In the coming years, millions of extra euros will go to libraries and heritage in the Caribbean part of the Kingdom. This is stated in the Multi-annual Letter on Culture in which State Secretary Uslu (Culture and Media) sets out her starting points for cultural policy in the coming years. With this, the state secretary is investing heavily in the cultural infrastructure of Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao, St. Eustatius, Saba and Sint Maarten.
State Secretary Uslu: ‘Culture is the foundation and cement of our society. And a library is the place where children, young people and adults come into contact with culture, with stories, with each other. That is why there is extra money available for physical libraries on Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba. We are also investing in heritage and archives. Because these are the stories of our common past and we have to take good care of them.
Especially because that history is sometimes fraught and complicated.’
In the coming years, Uslu will invest heavily in public libraries in the Caribbean Netherlands. She wants to use that money to ensure future-oriented library provision on the islands of Bonaire, St Eustatius and Saba. This includes filling gaps in the physical library network. To improve the library network, 1 million is available this year, and two million annually in 2023 and 2024.
A customer-friendly online library is a logical and important part of the library. During the corona period, the online library took off, and State Secretary Uslu wants to expand it further. This requires an innovative national infrastructure, which she will work on with the Royal Library and other partners. There is €5 million available annually for this for the whole Kingdom, and an additional €8 million in 2023 and 2024 for the digital infrastructure. The online library will also be available for the Caribbean part of the Kingdom.
It is important to pass on the past to younger generations and to have an eye for the many, different stories about our history. This includes a special focus on the Caribbean part of the Kingdom. The arrival of a national slavery museum contributes to knowledge about and awareness of the history of slavery. Quartermasters have been appointed to further work out the plans for this, with an eye for the significance of the museum for and in the Caribbean part of the Kingdom.
For the preservation of monuments in the Caribbean Netherlands, an additional 10 million euro is available in the form of low-interest loans. Work is also being done to improve the management and digital availability of archives in the Caribbean part of the Kingdom.
National culture funds
Almost all programmes and schemes of the National Culture Funds are open to the Caribbean part of the Kingdom, as is money from the Cultural Participation Fund for youth culture. This means that residents of the Caribbean part of the Kingdom can also make use of these grants. The Kingdom Culture Funds are working on being more findable and more accessible. For example, a pilot is currently under way where a fund has its own contact person stationed in the Caribbean part of the Kingdom.