Letter to the Dutch government regarding the subsidy for NDT To whom this might concern, (and I think, that this should concern many..!) It was in 1959 when the now famous "Nederlands Dans Theater" was founded, it took only a few brave people, who had the incredible "capital" of "ONE SINGLE GUILDER" to their disposal, to start a brand new dance company..! This company didn't only survive, but it fought, gained confidence and it grew. And it enjoys great international reputation ever since its birth, as well as the respect of the Dutch Government and The Dutch Royal Court. This Company has become a Model for many dance companies around the world. It also serves as a breeding ground for creativity from the very beginning of its existence until today. Hans van Manen, William Forsythe, Mats Ek, Nacho Duato, Ohad Naharin, Paul Lightfoot and very many others began their career here... I do understand that our country, The Netherlands, is currently in a very difficult economic situation and I know that there are choices to be made! But short term solutions are never the best ones. Nobody should ever underestimate the power of the Arts. Arts and culture have the profound power to influence the way other nations appreciate and judge our country. NDT has traveled to many countries, even to countries with controversial political systems. We did that on purpose: we understood, that when the politicians are "not able" to talk, at least the artists must keep the conversation alive.
We knew that the people of these deprived countries desperately needed it..! Surely I am not telling you any secrets, when I say, that any nation in the world is defined by its cultural heritage rather then by its military or economic achievements. People from around the world flock to the Netherlands to see Rembrandt and Vermeer, to hear the Concertgebouw orchestra, or to see the Nederlands Dans Theater, but certainly not to commemorate the all important "Battle of Scheveningen" in 1653... And the economists of today could learn much from the Founding fathers of NDT, who were able to conquer the world with their initial capital of HFL 1,-..! There is no doubt in my mind, that in these difficult times a great solidarity amongst all artists of the Netherlands is necessary, but I also know, that the Art of Dance is the most endangered specie in our cultural family..! I have seen many troubled economic situations like the one we face now - and every time - the decision to cut subsidies for the arts has backfired. It always revealed the shortsightedness of the people in power. People need trust and belief much more then money... Where are the brave politicians of today, who stand up and fight for culture and for the arts..? Please do not repeat the mistakes of your predecessors. Invest in values which last... The Hague, May 6th, 2011 Jiří Kylián - Former Artistic Director of the Nederlands Dans Theater (1975 - 1999)