Relations between the Netherlands and France in flux
Just as a special cooperation agreement was signed between the Mayors of Amsterdam and Paris, the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs has terminated its grant to the Institut Néerlandais in Paris in search of a new concept for the bilateral cultural relations with France.
Mayors Van der Laan of Amsterdam and Delanoë of Paris met earlier this month to sign an agreement that signals not only the facilitation of economic growth but also an attempt to improve the lives of their cities' residents.
The collaboration will extend to the fields of traffic & transport, sustainability, water & waste management, culture and the economy. Notably, Amsterdam's public water body Waternet will advise their Parisian counterparts on the recycling of water.
Mayor Delanoë will also visit the Dutch capital in the coming year where he will take in the Stedelijk Museum and act as keynote speaker at the Metropolitan Conference to be held at the EYE Film Institute Netherlands.
However, this new cooperation will be foreshadowed by the withdrawal of funding from the Institut Néerlandais in Paris, a non-profit organisation dedicated to the promotion of Dutch art and culture in France.
The Institut, founded by Dutch art collector and historian Frits Lugt, will close at the end of 2013 as the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Frans Timmermans, explores other options for the promotion of Dutch culture in the country.
The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs has announced that it "will adopt a similar approach to that used in other major cultural centres such as New York, London and Berlin." That will involve a smaller embassy-run cultural section which will "be more cost effective and allow a larger share of the funds to be spent on cultural activities."
Custodia, partner and co-founder of the institute, will continue to make use of the Hôtel Lévis-Mirepoix for exhibitions, and also speak with the Dutch embassy on the possibility of housing the embassy’s cultural section in the building.