Triodos Bank has pioneered arts and culture finance for many years. While the cultural sector is currently subsidy and charity focussed, particularly in The Netherlands, Triodos Bank promotes a cultural sector served by diversifying its finances, incorporating a spread of grants, charity, subsidies and commercial investments. Its fund is designed to help deliver this transformation in the arts and culture sector.
Within this business line, Triodos Investment Management manages The Netherlands based and focussed Triodos Cultuurfonds. The fund was launched in 2006 and invests in cultural projects, as defined by the Dutch government, that aim to improve and preserve the arts and culture.
By the end of the year, the fund’s total net assets had decreased by 26.7% to EUR 121 (2011: EUR 165 Million). This is primarily because of the Dutch government’s decision to cancel tax benefits for cultural investments, which came into affect on 1 January 2013.
Through the projects financed by Triodos Cultuurfonds, 1.9 million people visited theatres and museums, and 1917 artists took advantage of affordable arts space, in 2012.
The ‘De Balie’ debating centre in the heart of Amsterdam has increased much-needed revenues by improving its kitchen. De Balie had problems dealing with peak-crowds which resulted in disappointed customers at its cafe. With a new, high quality kitchen the centre is able to run a full-service restaurant which helps pay for the debating centre, which has become an important podium for many leading national debates. After a debate is over, the kitchen entices visitors to continue their discussions over a drink and some food. Investors in Triodos Cultuurfonds enable cultural institutions, like the Balie, to broaden their income base and impact, developments that are urgently needed in a time of governmental austerity measures.
Triodos Cultuurfonds is seeking investments in more commercially focussed entertainment-focused companies, whilst still continuing its activities for theatres, museums, and artist-collectives.
Triodos Cultuurfonds should remain attractive to investors in 2013, impacting directly on the healthy development of the Dutch cultural sector. The volume of the fund’s assets under management is expected to remain stable in 2013.