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Veem is in Trouble

31 May 2022 — by Veem House for Performance

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You might have seen the coverage of Veem House in Het Parool recently – here is our news. 

We want to provide space, time and attention for artists to research, experiment and develop their work in dialogue with others. We aim to create space for counter proposals to what is already known, to allow for encounters that may not be comfortable; maybe even uncomfortable but are fruitful in the end. We wish to create possibilities for new insights, unheard stories and dare to dream of new ways of being. 

Right now, we cannot put all our attention to these goals. Our attention is fixed on simply trying to exist. 

It is clear, Dutch art policies are not set up for unfinished work or research, which is what Veem House does and strives to make possible. We are not the only ones who could become a casualty. We cannot solve this problem by ourselves.

Veem has been fighting since the severe cuts in 2011. In the policy period of 2017-2020 Veem was granted positive advice by the AFK (Amsterdam Fund for the Arts). Despite this recognition, Veem House was allocated only a minimal increase in funding – a substantially lower amount than was requested. Veem House decided to radically change its structure and became the 100 Day House. Instead of being open throughout the year, Veem House would be open for one hundred consecutive days a year. In this way Veem House was able to continue delivering in accordance with the approved vision and proposed working methods. It chose quality over quantity.

The 100 Day House was a statement, an enforced action through which Veem House wanted to reveal a problem. But being open for only a hundred days also meant being closed for 265. Veem House experienced a great demand for continuity, commitment, community, care and solidarity. 

For the policy period of 2021-2024 Veem House chose to be open throughout the season, though it still continues to choose quality over quantity, while dedicating time, space and attention to everything it does.

Since 2021 there is little space for ‘development institutions’ in the BIS (Basis Infrastructure of our national government). We did apply, because we felt indebted to our community. But we didn’t fit into a box and unfortunately the track record of institutions was not taken into account. 

We didn’t receive national support therefore we also didn’t receive the accompanying covid support (we received very little). Other funding bodies also struggle to relate to us as an entity, which is a development house – as in not a festival, not an artist, not a company.

Long story short. We don’t have the means to fulfill our mission. We cannot work project based only, if development flourishes with time, space, trial and error. We cannot change policy in the short term, but we also don’t want to create a short-term solution anymore.

We hope and aim to find a sustainable structure for Veem to give space for artists to develop and to create programs to be in dialogue with our community.

We are working on new scenarios, are having lots of talks and encounters and we will keep you updated. It might take a while till there is a clear story to share. But we won’t give up. Please keep following us, since we will be needing your support!

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