Charlotte Latjes

Boekman Foundation, The Netherlands

Charlotte LatjesCharlotte Latjes (The Netherlands, 1987) is currently working on her Master thesis, titled The Possibilities of the Dutch Cultural Index (deadline February 2012). She holds a bachelor degree in Art History (University of Utrecht) and is currently doing a master in Arts Policy and Management (University of Utrecht). Work experience consists of an internship at auction house Christie’s, an internship at Cultuur-Ondernemen (a Dutch organization that helps artists becoming more business-minded) and an internship at the Boekman Foundation (the leading Dutch arts policy organization). For the Boekman Foundation she helped develop the Dutch Cultural Index. For more information see my linkedinprofile:

A Dutch Version of the National Arts Index

In October 2010 the conference Culture Counts on Support took place in Amsterdam. During this conference the American National Arts Index was presented for the first time outside the US. The National Arts Index is an annual measure of the vitality of arts in North-America, created by Americans for the Arts (a nonprofit American organization for advancing arts and culture). Following the conference Culture Counts on Support, the Boekman Foundation, the Netherlands Institute for Cultural Research (SCP) and Statistics Netherlands (CBS) decided to explore the possibilities of a Dutch version of the National Arts Index. It turned out to be possible and desirable to develop this Dutch version, so as of spring 2011 data has been collected in order to compile the Dutch Cultural Index.

In November 2011 the SCP has assembled a trial version of the Dutch Cultural Index, which has been presented to the most important Dutch cultural organizations, both private and public. This trial version exists of 39 parameters that are divided into four categories (Financial flows, Participation, Capacity and Competitiveness). The reactions on the trail version were overall very positive. Organizations see a lot of opportunity in this index for multiple purposes, of which the most important is that the sector now has a unanimous answer to allegations made by politicians and the public, for example “culture only costs money” and “performances are never sold out”. By making an index, the cultural statistics become more understandable for people outside the cultural field, such as decision makers, students and the general public. The index shows that the cultural sector is actually very vital, but also very vulnerable.

At this point the Boekman Foundation is talking to several private funds in order to raise money to start developing a final index, which will be updated annually from 2012 on. If this turns out to be successful the next step will be exploring the possibilities of a European Cultural Index.

At the conference I would like to update participants from all over the world on how our index project turned out. It should be interesting to talk about the construction and weighing of the indicators, and the theoretical background of this project.



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