also in difficulty.

It is only logical that the sector is worried and hoping for support. The generic national support package is not enough for everyone and irreversible damage to the sector seems inevitable. For this reason, Minister Van Engelshoven has made it known that an extra 300 million Euros is being made available. We are pleased by this move. We understand that the damage to the cultural sector is much greater than that and that not everyone can be helped, but we recognize the government effort towards keeping the cultural infrastructure intact as a positive signal. One part of this package of national government measures is the support of important local institutions, on condition that local governments also contribute. We hope that this matching will generate further growth in the total budget.

In addition, together with the other five national cultural funds, we have submitted proposals to make supplemental measures available from within our own existing capabilities. I hope that we can quickly announce how the Mondrian Fund will be able to help artists, mediators and institutes keep their practices going.

To create space to keep individual practices operational, the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (OCW) has asked the national cultural funds to be flexible with performance and production requirements. As an applicant, you do not need to worry if the corona virus has meant that your project cannot take place. You can count on the financing that has been promised. We do expect that all involved parties included in the proposed financing of the project (artists, freelancers, authors, etc.) are paid, even if they are unable to execute the work.

We moreover want to make these payments as quickly as possible, which means not postponing the event or project, but concluding it so that payments can be made. Please feel free to submit a new application for an activity after the corona crisis abates. What we are most concerned about is that everyone is able to continue. At this moment, this is more important than the execution of the activities themselves (however much we look forward to the time when this is possible again). We call on everyone to cancel, rather than postpone their projects, because we anticipate new problems if events planned for the autumn again cannot take place or if too many activities are planned for too small an audience.

The current situation is making a great deal impossible, but we will continue to think about how a future cultural landscape can continue to function. The moment to do that is now, because not only the practices of institutions, museums, exhibition spaces and artists will change in the near future, but so too will the way in which our entire society organizes itself. This will also affect how the public relates to social structures, mobility, sustainability and identity.

The future holds a great challenge: in practice, how do we deal with the limitations of defining a cultural programme in a meter-and-a-half reality? That future also holds a great challenge in terms of substance and content.

I trust in the great and constant power of culture, and I wish everyone courage, good health and success.

Eelco van der Lingen


A number of practical notes:

The Mondriaan Fund operates on the basis of great involvement, but it is not an interest group. In contrast, Beeldende Kunst Nederland (BNKL, Visual Arts Netherlands) is indeed an interest group. BKNL is the combination of collected interest groups and associations representing those in the visual arts, including Platform BK, the Kunstenbond, Kunsten ’92, the Beroepsvereniging van Beeldende Kunstenaars, the Nederlandse Galerie Associatie, De Zaak Nu (association for performance institutions) and Overlegplatform. The Museums Association is also involved. BKNL is also represented in the task force of Kunsten ’92, which advises the Minister. I encourage everyone to join one of these interest groups, because the better the field is represented, the stronger its voice.

The Mondriaan Fund is not involved with interpreting the Tegemoetkoming Ondernemers Getroffen Sectoren Covid-19 (so-called TOGS, subsidies for sectors affected by Covid-19). We will do our best to operate in complement with these measures.

If you have questions concerning your application or project, feel free to contact the staff of the Mondriaan Fund.

Most of all, please continue to submit your applications! We want as many arrangements as possible to take place. We therefore also hope that applicants continue to apply.

Here are some examples of projects for which applications can be submitted:
– Artists with plans for new work and experimentation can apply for funding through the Werkbijdrage Jong Talent (up until four years after completing their studies) or the Werkbijdrage Bewezen Talent (after at least four years of sustained professional practice).
– Artists and mediators with plans involving specific periods of time, such as the completion of new work, a research project or a collaboration, can apply for a Projectinvestering (project investment).
– Those wishing to commission art in the heart of society can commission artists to make works for public space with the help of the Bijdrage Opdrachtgeverschap (subsidies for commissioning works).
– Institutions can submit applications for projects, collaborations and research.

Please consult our online news announcement with references to the various relevant websites.