Visual arts


The Visual Arts domain page discusses developments surrounding this and differ in de (labor)market position of visual artists and the associated challenges. In addition, museums, art consumption and digitization are discussed. The Visual Arts domain includes makers of autonomous visual art in all common media, and the associated infrastructure such as museums, galleries, fairs, studios and creative breeding grounds.


Before the corona crisis, the position of visual artists was already particularly precarious. And although many institutions have been insisting on recently drawn up labor guidelines since the crisis, the Visual Arts domain is still very unequal. The wage differences between visual artists are large, female makers are underrepresented at fairs and in collections, and despite the increased attention to diversity, museum and institutional boards remain white, highly educated and male.

In addition, visitor numbers for art museums and institutions are still low after two years of corona, putting some institutions at risk of irreparable financial damage. Yet there are also bright spots: there is an even harder fight for diversity and inclusion, art buyers remain loyal, and digitalization has partly offered a solution for museums, makers and galleries since the corona crisis.

Introduction and key figures

Within the visual arts domain analysis, the Culture Monitor considers trends and developments surrounding the production, distribution, exhibition, purchase and experience of visual art objects. This domain analysis defines visual art objects as objects with a 'flat' and static shape – such as paintings and drawings – as well as sculpture, video art and installations. These can be found in numerous contexts in the Netherlands; think of galleries, fairs and studios, but also of museums and creative breeding grounds. Because of this wide distribution, visual art inevitably has similarities with other domains such as design and heritage. There are enormous differences within the visual arts domain – not only between novice makers and international art stars, but also between the many institutions and policy levels that deal with different forms of visual art. Based on several main themes, this analysis provides insight into the overarching developments that have occurred in this varied domain in recent years.

Artists and income

€, in 2019 prices

Source: CBS / ROA / CBS (Monitor Artists and other workers with a creative profession)

Visual art museums during corona

Source: Museum Association / CBS

What else do we want to know about visual arts?

New makers and institutions within the visual arts domain increasingly seem to face a high barrier. The high real estate prices in urban areas and the great inequality within the domain have had a negative effect on the space available for new voices for years (Kraaijeveld 2019). The loss of public income and the unevenly distributed corona support seem to have only further limited this space. Small galleries, exhibition spaces and makers had a difficult time during 2020 (Museum Association 2020). Various institutions indicate that they are seeing an aging population. Are there enough facilities for new Dutch artists, galleries and institutions?

To gain more insight into this development, it is important to take a closer look at the various organizational forms that have emerged in the domain in recent years. For example, makers seem to be increasingly working together to join forces - think, for example, of collaborations around creative breeding grounds, but also of artist collectives (Smallenburg 2021). What does the rise of partnerships say about the position of the individual maker in the labor market? And to what extent do partnerships overcome existing problems?

Another issue related to the aging of the visual arts concerns the stability of financial flows. Some institutions point out that there is little room for the sustainable development of young talent within the current subsidy system. There is still a lack of an instrument to structurally measure the influence of subsidies and other facilities on talent development in a structured, multi-year manner. What goes on in the studios of subsidized makers? Which young institutions and makers are throwing in the towel – and why? And which young institutions and makers are successful?

Finally, this analysis shows that the corona crisis has had different consequences within the Visual Arts domain, but has not caused a turnaround. The biggest trends – an unstable and unequal labor market, digitalization, the question of whether there are sufficient subsidies and facilities to structurally maintain the domain and an increasing attention to diversity and inclusion – were already taking place before the corona crisis.

It therefore remains important to continue to monitor developments in the visual arts. Because what do the many new guidelines, measures and reforms of recent years mean for practice? We are therefore in discussions about the Collective Selfie including a panel study to map the individual practice of makers. In this way, the Culture Monitor helps build a stable, sustainable basis for the Visual Arts domain.

Would you like to know more about the Visual Arts domain?

View more data about the visual arts domain in the Dashboard of the Culture Monitor.

More literature about the visual arts domain can also be found in the Knowledge Base of the Boekman Foundation.


Art Basel and UBS (2021) The art market 2021. Basel and Zurich: Art Basel and UBS.

Berenschot (2021) Evaluation of guideline and experimental regulations for artists' fees. Utrecht: Berenschot.

Amsterdam Fund for the Arts (2021) 2020 annual report. Amsterdam: Amsterdam Fund for the Arts.

BKNL (2019) A collective selfie 4: visual arts in numbers. Amsterdam: Visual Arts Netherlands.

Brom, R. (et al.) (2019) The state of culture 4: cultural index of the Netherlands. Amsterdam: Boekman Foundation.

Borg, L. ter (2020) 'Dutch art museums: diversity is policy, but the director is always white'. On:, 17th of June.

CBS (2021a) 'Monitor artists and other workers with a creative profession 2021'. On, October 6.

CBS (2021b)'Turnover and income position of self-employed people in the cultural sector'. On, 19 March.

CBS (2022) 'Museums, by type (nature of the collection), 2009-2020'. On:, March 25.

Fair Practice Code (2020) 'Overview of measures and developments in the corona crisis'. On:

Goudriaan, R. (et al.) (2021) Unequally affected, unequally supported. Effects of the corona crisis in the culture sector. Amsterdam: Boekmanstichting, SiRM and Significant APE.

Heithuis, S. et al. (2022) An untold story: exploratory research into gender (in)equality in the art world. Amsterdam: WOMEN Inc. Foundation

Young, Ph. the (2022) Research art market 2021. Amsterdam.

Jorritsma, E. (2021) 'The self-employed are the big losers in the cultural sector'. On:, September 29nd.

Knol, J. (2021) 'The desire to buy art again is great. Interview with Olav Velthuis'. On:, 14th of April.

Kraaijeveld, J. (2019) 'Affordable studios, a social cause'. On:, February 11.

Leeuwen, A. van (2021) 'The elderly and tourists in particular are staying away: museums fear the worst for 2021'. On:, November 7.

Leden, J. van der (2022) Boekman Extra #35: undesirable behavior in the cultural sector, what next? Amsterdam: Boekman Foundation.

Lustgraaf, R. van (2022) 'Despite the relaxations, museums and theaters are attracting fewer visitors. 'We just see that people are anxious''. On:, March 23.

McAndrew, C. (2022) The art market 2022: an Art Basel & UBS reportBasel and Zurich: Art Basel and UBS.

Museum Association (2021) Museum figures 2020. Amsterdam: Museum Association.

Museum Association (2022) Museum figures 2021. Amsterdam: Museum Association.

Museum Association (2023) 'The museum association sees a cautious recovery. On:, 17 January.

Dutch Gallery Association (2021) Research art market 2021. Amsterdam: Dutch Gallery Association 2021.

Nieuwsuur (2021) 'Few female artists in museums: “we looked at art with one eye closed”'. On:, 18th of April.

ROA (2021) 'Job market' . On:, 12th of April.

Robertson, J. and C. McDaniel (2010) Themes of contemporary art: visual art after 1980. New York: Oxford University Press.

Rutten, P., O. Koops and F. Visser (2020) Creative industry monitor 2019. Hilversum: Media Perspectives Foundation.

Smallenburg, S. (2021) 'Strong together: the power of the collective'. On:, May 19.

Uchelen, A. van (2020) 'Museums have “lost” works of art due to corona'. On:, May 31.

Vinkenburg, B., HM Booij and I. Hegeman (2018) Municipal expenditure on visual arts & design: evaluation of the Decentralization Allowance for Visual Arts & Design. Utrecht: Berenschot.

Wolters, L. and R. Goudriaan (2019) Research guideline on job and wage structures for presentation institutions for visual arts. Amsterdam: De Zaak Nu.


In 2021 we spoke to the following people for the purpose of collecting information for the development of this domain page:

Accountability image

Exhibition Habitat Multiform / Photography: Lisa Maatjens