Home Museum institution Two-fifths of museums ended 2021 in the red: new figures

Two-fifths of museums ended 2021 in the red: new figures


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 fell in 2021 to 11.8 million, down 37% from the 13.2 million people who visited a year earlier. Estimates for this year’s numbers are a third lower than those for 2019, at 23.8 million at best.

NRC points out that the association of performance halls VSCD is expected to record similar audience declines in its annual figures on Friday.

Vera Carasso, director of the Museumvereniging, said the current deterioration of the economic situation is even more worrying.

“Fortunately, the sector has creativity in its DNA, as it takes a long time to anticipate one difficult situation after another,” she said in a press release. “First the pandemic, now inflation and rising taxes.”

She said government money, especially local government money, is critical to safeguarding the future of the country’s museums. ‘If we don’t [have this], we run the risk that many museums, especially locally subsidized ones, will fall further and further behind, be caught in a downward spiral and eventually fail. These institutions preserve our history, tell the stories of our society, and provide essential connection and mutual understanding – things we desperately need right now.

Last week, Laurien Saraber, director of cultural organization Amsterdams Fonds voor de Kunst, told the parool that many businesses have felt burnt out. “Organizations have exhausted their reserves, they have disappointing audience numbers, staffing issues, less international collaboration and a lot of delays and downsizing,” she reportedly said.

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