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'Museums and opera houses will struggle for a long time to come'

The cultural sector, shut down by the corona pandemic, must urgently look for new ways to generate income.

Wimar Bolhuis

The corona crisis has put cultural institutions under unprecedented financial pressure. Every day the media is reporting on the losses. In the United States, on 7 April the damage was estimated to be around  $4.5 billion. Here in the Netherlands, the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science estimates a loss of sales of between €85 million and €100 million per week.  

For the time being, the ‘new normal’ – keeping the distance of one-and-a-half metres between visitors and concert goers – would appear to cost more than the income generated, says Assistant Professor Wimar Bolhuis in Dutch newspaper Het Financieele Dagblad (€). 'The most important task for the government will be to convince society that it is safe again. To get the economy back to the level it was at before the crisis, everyone will need to be on board. That includes those who may be most reluctant because of fears for their health, such as the elderly. I expect, therefore, that museums and opera houses will have serious financial difficulties for a long time to come.'

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