Last week, The Netherlands Media Art Institute (NIMk) announced it will close after 35 years of operation. According to NIMk's website, the Ministry of Culture has halted all future funding to the organization.
This follows a wave of culture cutbacks across European countries due to the anticipated instability of the Euro and conservative-led austerity measures. The New York Times has reported on the unsettling effects of such measures: Portugal abolished its Ministry of Culture, Italy's world-famous opera house La Scala faces a $9 million deficit, and the Netherlands' art budget has been cut by 25%.
The warning signs began last year, when the Netherlands' newly-elected conservative government slashed funding for arts organizations and universities. Although NIMk's announcement is the first of its kind, many believe it signals what's in store for other European arts organizations.
Arts and culture folk have good reason to worry. International complaints and protest have not prevented the government's new measures. Last summer, The Creators Project reported that organizational budgets would be cut entirely; in the case of the Netherlands Media Art Institute, this has proved true.
NIMk has several months to fully figure out the organization's next step. Its contributions to the international community include a collection of internet, video, and new media art; a residency program; and an exhibition center. Notably, it's one of the few organizations to distribute net-based art.