Cultural capital

Urban Art Festival.
Urban Art Festival. Photo (c) Michiel Wijnbergh

 Arts and culture play an important role in the personal development of individuals, and also in the cohesion and wellbeing of society as a whole. It provokes thought, introspection and discussion. That’s why Triodos Bank and Triodos Cultuurfonds (Triodos Culture Fund) encourages and finances cultural lending and entrepreneurship, for example in Amsterdam.

Long ago, Amsterdam was home to the Dutch Golden Age where arts and culture flourished under the city’s cultural diversity and inclusion. Today, the city still offers a rich and vibrant cultural life with sixteen million visitors coming every year to enjoy its museums, festivals and theaters. As the cultural sector can no longer count, as before, on subsidies, entrepreneurship has become key in keeping the sector dynamic and innovative. Triodos Bank and Triodos Cultuurfonds (Triodos Culture Fund) are among the few financial players to fill the financing gap the sector faces.

Cultural vitality

To encourage cultural initiatives and talent and to help develop the arts and culture sector, the Amsterdams Fonds voor de Kunst (Amsterdam Fund for Art), Cultuur-Ondernemen and Triodos Bank jointly initiated the Amsterdamse Cultuurlening (Amsterdam Cultural Loan) in 2013. Through this facility, artists and cultural institutions can finance their artistic ambitions, for example to fund equipment or exhibits, without the reliance on grants which can be intermittent and few and far between. The maximum financing amount is EUR 50,000 which still enables cultural vitality among the smaller groups that are the backbone of the Amsterdam cultural sector.

Our added value also lies in sharing our nationwide expertise so as to stimulate cultural entrepreneurship.

Cultural incubator

For larger projects, such as expansion or building renovation, artists and institutions can opt to receive greater financing from Triodos Cultuurfonds. An example in the fund’s portfolio is Somewhere, a cultural incubator. A loan from Triodos Cultuurfonds enabled this institution to purchase a building in Amsterdam where young entrepreneurs organise workshops and master classes on entrepreneurship in the ‘creative space. It also promotes performances and creative sessions to stimulate a sustainable artistic community.

In the wake of the financial crisis, funding to keep the Dutch artistic community alive has been scarce. Lending is now a consistent source of financing for institutions and artists.

Fund manager of Triodos Cultuurfonds Eric Holterhues: “Institutions like Somewhere keep the cultural sector in Amsterdam vibrant and thus contribute to the quality of life in the city and support the local economy. As a financial institution, we not only provide capital. Our added value also lies in sharing our nationwide expertise so as to stimulate cultural entrepreneurship.”