New set-up for cultural programme in France

The supervisory board of the Institut Néerlandais in Paris has instructed the institute’s management to cease its activities by the end of 2013. The decision by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs to terminate its grant to the Institut Néerlandais means that the institute will soon lose its only permanent source of financing.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Frans Timmermans, has asked the Council for Culture to recommend a new concept this spring for the bilateral cultural relations with France. The Minister will then make a decision on how the cultural activities should be organised in France, including at the present location. The cultural mission in Paris will adopt a similar approach to that used in other major cultural centres such as New York, London and Berlin. The high-quality cultural programme in France requires an active, demand-driven policy. This can be handled by a small, embassy-run cultural section that works flexibly with curators and experts to promote the Dutch cultural and creative sector in France. This solution will be more cost effective and allow a larger share of the funds to be spent on cultural activities. Lionel Veer, former director of the Institut Néerlandais, will oversee the reorganisation.

Custodia, partner and co-founder of the institute, will assume full management of the Hôtel Lévis-Mirepoix, at 121 Rue de Lille in Paris, and will continue to use it to exhibit its own collection and to host activities in line with the mission of founder Frits Lugt. New initiatives will be devised to open up the art history library to a wider audience. The Dutch embassy in Paris is currently in talks with Custodia on housing the embassy’s cultural section in the building.

The supervisory board, the Ministry and Custodia are aware of the consequences for the staff of the Institut Néerlandais and will ensure that the matter is handled with due care. The staff have been informed of the decision.

This is a joint news item from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Fondation Custodia.