The Gate Foundation, an institution that since 1988 has made a unique contribution to efforts to bring modern, contemporary, non-Western visual arts to the Netherlands, is having to close its doors. Even though the Culture Council has praised its efforts, the State Secretary for the Ministry of Education, Cultural Affairs and Science Medy van der Laan recently decided to scrap its subsidy.
The Gate Foundation is the first institution in the Netherlands, and in fact the first in Europe, to put multiculturalism, cultural diversity and integration on the agenda. In doing so, it drew people’s attention to the important role played by immigrant artists in stimulating developments within the visual arts in the Netherlands. Both founder Els van der Plas and her successor Sebastian Lopez have developed activities that show the ways in which the visual arts have been influenced by artists with a wide range of cultural backgrounds and demonstrate the vital contribution that this has made to ensuring that the world of the visual arts remains dynamic.
In her decision, the State Secretary asks the Gate Foundation to find a new home for its Knowledge Centre. This Knowledge Centre consists of an art library with 3,000 volumes and an archive with documentation on more than 1,000 artists from 92 different countries. The Gate Foundation believes that its closure will reduce the visibility of the cultural heritage of the visual arts in the Netherlands, and views any relocation as a waste of knowledge and scarce funds.