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EACEA National Policies Platform


8. Creativity and Culture

8.2 Administration and governance

Last update: 28 November 2023
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  1. Governance
  2. Cross-sectorial cooperation


Policy making in the field of youth creativity and culture in the Netherlands, primarily takes place on the level of education. The government does not mention young people as a specific group with regard to its efforts around creativity and culture, but they do issue programmes that are specifically developed for children and youth in primary, secondary and tertiary education.

Three levels of governance

In the Netherlands, as with other policies, three governance levels are involved in cultural education and cultural participation:

1. National Government

In the creativity and culture sector the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (Ministerie van Onderwijs, Cultuur en Wetenschap OCW) is the responsible ministry. The Ministry states that it works towards a smart, capable and creative state. OCW promotes high quality education for all citizens and promotes independence and responsibility. In other words, everybody must be able to experience culture and teachers, artists and scientists must be facilitated to contribute to this aim.

Council for Culture

The Council for Culture (Raad voor Cultuur) is a body established by law to advise the Dutch Government and Parliament on arts, culture and media. The Council gives recommendations regarding cultural policy in the Netherlands. Usually, the Council draws up these recommendations at the request of the Minister of Education, Culture and Science. Every four years, the Council presents its recommendations on the perennial, government-subsidized, cultural institutions. The recommendations are not binding; the Minister has the final say about which institutes are eligible for subsidy.

Cultural survey

In ‘The Cultural Survey’ (2014), the Council for Culture outlines trends and developments in the Dutch cultural sector, and concludes that cultural policy is facing a number of fundamental challenges. Based on the conclusions drawn in ‘The Cultural Survey’, the ‘Agenda for Culture’ advised the Minister of Education, Culture and Science (OCW) on salient points of cultural policy, the government term 2017-2020 and further ahead.

Agenda for culture

In the Summary of the Agenda for Culture, the Council describes challenges in different areas and urban regions and makes several suggestions for changes in policy. (see also 8.1 ‘Main trends’). At the end (page 4), the Council for Culture states: “Although not always cost-neutral, these are necessary measures that respond to the challenges of the cultural sector; the government cannot simply expect the private sector to assume their financial role as cultural supporters. An investment agenda has been included which outlines the realistic financial consequences of our recommendations, and indicates a necessary annual investment of approximately 29,5 million euros.”

2. Provinces

Interprovincial Agreement

The Provincial States (Provinciale Staten) and the Interprovincial Agreement (Interprovinciaal Overleg – IPO) promote the policy on creativity and culture. IPO represents the twelve Dutch provinces and is the discussion partner at the various governance levels: central, provincial and municipal. IPO discusses current issues and closes agreements for example with regard to the policy of the restoration of national monuments which is being decentralized from the central government to the provinces. IPO is also concerned with the financing of new tasks of the provinces after the decentralization. Culture is one of IPO’s nine fields of policy. Youth is not a specific target group in the IPO culture policy. However, IPO does discuss youth policy issues and the tasks that have been decentralized from the central government to the governance level of the provinces and the municipalities. This is described in other chapters (e.g.  Chapter 5. Participation and Chapter 7. Health and Well-being), but not relevant here.

IPO offers the provinces a platform to stimulate innovation and exchange of knowledge and best practices. The aim is to contribute to the quality, effectivity and efficiency of public administration.

In the coming period (2018 and further) IPO aims at:

  • Cultural heritage (archaeology, monuments, cultural history);
  • Media (libraries, archives, regional broadcasters);
  • Arts (infrastructure).


3. Municipalities

Association of municipalities

Through the Association of Netherlands Municipalities (Vereniging van Nederlandse Gemeenten - VNG) the 380 Dutch municipalities (CBS, 1 January 2018 ) discuss and draft policies on creativity and culture.


Cross-sectorial cooperation

Load balancing between the three governance levels

Provinces and municipalities have no legal responsibilities with regard to cultural education and cultural participation. The balance of loads is based on (non-legal) agreements between the Ministry, IPO and VNG.

  • The national government is responsible for the following aspects of cultural education:
  • The financing and the legal framework;
  • The educational assignment to cultural organizations with the national budget;
  • National support (innovation, knowledge and networks) and culture funds.

The provinces play a part in second line support. They promote quality by means of expertise and take care of regional dissemination, distribution, mediation and innovative projects.

The municipalities take responsibility for the actual encounters and practical execution, in close cooperation with schools and culture providers. They facilitate:

  • An extensive and coherent cultural offer for schools;
  • Mediation of offers;
  • Connection inside and between schools;
  • Agreements with schools (e.g. for the Local Educational Agenda (Lokaal Educatieve Agenda);
  • A budget for cultural education in leisure time.

Apart from the agreements mentioned earlier the three governance levels occasionally make agreements about specific subjects, such as the administrative framework Culture and Education. Source: website National Centre of Expertise for Cultural Education and Amateur Arts (Landelijk Kennisinstituut Cultuureducatie en Amateurkunst LKCA), in 8.5 [20-10-2017]