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COVID-19 EU PolicyWatch

Database of national-level responses

Eurofound's COVID-19 EU PolicyWatch collates information on the responses of government and social partners to the crisis, as well as gathering examples of company practices aimed at mitigating the social and economic impacts.

Factsheet for case NL-2020-40/1258 – measures in Netherlands

Package of measures for culture and recreation

Pakket maatregelen voor cultuur en recreatie

Country Netherlands , applies nationwide
Time period Temporary, 01 October 2020 – 30 September 2021
Type Other initiatives or policies
Category Promoting the economic, labour market and social recovery
– Support for spending, stimulus packages
Author Amber van der Graaf (Panteia) and Eurofound
Case created 07 October 2020 (updated 20 July 2021)

Background information

As part of the third emergency package, made public on 1 October 2020, a series of actions have been outlined by the government. Culture and recreation are deemed important for society and as a result of the crisis these sectors are amongst the worst hit in the Netherlands; these sectors have declined by 37.4% during the second quarter of 2020. As a result, the Dutch government has decided to dedicate extra funding and support to these sectors.

This support is additional to the existing support measures (also described in this database), such as:

This package is also additional to the first package of measures for the cultural sector of €300 million, and the funding for local governments and their cultural sectors (€60 million). The government now allocates a further €264 million to extend this first package of cultural measures to the first half of 2021. On top of this, the government allocates a further €150 million for local cultural infrastructure and another €68 million for municipalities and provinces.

Content of measure

The content of this measure is centred on funding different areas and aspects of the cultural, recreational, and related sectors.

They key areas to be funded with the overall amount include:

  • Financing the programme costs of the national broadcast service: €19 million will go the NPO (the national broadcasting service in the Netherlands),
  • Support for zoos: due to lack of visitors the zoos have been badly hit and the revenue loss is expected to amount up to €132 million. To support zoos and the well-being of animals and workers there, the government assigns €39 million to zoos. The events branch: new insurance instruments are being discussed which might allow events and related activities to start taking place again. The government indicates that if their role is useful in this endeavour, it will discuss and consider the form and scope of that role. The travel branch: funds have been set-up to support smaller travel organisations and to protect consumers. These funds will provide extra financing and funding to the amount of €12.5 million.

Use of measure

Based on the preliminary results, published by OCW on 7 June, the overarching goals of the measures have been achieved: to keep cultural organizations afloat through support and succeed despite the loss of income. Institutions have reserved part of the support measures for expenditure in 2021 and can implement fewer measures as a result of the additional measures, resulting in lower costs.

  • Own income: own income has decreased from €330 in 2019 to €150 million in 2020. This is a decrease of approximately 55% compared to 2019. Own income is income from, for example, ticket sales, sponsorship and private contributions and (foreign) tournaments.
  • Additional support: the additional support represents 15% of the income in 2020 and compensates for 63% of the decrease in own income. If this support had not been earned, the institutions would have ended the year with a negative balance of approximately €56 million.
  • Expenses: total expenses decreased by 18%. Operating expenses fell by 27%. For museums, for example, there are 72% fewer purchases compared to a year earlier; a saving of €17 million. The management costs such as housing and office costs are approximately 10%.
  • Financial position: based on figures on liquidity, solvency and resilience, the picture is that, with a few exceptions, the institutions are financially sound.

Long-term subsidised institutions by the national culture funds. In total, the cultural funds provided extra support to 220 festivals, companies and presentation institutions, institutions for talent development education and design.

Target groups

Workers Businesses Citizens
Applies to all workers Sector specific set of companies
Does not apply to citizens

Actors and funding

Actors Funding
National government
Social partners jointly
Other social actors (e.g. NGOs)
Local / regional government
National funds

Social partners

Social partners' role in designing the measure and form of involvement:

Trade unions Employers' organisations
Role Consulted Consulted
Form Consultation through tripartite or bipartite social dialogue bodies Consultation through tripartite or bipartite social dialogue bodies

Social partners' role in the implementation, monitoring and assessment phase:

  • Social partners jointly
  • Main level of involvement: Sectoral or branch level


Since the start of the COVID-19 crisis, Dutch national partners have been closely involved in developing and implementing emergency measures to support enterprises, workers, and specific sectors. The government and peak level social partners have come together on a weekly or bi-weekly basis (when the first most immediate measures had been developed) using the existing discussion and meeting structures, as well as through extra meetings and informal contact. Peak level partners such as the cross-sectoral trade unions (FNV and CNV) and the main employer organisation (VNO-NCW), have all been closely involved in the process. This has also been the case for the third emergency package, through which these measures have been developed.

Views and reactions

The social partners are generally pleased and satisfied with the new emergency package and its contents. Beyond this, social partners have expressed admiration for the government and its approach to addressing the crisis since March 2020, as well as pride in what they have been able to achieve together so far. The deep involvement of social partners and feeling that they have been listened to throughout the last months, in addition to what has been achieved have made ties closer between the organisations (something which social partners hope to hold on to as it has proven very constructive in national level decision making).

Sectors and occupations

    • Economic area Sector (NACE level 2)
      J - Information And Communication J59 Motion picture, video and television programme production, sound recording and music publishing activities
      J60 Programming and broadcasting activities
      J63 Information service activities
      R - Arts, Entertainment And Recreation R91 Libraries, archives, museums and other cultural activities
      R93 Sports activities and amusement and recreation activities

This case is not occupation-specific.


  • 27 July 2020: Overeenstemming kabinet en sociale partners over steunpakket (
  • 07 June 2021: Kamerbrief over 4e specifieke steunpakket culturele en creatieve sector voor 3e kwartaal 2021 (


Eurofound (2020), Package of measures for culture and recreation, case NL-2020-40/1258 (measures in Netherlands), COVID-19 EU PolicyWatch, Dublin,

Disclaimer: This information has not been subject to the full Eurofound evaluation, editorial and publication process. All information is preliminary and subject to change.