Arts & Culture

Dutch culture groups launch campaign against VAT hike

The Dutch live entertainment sector has joined with dozens of other groups to officially launch a campaign against plans to more than double VAT.

Association of Event Makers (VVEM), Arts Association and Association of Theater and Concert Hall Directors are among the broad coalition from sports, media, books, culture and the catering industry in rallying against the VAT increase. The KNVB national football association and the Eredivisie, the Netherlands’ top football league, have also joined.

The #GeenHogereBtw campaign – which means ‘no higher VAT’ – opposes the Dutch cabinet’s plans to increase the rate for culture, media, catering, books and sports from 9% to 21% in 2026.

This week, a full-page newspaper advertisement has appeared on behalf of this broad coalition in every national and regional newspaper with its message. Supporters have been encouraged to play their part by taking a selfie of themselves with the newspaper advertisement and sharing it via social media.

The campaign said: “The proposed increase in the VAT rate will inevitably lead to higher prices, which will put pressure on the accessibility and affordability of sports, media, books, culture and catering for the public.

“It affects everyone in the Netherlands in daily life and in several areas. It is an additional burden on the valuable free time, club life, curiosity and (mental) health of every Dutch person. From visiting live music, cheering on your favourite football team, reading the book you want to read, visiting your favourite museum, listening to the brass band in the neighbourhood, staying overnight in a hotel in your own country, exercising for an hour at the kickboxing school in the neighbourhood, to the newspaper that keeps you informed about world events.”

The VAT announcement was made recently after a provisional coalition agreement was reached between the PVV, VVD, NSC and BBB parties in the Netherlands to form a government after last year’s election.

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