Dutch Arts Scene Is Under Siege

AMSTERDAM — The Netherlands’ national theater museum here contains about half a million costumes, masks, annotated scripts, photographs, puppets, props and other objects that tell the story of more than 300 years of theater in the Dutch language.

Founded in 1924 and refreshed with regular acquisitions, the museum is the primary repository of the nation’s performing arts heritage, and until now has always been financed by the state.

But on Jan. 1, the Theatre Institute Netherlands, or TIN, which houses and maintains the collection, was one of the first victims of sweeping new cultural budget cuts initiated by the conservative-led Parliament in 2011 and finalized last year. The TIN’s federal financing plummeted from €4 million a year, about $5 million, to zero, forcing it to fire about 70 full- and part-time staff, halt operations and close the museum indefinitely.




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