Digital transformation of the cultural sector is a major opportunity for the Netherlands

Council for Culture, Netherlands,
06 September 2022, Netherlands

Further digitization of the cultural and creative sector offers opportunities for creative innovation and to reach more people and inspire them culturally. It also contributes to the social relevance and economic strengthening of the sector. But there is also a great opportunity for the Netherlands to be a leader in Europe as a creative hub. Now is the right time to invest in a multi-year strategic digitisation agenda for culture.

This is stated in an advice from the Council for Culture to the cabinet, provinces, municipalities, cultural funds and the cultural and creative sector. The advice will be presented from 11:00 during a online symposium.

The right moment

Digital cultural offerings are developing into an increasingly valuable addition to cultural and creative practice. The Netherlands has a solid digital infrastructure and an innovative technology sector, which provides a strong starting point for the further digital transformation of the cultural and creative sector. This transformation has already been initiated in part by increased technological possibilities. It was accelerated during the corona crisis. The right time to invest further and not let the acquired knowledge go to waste is now.


For this, a number of challenges still have to be overcome. For example, fragmentation within the sector sometimes still stands in the way of the necessary cooperation, which means that the digital wheel has to be invented more than once. The subsidy instruments of central government, funds and local authorities are also insufficiently focused on digital creation and production. For example, when accounting for the performance of subsidy flows, the digital reach of cultural offerings is not always taken into account. The Council also points to the need for major investments in digital production and distribution of cultural offerings.

Collaboration labs and hubs

The Council advises the government to focus on cooperation between the cultural and creative sectors and other domains, such as technology, science and education, when developing the multiannual strategic digitisation agenda. This can be done by facilitating collaboration labs and hubs, where knowledge and skills from various angles are combined. Existing regional and local knowledge and practice networks in various places in the Netherlands must therefore be mapped out and strengthened. Large and smaller parties can benefit from the flywheel function that this collaboration provides, both artistically and socially and economically.

Interactive digital platform for culture

Furthermore, the Council advises to explore the possibilities for an interactive digital platform for culture and to include the possibilities of the NPO. It must be prevented that the sector is completely dependent on existing commercial platforms, such as YouTube, warns the council. As a result, the sector loses ownership.

Digital skills

Finally, the Council points to the shortage of digitally skilled personnel, without whom the digital transformation is unthinkable. This really needs to be addressed, all the more so because jobs in the cultural and creative sectors cannot compete with other sectors in terms of remuneration. The Council sees retraining and upskilling digital skills within the sector as a promising opportunity. Recently, State Secretary Uslu of Culture and Media already released one million euros in the context of Permanent Professional Development. The Council sees this as a good first step.

Committee of Experts

The council's advice was prepared by a committee of experts from the cultural and creative sector, science and business, chaired by Ilona Haaijer. Emilie Gordenker, Henca Maduro, Wouter van Ransbeek, Alexander Ribbink, Edo Righini and Liesbet van Zoonen were also members of the committee.