Gatz announces €3.3 million extra for cultural projects


Culture minister Sven Gatz, also responsible for Flanders’ interests in Brussels in a variety of areas, has announced budget increases across the board

New hall for Kaaitheater

Flemish culture minister Sven Gatz has announced that an additional €3.3 million in new subsidies has been made available for culture, as part of the recent budget decisions taken by the government. Gatz also has €2 million more to spend on Brussels, also part of his portfolio.

The major part of the supplementary culture budget – €2.2 million – is destined for specific projects, including youth orchestras; renovations to Ghent’s opera house, Antwerp’s DeSingel and Bruges’ Concertgebouw; and for a series of international concerts in the renovated Elisabethzaal in Antwerp. The other €1.1 million is an addition to the project subsidies for cultural organisations announced in July.

The additional €2 million for the Flemish Brussels Fund, which had already received €2.6 million for 2017, makes up for a €2 million cut applied by Gatz in 2014. The fund covers investments in a variety of areas in the capital, including culture, wellbeing and education.

“At the start of this legislature, we said that we would economise, and then build up afresh,” Gatz said. “There was a very clear agreement that the Flemish Brussels Fund would be rebuilt from 2017. We had to make cuts, and sometimes that was difficult, but now we can start to grow again. The worst is behind us.”

Among the investments planned from the fund is a new 200-seat performance space for Kaaitheater (pictured), which will be built within the existing infrastructure. “After the investments my predecessors made in Bronks, Ancienne Belgique and the Royal Flemish Theatre KVS, it’s now Kaaitheater’s turn,” Gatz told Bruzz. “The lease has already been extended for 30 years, and this new space will offer new opportunities.”

Some of the new project subsidy budget will also go to the Vaartkapoen cultural centre in Molenbeek, which lost its structural subsidy in July.

Photo courtesy Kaaitheater