Budget cuts in Belgium: a culture war, Right

The Flemish government has reduced the Budget for culture, which stands for an open society. The scene protested. 12. November, before the 'Beursschouwburg'

Budget cuts in Belgium: a culture war, Right

The Flemish government has reduced the Budget for culture, which stands for an open society. The scene protested.

12. November, before the 'Beursschouwburg' in Brussels: 2000 Artist*interior photo: Stefan Bläske

On 7 protest. November shook Flanders news: The right-wing liberal government, under the N-VA Minister and culture Minister, Jan Jambon truncates the beginning of the year 2020, the Budget of the major cultural institutions, 3 to 6 percent, the available project funding by 60 percent. A total of 22 million euros will be deleted. For the first day of action on 12. November, convened the multi-disciplinary art centre 'Beursschouwburg' in Brussels, appeared over 2,000 artists from all over the country.

Under the slogan #thisisourculture actions of all kinds run since then, Almost in disbelief, it was against this Background, last Friday, on 15. November, in Flanders, the message added that the German government increases its expenditure on culture to an additional 54 million, to a total of over 2 billion.

"The artistic avant-garde revived the democratic discourse", is quoted by the German state Minister for Culture Monika Grütters in the press release. And they are right, no one is such a good ally for the open society such as a free cultural scene. And also the Flemish rights, which wants to get rid of the avant-garde is now white.

Because, unlike Germany, which has a close-knit network of municipal theatres, the strength of the Flemish art production in the independent scene. There are in the whole of Flanders, only three of the city theatre – one of these is the NTGent. All the big names (Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker, Alain Platel, Needcompany, Miet Warlop, Luk Perceval) of the Flemish art come from the independent scene.

A radical reduction of the free project support, accompanied by a weakening of the strength of the institutions, it means the end of the Performance history in Flanders. Because both the last Chapter of a for more than 10 years of sustained wave of Austerity in the Flemish cultural sector. No other sector of the Belgian economy produces so much more value and is so cost-effective for international broadcasting.

A letter to the international curators of the Tate summed up in a Modern up to the Vienna festival weeks, the Prime Minister Jambon all of these arguments, garnished with actually quite liberal Trigger words such as "Flemish emancipation" and of "international excellence". What would have come 15 years ago no*r Left on the lips, has long been standard rhetoric in the arts sector.

In dozens of other Statements and open letters, the artists strive their ties with Flanders, to underline. But neo-liberal and identitarian same circuit is not enough anymore, Right. You want to get rid of the avant-garde, even if it is Flemish, and is economically excellent. Simply because it "enlivens democratic discourse".

While round to take the rights to fascist governments to Power in Hungary, Brazil, the USA and, more recently, in Bolivia, to name only a few examples – exacerbated now by the culture war in the European capital.

Because the cuts more than "artistic experiments", such as the rights, of the Left hand unnecessarily acquired Propaganda wants to make believe. It comes to the preservation of a democratic art of beyond Opera houses and war monuments. If we don't win this fight, all our other battles for equality or diversity pointless.

Updated Date: 19 November 2019, 12:00

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