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Mitigating Negative Brexit Effects on the Art Market:The Netherlands as a New Art Hub?



February 2021


by Carlotta Rohrbach and Laurens Kasteleijn


With Brexit now a fact, the international art market is looking towards mainland Europe and across the channel lies the Netherlands. Culture and art have always played a significant role in the Netherlands. Internationally known for its creative talents in painting and architecture, Dutch art professionals rank amongst the finest in the global art world. The high prestige of Dutch artists resulted in a remarkable level of investment in the infrastructure and construction of the Dutch art market, making professionals in this field to rank among the world’s best in terms of trade, jobs, and brands today[1].


Such reputable international standing of the art world is highly valued and strongly backed by the Dutch government. By means of its 2017 Cultural Policy, it supports artistic and cultural education, as well as fair remuneration schemes for art producers to maintain a high quality of art.[2] Additionally, it aims to enhance cooperation between different cultural branches, using the lens of perceiving culture as a collective good contributing to the welfare and wellbeing of the society[3]. The Dutch policy agenda is accompanied by the numerous cultural funds, ensuring the allocation of financial support for the creative industry to be effective and efficient[4].


With regard to Brexit and the de facto exclusion of British artists, collectors & culture from the European art market, and for art collectors, dealers and exhibitors still wishing to engage with this type of art, the Netherlands constitutes a particularly suitable choice to settle for business, as the Dutch government, supported by a number of Dutch cultural institutions, would like to ensure that it will continue its close cooperation in cultural matters with the UK even after Brexit.


Alongside the Netherlands’ perception of culture and arts in general, together with the favorable economic considerations, the Netherlands provides the perfect preconditions for its art sector and its actors to flourish and grow. Over the last years, the Netherlands presented a steady GDP-growth, ranking high amongst the top European countries, allowing for companies and individuals to make secure investments in future projects[5]. Furthermore, the Netherlands counts towards the most innovative and competitive economies worldwide[6], pushing market participants to strive to be the best, and consequently attracting new market participants from all over the world.


The internationality and openness of the Dutch economy is enhanced by the Netherlands’ location and reachability through its international hubs: Schiphol Airport and Europe’s biggest port of Rotterdam[7]. Long-lasting trading cooperations between the Netherlands and numerous trading countries such as Germany, China, France and the United Kingdom also contribute to a progressive economy, growing in size, flexibility and multiculturalism[8]. For the art world in particular, China is to be highlighted in this regard, with its increasing importance in the global art trade.


The Dutch government further ensures a good foundation for private companies - no matter their size - to be able to establish themselves easily in the market by way of setting up clear administrative processes and rather modest overall tax rates, in comparison to other European countries.[9]


The economic success of the Netherlands has naturally impacted the Dutch society positively, fostering improvements in the education system and leading to a labor market staffed by highly skilled and productive workers[10].


For the art market, a particularly interesting fact is that the Dutch labour market is characterized by an unusually high number of part-time workers[11] - this matches the employment demand that is typically common in the art world.


The Dutch being amongst the most multilingual in Europe, and having English as the most commonly spoken foreign language[12] is an obvious advantage of the Netherlands comparing with other European countries, an ideal vantage point for new international players in the art scene.


Conclusion


The effects of Brexit on the British as well as the inter-European art market and trade are forecasted to be severe. An obvious option to circumvent this is through relocation of the companies of art market participants to countries remaining in the European Union. Art galleries, exhibitors and artists are assessing which Member State of the European Union would be the most suitable to substitute the UK in its leading position in the (European) art market.


The Netherlands has been identified as a strong candidate to replace the UK as the new European art hub. The advantages mentioned above: high level of value that art enjoys in the Dutch cultural development, overall strong and favorable governmental support, the stable growth of the Dutch economy and the highly-skilled and multilingual labour force, are some key determinants making the Netherlands an attractive new location for artists, gallerists and collectors to relocate their businesses and art activities to.


When you’re ready to relocate your business to the Netherlands, it’s essential to work with an experienced legal arm with a global footprint.


Interested in more in-depth knowledge on the Dutch art market, contact us at info@artlawservices.com. We can help alleviate the transition risks, provide support and advice on how to navigate your way to set-up and build your art-related business here.



[1] Ministry of foreign trade and Development Cooperation, ‘The Netherlands Compared’ (2020), <https://investinholland.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/TheNetherlandsCompared.2020.pdf> accessed 15.12.2020. [2] Ibid. [3] Ministry of foreign trade and Development Cooperation, ‘The Netherlands Compared’ (2018), <https://investinholland.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/2182_CU_TheNetherlandsCompared_2018_clickable.pdf> accessed 15.12.2020. [4] Ibid. [5] Ministry of foreign trade and Development Cooperation, ‘The Netherlands Compared’ (n 20). [6] Ministry of foreign trade and Development Cooperation, ‘The Netherlands Compared’ (n 20). [7] Ibid. [8] Ibid. [9]‚Taxation in the Netherlands’ pwc, <https://www.pwc.nl/en/insights-and-publications/services-and-industries/tax/doing-business-in-the-netherlands/taxation-in-the-netherlands.html> accessed 15.12.2020. [10] Ibid. [11] Ibid. [12] M. McDaid, ‘Dutch among most multilingual in Europe’ (May 2013), <https://www.iamexpat.nl/expat-info/dutch-expat-news/dutch-among-most-multilingual-europe> accessed 15.12.2020.

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