Digital transformation


The digital transformation offers great opportunities for the cultural and creative sector in the areas of production, distribution, consumption and archiving. This page provides a quantitative inventory of data that is already available to gain insight into how digital transformation is changing the sector and the different domains within it.


Digital transformation in the cultural sector is not new, but it has accelerated, partly due to the corona pandemic. This transformation offers great opportunities in the form of new, additional and enriching possibilities in the areas of creation, distribution, audience reach, consumption and archiving. At the same time, there are obstacles that can stand in the way of making the digital transformation sustainable, such as a lack of investment capacity and knowledge.

An inventory of available data on digital transformation first and foremost shows how different this process is for the different domains within the cultural sector. In addition, data currently seems to be mainly available about the deployment and use of digital technologies, and to a lesser extent about how this actually and fundamentally 'transforms' organizations. Gaining more insight into this is one of the ambitions in the further development of this theme analysis.

Introduction and importance of the theme

An exhibition that you could visit from home via a remote-controlled robot. An Advent calendar with a digital mini-show behind each box. Festivals on an imaginary island or in a virtual hotel. These are just a few of many creative ways on which the cultural sector continued to share digital work with a large audience during the lockdowns of 2020 and 2021. Although digital transformation is certainly not new for the Dutch cultural sector – one of the first livestreams in the world there was reportedly even a concert in Groningen in 1994 - the corona crisis accelerated this considerably. The theme has been high on the agenda ever since.

In the conversation about this theme, both the terms 'digitalization' and 'digital transformation' are used, often with different definitions. Following the example of DEN – Knowledge Institute for Culture & Digital Transformation – on this page we talk as much as possible about the digital transformation in the cultural sector, which means:

Digital transformation is a continuous change of the entire organization, driven and supported by the increasing use of digital technologies. The core of transformation is a change in the business model. The main question is how the organization can continue to deliver value to its customers. The transformation affects all facets of an organization, including the culture, strategy, processes, relationships and skills of the employees. (Jansen et al. 2022 in DEN 2022).

The opportunities of this digital transformation for the cultural sector are great. Digitalization offers countless new possibilities for the creation and production of art and culture, or to broaden, deepen or deepen the experience of existing art forms. to enrich. It makes culture accessible to completely new target groups, such as people who cannot or do not want to come to a cultural location themselves, foreign visitors or young people for whom the virtual world is a second home. Digitalization opens up new (international) collaboration opportunities, offers earning opportunities beyond the physical product and makes it possible to preserve the culture that is now being created for future generations (DEN 2022, Council for Culture 2022).

However, the challenges are also great. For example, the Council for Culture noted in September 2022 that 'the government and the cultural and creative sector [lack] a long-term policy vision on the digital transformation of the sector'. Another risk is that the sector will quickly return to the situation before corona: mainly focused on physical experiences. A third challenge is that money and the required (technical) knowledge are limited, which means that it is mainly larger organizations that can benefit from digitization. The current energy and inflation crisis may also put further pressure on the financial space for digital investments. Collaboration within the sector is therefore required: to make knowledge and technology available to everyone and to share costs. There is also currently too much dependence on several large (commercial) platforms (including concerns about privacy and autonomy), creators do not earn enough from digitization and the cultural system is not yet well equipped for this (Council for Culture). 2022).

To address these bottlenecks, the Council for Culture did so six recommendations in particular to the central government and the sector (Council for Culture 2022). In addition, various developments are currently taking place that help perpetuate and accelerate the digital transformation of the cultural sector. For example, the Innovation Labs funded by the central government were launched at the beginning of 2022: projects in which various partners experiment together with new knowledge, technologies and working methods to make the cultural sector more agile. Of the sixteen projects selected in the first round, there are various focused on digital transformation. Culture Desk also opened in September 2022 DigitALL: a three-year collaboration between private funds, the Friends Lottery, the government and knowledge partners such as DEN, Art-up and Cultuur+Ondernemen. The aim of this desk is to support cultural institutions with money and knowledge that 'want to strengthen their public offering or contact with the public through the use of digital technology'.

The focus on digital transformation will be further intensified in the coming years. In May 2022, State Secretary Uslu announced that he would continue the Innovation Labs and also invest more than five million euros in 'accelerating and supporting' the digital transformation in the cultural and creative sector (Uslu 2022a). In November 2022, the State Secretary also announced various additional incentive measures: for example, DEN will receive structurally more subsidy to support the sector in the digital transformation, contributions to DigitALL and a training scheme will be extended and facilities for the accessibility of digital heritage will be rolled out more quickly (Uslu 2022b ).

The current focus on digital transformation, the great opportunities it offers and the challenges that must be overcome, make it an important theme to monitor. This page contributes to this in a mainly quantitative way, and offers an inventory and discussion of data that provide insight into the digital transformation of the various domains within the cultural sector. Attention is always paid (where possible) to the influence of the digital transformation the aspects production, distribution, consumption, public outreach and archiving.

This first version of this page will be further developed, supplemented and updated in the coming years, to provide an increasingly better picture of the digital transformation of the cultural sector. Some wishes and ideas for future additions have already been collected in the closing section 'Conclusion'. Nevertheless, there will also be aspects of the digital transformation that will remain out of the picture on this quantitative page. Under the section 'Would you like to know more about the theme Digital transformation?' We therefore refer you to places where more information about this theme can be found.

Digital transformation by domain


The majority of architectural firms see digital transformation as a major opportunity (BNA 2021, Rutten 2021), while 98 percent of architectural firms view digitalization as (very) important (Derix et al. 2022). Perhaps the greatest opportunity lies in the possibility of strengthening cooperation between various partners in the construction chain - such as architects, clients, consultants and contractors. This increases the efficiency and stability of the construction process and reduces the time and costs required. In practice, the digital applications that architects use most, therefore focused on digital collaboration. For example, 76 percent of architectural firms use Construction Information Management (BIM), 42 percent work via cloud collaboration together with chain partners and digitally links 25 percent designs to the manufacturer's production lines (Rutten 2021). In addition, collective work is also being done on digital collaboration in the sector. This is the program in 2019 digiGO has been started, in which the government, clients and the design, construction and technology sector work together to help accelerate the digitization of the built environment. This includes work on the Digital Built Environment System (DSGO). This is a system of uniform agreements that should enable the various partners in the construction chains to use and share data in a reliable and secure manner.

In addition to collaboration opportunities, the digital transformation also offers architects new design possibilities. 23 percent of architectural firms already have experience with parametric design: a method of design in which algorithms can (help) generate a design based on data and variables (parameters). This offers many advantages. For example, parametric design makes complex geometric shapes possible and an algorithm can easily simulate many possible solutions, from which the most (cost) efficient, sustainable or simply optimal solution can then be 'calculated'. Other new possibilities that digital transformation offers include the ability to bring a design to life using virtual, augmented or mixed reality (already used by 35 percent of architectural firms) or to monitor and control the use of a building using sensors. to optimize (already applied by 18 percent of agencies) (Rutten 2021).

Digital transformation in architecture

The first graph in the figure below shows which digital applications are most used by architectural firms, based on survey research by Rutten 2021. Selected from this are all applications that are used by at least 10 percent of the firms surveyed. The second graph shows the extent to which architectural and engineering firms say they have digitized their information and data, based on survey research by Statistics Netherlands (2022a, 2022c). You can switch between the different graphs via the tabs above the figure.

% of respondents
% of respondents

Sources: Rutten 2021, CBS 2022a, CBS 2022c

Although digital transformation offers great opportunities, agencies identify various obstacles that stand in the way of further or faster digitalization. Within your own organization, a lack of investment capacity (particularly for smaller agencies), skills, knowledge and priority are the most frequently mentioned obstacles. For the industry as a whole, reference is also made to chain partners and/or clients who do not cooperate (to the same extent), as well as data security. The most important needs are therefore knowledge, qualified personnel, support and cooperation from the client (Rutten 2021).

Main bottlenecks in digitalization in architecture

The figures below show the obstacles that architectural firms face in digitization, both within their own organization and for the industry as a whole (Rutten 2021). Only the obstacles mentioned by at least 10 percent of the agencies surveyed are shown. You can switch between the different graphs via the tabs above the figure.

% of respondents
% of respondents

Source: Rutten 2021

Digital transformation also plays an important role in the field of archiving. The Nieuwe Instituut in Rotterdam, for example, is working on digitizing the National Collection for Dutch Architecture and Urban Planning. This was given a boost through the program from 2019 Architecture Closer, which focuses on increasing the visibility and accessibility of the architectural collection. Digitization and making the digital collection accessible are important parts of this.


As also on the domain page Audiovisual described in the Culture Monitor, the corona measures had a major impact on cinema visits and on the balance of power within the audiovisual field. Streaming platforms saw major growth – both in the number of providers and the number of users – while cinemas recorded a sharp decline in the number of visitors.

Ratio of cinemas and video on demand

The graph below shows the turnover of cinemas and film theaters in addition to the turnover from video-on-demand services (Mees et al. 2022).

Source: Mees et al. 2022

The growth of these subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) providers, where you can watch selected titles with a subscription, continued in 2022. For example, Netflix welcomed 2022 million new subscribers worldwide in the fourth quarter of 7,7, although the platform saw the number of subscribers decrease (by approximately 2011) for the first time since 970.000 in the first half of the year (Netflix 2023). In the Netherlands, the number of Netflix subscribers in 2020 was estimated at approximately 3,6 million subscribers (ANP et al. 2020). Apart from these figures, there is limited availability of (reliable) market figures and data from and about streaming services. For example, Jonathan Mees of the Film Fund sees how difficult it is, even as a maker, to gain insight into how often productions are viewed - Netflix for example, mainly shares figures about their top 20 most watched shows. An attempt to gain more insight into Dutch streaming behavior is taking place through, among other things, the National Media Research (NMO), which tries to map the cross-media behavior of the Dutch population through viewer panels, measurements on television sets and other research methods.

Not only the larger streaming services such as Netflix, Videoland and Disney+ are popular in the Netherlands: Prime Video, Apple TV+ and CineMember are also on the rise. Streaming services increasingly bundle the production, distribution and exploitation of audiovisual products, where previously these were separate links in the chain. This is also an aspect of the changing power relationship. This causes problems, especially for independent productions, notes Jonathan Mees of the Film Fund, as they find it more difficult to obtain financing and are tied to a specific audience if they end up on a major streaming platform. If we look specifically at documentaries, we notice the panel of the expert session Documentary in motion during IDFA 2022 on how 'the streaming platforms have a large and strong international distribution platform, something that can be very valuable in view of the reach of documentaries' (Houtman 2022).

Another recent development is that streaming services such as Netflix are experimenting with release and marketing strategies through films at the same time to launch in cinemas and online, as happened with Blockbuster The Gray Man in 2022. In addition, a collaboration between cinemas and VOD platforms may also arise, whereby the cinemas share in the turnover. For example, Picl, a transactional video-on-demand (TVOD) platform where you pay once to watch a film, only movies that are also showing in cinemas at that time. The platform gained popularity during the corona crisis and sees several advantages of virtual cinema: better and more precise data management, great possibilities for (international) collaborations, being able to show more films and diversify of the offer. Picl is also currently investigating where and when in the selection process a viewer decides to watch a film online or offline. In this context, Koen de Groot (NVPI) sees how streaming services did not have much influence on cinema visits before corona: the most fanatical streamers also went to the movies most often. However, the corona period has thrown everything into disarray - larger titles still attract visitors, but this has become a lot more difficult for smaller titles. Dutch cinemas attracted 2022 million visits in 25; 32 percent less than the average for 2017-2019, but 75 percent more than in 2021 (NVBF et al. 2022, 2023).

Although streaming platforms have many users in the Netherlands, according to Stichting Kijkonderzoek, large and 'traditional' television channels such as NPO, RTL and Talpa still attract more viewers (Melchers 2022). A trend such as cord-cutting – canceling your subscription to linear television and only consuming online TV – is also less common in the Netherlands than in the United States. Well there is one slight decrease in 'linear' television viewing: research by the Dutch Media Authority shows that the preference for television has decreased in 2022 compared to 2019, and the preference for social media platforms and on demand services has increased. For watching news and information, television is still preferred over other ways of watching, although the preference for watching news and information via social media platforms is increasing in the Netherlands. youngest age group (13-19 years) strong. We also see that YouTube and Netflix are used most often by this youngest age group to watch videos - although these platforms are also widely used in the 20-34 and 35-49 age groups. In 2019, there were five linear television channels in the top ten most used channels and services by the youngest age group of television viewers; in 2022 there will be only three (Slabbekoorn et al. 2022).

Digital developments are also taking place in the field of archiving. A 2020 survey shows the degree of digitization of audiovisual material increased between 2017 and 2019. In 42, 2019 percent of respondents – including Sound and Vision and the Eye Film Museum, but also government archives and broadcasters – indicated that they had digitized more than half of their analogue audiovisual material, compared to only 2017 percent in 34. The degree of digitization is especially high among broadcasters; 55 percent had digitized more than half of their analog audiovisual material. Respondents representing other institutions also generally mention a high degree of digitization: 64 percent of them had digitized more than half of their analogue audiovisual material (Mulder et al. 2020).

Degree of digitization of audiovisual archives

The figures below show, based on a small-scale survey (N=67), what percentage of their archives the institutions surveyed had digitized in 2019. The graph shows that 20 percent of the museums surveyed had digitized up to a quarter of their archive (Mulder et al. 2022). 

% of all respondents

Source: Mulder et al. 2022

Visual arts

During the corona years, museums and presentation institutions had to close - an initially strange sensation for these places focused on physical experience. Came up in haste settings diverse online museum experiences: virtual tours around the exhibition, accelerated digitization of the collection and associated updates of the website, stronger presence on social media and increasing attention to digital heritage and its accessibility (sometimes grouped under the trendy term living archives: the opposite of a closed archive with hardly any interaction or activation). From museums and presentation institutions With or without corona support, the focus was on more resources for digital presence. To what extent has this attention continued? And will visitors cross the physical threshold as easily as before the crisis? The latter, unfortunately, has not yet been unequivocallyja' to answer. The Museum Association estimates the visitor figures for 2022 at 18,2 to 23,8 million compared to the 32,6 million in 2019 (Verhoog et al. 2022).

To visit a museum

The graph below shows the number of museum visits in the Netherlands for the years 2019, 2020 and 2021, in addition to the estimated number of visits in 2022 (Verhoog et al. 2022).


Source: Verhoog et al. 2022

We do see that in 2021 three quarters of museums offered online activities, more about which in the Heritage section of this page. The percentage of their collection that museums made accessible via the internet depended on their size (Verhoog et al. 2022).

Digital accessibility of museum collections

The graph below shows what part of their collection museums have made publicly accessible via the internet, by museum size. For example, major museums have made 78 percent of their collection digitally accessible. These figures do not include two large museums with major backlogs in the digitization of their collection (Verhoog et al. 2022).


Source: Verhoog et al. 2022

The digital museum offering that has proven to be the most popular among visitors since the start of the corona crisis, were social media activities (mentioned by almost 60 percent of the museums surveyed in Europe), followed by video content (42 percent) and virtual tours (28 percent). In terms of supply, the number of posts on social media increased (67 percent of museums saw an increase), as did the amount of video content (39 percent of museums saw an increase) (Nemo 2021). Three-quarters of Dutch museums offered at least one online activity in 2021, although this was 59 percent among small museums. The number of visitors to museum websites increased from 126 million in 2019 to almost 149 million in 2021 (Verhoog et al. 2022).

If we look beyond the (art) museums, it appears that physical visits have decreased to a greater or lesser extent at more than 54 percent of the art galleries, although the size of the workforce has remained virtually the same. The art sales is often shifting to online: online turnover almost doubled in one year and in 2020, 22 percent of galleries achieved half or more of their turnover from sales via the internet (Dijksterhuis et al. 2022).

An important added value of the online offering and digital presence of museums and presentation institutions is their international reach. Interestingly, some smaller institutions see this reach as one of the main reasons not only to (continue to) organize hybrid cultural events where online and offline visitors can experience the program together, but even to go completely online. An example is The Hmm, platform for inclusive internet culture. Their freedom in hybrid experiments, including the event The Hmm @ 4 locations (organized simultaneously in four places in the Netherlands and online) led to admiration among larger cultural institutions, who see it as a breeding ground for their own digital portfolio.

In addition to a broader international reach, the option of virtual experience also increases the accessibility of events and offers opportunities to reduce the ecological footprint of speakers and visitors. Esther van Rosmalen from Witte Rook in Breda sees that this can also play a role in artist residencies. Their artists realized that you can work digitally during the (initial) research phase, which opens up the principle of time, space and context, as well as allowing a greater reach among artists who are not based in the Netherlands or Europe.

Inspiration for Witte Rook, for example, is Museum of Contemporary Art in Roskilde (Denmark), which has completely given up the physical exhibition space to focus on a large-scale online component: a website on which, among other things, works are provided with extra context, more (and more multimedia) than is possible with a physical exhibition. In addition, experiments with adding digital applications or immersive experiences at exhibitions has increased significantly in recent years, including the use of VR or AR within museum setups, livestreams, performances or a so-called Museum of the Future. The big question remains, however how to earn to these online expressions. The Museum Association agrees with this, but also sees how online experiments can serve as a way to deepen the visitor experience and offer a first, accessible contact with the museum. 


Digitization has been around for ages ongoing process, where the design sector in particular has been moving along with new innovations and developments from the start. This is how the Creative industry monitor 2021 that digitalization is the most important axis along which innovation in the creative industry takes place (Rutten 2022, 13). Design is the fastest growing sector of the creative industry, and the rise of digital design – where design competencies are combined with digital skills such as software development and the application of artificial intelligence (AI) – has put design on the map more than ever (Rutten 2022, 34). However, digital transformation is now part of it almost every design practice, be it as a means to work with or as a goal to pursue with one's own design. The extent and form in which digitalization is used in design practice differs per subcategory of workers and companies in the world design sector– this varies, for example, from an illustrator working independently to an agency that designs signage for airports.

Figures about the sector-wide digital transformation of design are difficult to visualize, thanks to the versatility of the domain and the many intermediate forms and overlaps with other sectors (both within and outside the cultural sector). The Monitor creative industry However, has been reporting on the digital design industry and its strong growth since the first edition in 2014. Also with this one industrythe statistics are difficult to trace because some companies are registered as software developers, others as advertising agencies and still others as designers (Rutten 2022, 122).

Collaborating with other disciplines within and outside the design field is important for designers to (help) solve so-called problems wicked problems and contributing to social tasks. There are many innovative, tech-savvy (social) design projects in which digitization or digital innovation plays a specific role in those collaborations. A small selection from it Dutch designers Yearbook 2022 (Kroesbergen et al. 2022), for example The Solar Biennale/The Energy Show in Het Nieuwe Instituut and acclaimed projects within the Dutch Design Awards such as WTFFF!?, BuyCloud and the work of Cream on Chrome.

Notable trends in digital transformation and design that emerge further in discussions with the sector on this theme page are, for example, the rapid advance of AI (which some designers embrace as a 'new colleague', but which others see as a threat), the experimentation with and application of immersive content (for which in support of this the CIIIC program is being established), data-driven working (which is becoming increasingly important for many different design practices), digital co-creation platforms en circular design chains and the influence that the corona pandemic has had on digitalization.

The corona pandemic worked as a catalyst for positive change in the design sector, in design processes, the communication about those processes and the focus that designers placed. The lockdowns temporarily gave some designers the space to do more research, experiment, make free work or give their practice a different emphasis - says Madeleine van Lennep, director of BNO, in the Dutch designers Yearbook 2022 (Steel 2022). A striking consequence of the corona pandemic was the (slight) increase in the number of subsidy applications to the Creative Industries Fund NL, especially in the category 'design and design', and specifically for project subsidies in which designers reflect on their practice (see the graph below). The digital skills of designers are above average and the BNO Industry Monitor 2022 shows that hybrid working has become standard at 84 percent of design agencies since corona (Hattum et al. 2022). However, the pandemic has also created a shortage in the labor market: agencies have many vacancies, and there is a particular demand for creative talent (Ibid.). Digital creators, especially those who program and can generate a large income for themselves in a short time, chose to retrain or simply to change jobs during or after the corona crisis. On the one hand, the pandemic has caused practices to come to a standstill or collapse, while on the other hand there is great mobility and tightness on the labor market origins.

Subsidies Creative Industry Incentive Fund

This graph shows the number of subsidy applications for project schemes for the categories 'design and design' and 'digital culture' within the Creative Industries Fund NL. The figures refer to the number of applications processed. Design and design still had five rounds in 2020, this has been reduced to four rounds in 2021. The restrictive measures due to the corona pandemic came into effect after round 2 and round 3 in 2020 for digital culture and design respectively.


Source: Creative Industries Fund NL


Heritage reflects and tells stories about ourselves and the way in which we as a society view our environment. Digital transformation plays an important role in telling those stories. Digitization also helps preserve heritage for the future, but above all it ensures that heritage collections can be linked to each other, that they become more accessible, and that they enable users to tell new, more diverse and richer stories about heritage (Digital Network). Heritage 2021). Based on the National Digital Heritage Strategy – implemented by the Digital Heritage Network (NDE) – the heritage sector is therefore working on connecting heritage collections from the perspective of users, in order to make heritage easier to find and increase its use. Central concepts here are 'shelf life', 'visible' and 'usable'.

'Sustainable' includes securing and keeping information sources available in the long term. It is difficult to indicate exactly for which part of the heritage this has already been realized, but there are still quite a few caveats – some figures available. For example, in 2017, half of 127 Dutch heritage institutions surveyed had digitized up to a quarter of their collection; the average digitization rate was 35 percent (DEN 2017). A 2021 study found somewhat similar percentages: 57 percent of organizations indicated that they had digitized up to a quarter of their collection (Kemman et al. 2021).

However, it is very difficult to interpret these figures, as is apparent, for example, when we zoom in on museums. The aforementioned 2021 survey showed that half of the museums surveyed had digitized a maximum of a quarter of their collection (Kemman et al. 2021). However, figures from the Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands show that entire museum collection a significant part has been digitized: in 2020, increasing from 54 percent at natural history museums to 81 percent at ethnological museums (RCE 2021a). Be for this difference different explanations possible.

Although the precise share is difficult to determine, the degree of digitization is increasing at the majority of heritage institutions. In 2021, this had increased at 53 percent of the institutions surveyed compared to 2019, remained approximately the same at 35 percent and decreased at 10 percent (Kemman et al. 2021).

Degree of digitization of heritage collections

The figures below show some figures about the degree of digitization of heritage collections in the Netherlands. Figure 1 shows how surveyed heritage institutions estimate the degree of digitization of their own collection (DEN 2017, Kemman et al. 2021). Figure 2 shows the degree of digitization of museum collections, by type of museum (RCE 2021a). Finally, Figure 3 shows the answers to the question of how, according to heritage institutions, the degree of digitization of their collection has changed between 2019 and 2021 (Kemman et al. 2021). You can switch between the different graphs via the tabs above the figure.

% of respondents
% of respondents

Sources: DEN 2017, Kemman et al. 2021, RCE 2021a

However, not all digitized heritage is publicly accessible and visible. In a 2017 survey, heritage institutions surveyed indicated that on average 37 percent of their digital collection was accessible online (DEN 2017). Somewhat comparable is the share of the total museum collections that is publicly accessible online: in 2020 this ranged from 33 percent for historical museums to 65 percent for ethnological museums (RCE 2021b). However, these figures are difficult to interpret, because it can vary greatly per collection as to what exactly is digitally accessible. For example, in 2021, 29 percent of heritage institutions focused entirely or mainly on quantitative disclosure, while 36 percent are completely on, mainly on qualitative access focused (Kemman et al. 2021).

Another way to gain insight into the size of publicly accessible digital heritage is to look at a few large platforms where different digital collections come together. So its through will make more than 2023 million objects from the collections of approximately 7,1 museums and other cultural institutions searchable at the beginning of 200. Through Europeana In addition, approximately 53 million digital objects from all over Europe are made available, of which more than 2022 million came from 9,6 Dutch institutions in July 94 (Europeana Foundation 2022).

A lot is happening to increase the visibility of this heritage. So continues the campaign Memory of the Netherlands is committed to giving a platform to the countless stories that our digital heritage contains. The corona pandemic also offered an opportunity to introduce the public to heritage online. For example, a large number of museums offered online activities in 2020 - although this offer seemed to decrease slightly in 2021 (CBS 2022d).

Digital offering from museums

The first graph in the figure below shows what part of the museum collections is publicly accessible via the internet, broken down by different types of museums (RCE 2021b). The second graph shows which online activities museums offered in the corona years 2020 and 2021 (CBS 2022d). You can switch between the different graphs via the tabs above the figure.


Sources: RCE 2021b, CBS 2022d

The aim of these efforts is that users will also use the available offer. Various studies have been conducted in recent years with the aim of creating a standardized method to map this use (Graauw et al. 2020, Huysmans 2021, Graaf 2022). The insights that are already available fall into three forms. First of all, these are reach figures: the number of visitors who visit websites with digital heritage and the number of pages they view. In graph below figures are included on this.

Scope of digital heritage collections

The figure below shows the average number of heritage objects, visitors, page views and sessions on heritage sites and mixed sites in 2020 (Kemman et al. 2021). This average does not include the KB figures because they are exceptionally high and would distort the average (Kemman et al. 2021).


Sources: Kemman et al. 2021, Graaf 2022

In addition, there are insights from survey research. Out of there shows, among other things, that 96 percent of the population is at least somewhat interested in heritage, that a significant part of them also carries out activities in the field of heritage, and that the majority of them also use the internet for this. In particular, browsing and looking up information, reading articles and looking at photos and videos are often done. To clearly map this use, the NDE has drawn up user profiles for dealing with digital heritage. The profiles of these are 'Intense experience,Browse and discover,Acquire targeted information'And'Around physical visits' by far the most common. 'Share,Creating with objects,Co-creating in community,Learning workshops,Gaming'And'Creating with datasets' are less common (Mulder et al. 2019, Kemman et al. 2021).

Use of digital heritage

The graphs in the figure below show some insights from survey research into the use of digital heritage. The first figure shows which heritage activities respondents practice, and to what extent the internet is used (Kemman et al. 2021). The second figure specifies the most common ways in which the internet is used (Kemman et al. 2021). Finally, the third figure shows nine forms of dealing with digital heritage, and the share of respondents who sometimes perform them. There is a small difference between the data from 2019 and 2021. The data for 2019 concerns the share of respondents compared to the group of people interested in heritage. The data for 2021 concern the share of respondents compared to the group of people who sometimes use the internet for their own heritage activities (Mulder et al. 20219, Kemman et al. 2021). You can switch between the different graphs via the tabs above the figure.

% of respondents
% of respondents

Sources: Mulder et al. 2019, Kemman et al. 2021

Finally, more qualitative research results are available based on interviews about the extent to which and the way in which different target groups use digital heritage, such as (humanities) scientists, people with a creative profession and teachers (Mulder et al. 2019, Kemman et al. 2021).


Ever since the earliest games, video games have been inherently digital. You cannot really speak of a digital transformation within this domain. Yet the gaming industry is also constantly changing due to new digital and online possibilities.

The most important change has probably occurred in the area of ​​distribution. In roughly the past 15 years, physical distribution has become available via, for example, cartridges or CDs largely made way for digital distribution via online platforms (and more recently, for example via subscription services en cloud gaming). This is a very significant development, because these platforms also created room for more small-scale, innovative, personal and artistic games. In combination with an increasing availability of software and knowledge to create games, digital distribution helped to increase the diversity of the offer. This allowed games to further develop as a cultural medium (Schrijen 2022).

Digital distribution of games

In the Netherlands, an estimated 7,4 to 7,6 million people play games. In 2022, around 18 percent of the population indicated that they had purchased games via the internet or paid subscription fees for them in the past 3 months. Within the 27 countries of the European Union, this was an average of 8 percent (CBS 2022b, Eurostat 2022).


Sources: CBS 2022b, Eurostat 2022

On the production side, digital distribution makes it possible to release improvements or additions after the release of a game that a player can download. This extends the lifespan of a game, although it also means that a game is less likely to be 'finished': sometimes it is still being worked on for years after release.

For consumers, the 'online transformation' has broadened the gaming experience by making it possible to experience it together with others. Many people play games online: with or against friends or strangers. Online gaming has also made e-sports possible: competitions in which professional gamers often compete against each other in competition.

Share of people who play online games

It is difficult to determine exactly how many people play online games in the Netherlands. In addition, online gaming can have two meanings. This can mean that someone plays a game that runs entirely online, or that someone plays a game online with others. A survey by the Mulier Institute (n=2.426) showed that 48 percent of respondents aged 16 and older had played a game online in 2019. Of these, 60 percent played against others (Dool 2019). Annual survey research among the LISS panel shows that more than 30 percent of the population aged 16 and older plays online games. You can switch between the different graphs via the tabs above the figure.

% of respondents
% of respondents

Sources: Dool 2019, LISS panel

Social media and the rise of streaming have also made it easier to share gaming experiences with others. There is also a large audience for this: a growing number of people watching others play games or e-sports competitions.

In the field of archiving, digitalization offers the opportunity to preserve old games - which are often stored on physical carriers with a limited lifespan - for future generations and keep them playable. At the same time, as a result of the digital transformation, modern games have also acquired characteristics that can make archiving difficult, such as the fact that they can constantly change due to updates, sometimes only work when connected to certain online services, or are only offered in digital stores where they can disappear overnight.

Game archiving

The Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision collects Dutch games, in close collaboration with rights holders and with the Dutch Games Canon as a guideline. In November 2022, the Sound and Vision collection contained 170 Dutch games.


Source: correspondence with Sound and Vision

Although the above developments concern the games industry itself, it is worth mentioning that games also play an important role in the digital transformation of other domains. For example, the virtual worlds of games are already used to host concerts, as a backdrop for film productions, to promote reading or as virtual museums.


Digital transformation within literature can be seen in different areas, including the distribution and use of e-books, online sales from physical and non-physical bookstores, and digital innovation within the creation of literary products themselves. Nevertheless, there are still all kinds of questions about this. For example, what does a reader expect from a digital (publication) platform, what can a digital medium mean for the reading experience, and which literature does the consumer want to purchase and/or consume digitally or not?

A first development can be found in the use of digital carriers as e-readers and tablets. Partly due to the corona pandemic, the share of Dutch people who regularly read an e-book has increased from 38 percent in 2020 to 43 percent in 2021. The majority of readers combine digital reading with reading printed books - only 6 percent of the readers read exclusively digitally (Stichting Lezen 2021). The e-book is therefore not a direct competitor of the paper book. E-books are read relatively more often by people over 50 years old, while audiobooks are listened to relatively more often by the group of 25 to 49 year olds (KVB Boekwerk 2021, Nagelhout et al. 2021). When choosing an e-book or paper book, the function of reading can also make a difference: research shows, for example, that an e-book is (slightly) less suitable for reading for comprehension (non-fiction) than for reading for pleasure (fiction) (Stichting Lezen 2022).

If we look at the lending behavior at libraries, e-books are mainly lent by members between the ages of 40 and 70. In addition, more fiction (88 percent for e-books, 68 percent for audio books) than non-fiction is lent. This is also reflected in the collection, where 73 percent of the e-books and 66 percent of the audio books are fiction. The number of digital loans, as well as the number digital onlysubscriptions has increased steadily in recent years, with an acceleration in 2020. The number of e-books lent alley from 3,9 million in 2019 to 5,6 million in 2020, although this decreased slightly to 5,4 million in 2021. Something similar applies to the number of audio books lent: this increased from 1,8 million in 2019 to 2,6. 2020 million in 2021, before declining to 1,9 million in 2022 (Library Insight XNUMX).

Supply and use of national digital library

The graphs below show the number of available e-books and audio books in the national digital library, as well as the number of loans available (Library Insight 2022b). You can switch between the two graphs via the tabs at the top of the figure.


Source: Library Insight 2022b

If we shift the attention from the library to the bookstore, it first becomes clear that the book market has grown in recent years. Readers purchased more than 2021 million books in 43; Sales grew by 5 percent, making it the highest in ten years. However, physical bookstores and the online sales channel have undergone a different development. In the online sales channel, both sales and turnover have grown by 2021 percent in 20. This is the second year in a row of major growth in the online domain - a result of the developments arising from the corona pandemic. In the physical sales channel, sales fell by 2021 percent in 7 and turnover by 5 percent, which means we are seeing a major decline for the second year in a row. Compared to 2019, sales in the physical bookstore will be 2021 percent lower in 16, and turnover will be 15 percent lower. Since 2020, the online channel has therefore accounted for the majority of total turnover, and since 2021 also for more than half of total sales (KVB Boekwerk 2022a). In 2022, physical stores appear to have done relatively slightly better than e-commerce: for example, turnover from physical stores increased by 25 percent while that of online stores fell by 11 percent (KVB Boekwerk 2023). However, what readers buy in bookstores differs from what they buy online. Relatively more non-fiction is sold online (study books or books about management, both of which are rarely available in physical stores), while in physical bookstores mainly fiction and children's books are purchased (KVB Boekwerk 2022b).

Sales and turnover of (Dutch-language) e-books also increased in 2020, before stagnating in 2021. Nevertheless, e-books only account for approximately 5 percent of total book turnover (KVB Boekwerk 2022a). Within the turnover from e-books, the share of e-book subscriptions increased from 23 percent in 2020 to 27 percent in 2021 (KVB Boekwerk 2022c).

Physical bookstores and e-commerce

The graphs below provide insight into (the development of) the share of physical bookstores and the e-commerce channel in total book turnover and sales (KVB Boekwerk 2022a). You can switch between the two graphs via the tabs at the top of the figure.

Index figures with 2017=100

Source: KVB Boekwerk 2022b

During and after the pandemic, organizations such as De Schrijverscentrale noticed how much online enrichment could be: numerous online initiatives were offered to promote reading culture, such as the one that started in 2020. Writer on your screen. Literary festivals started programming more online, and to some extent still do. There are also some new players on the market who view digital reading in a completely new way: for example, the often used Wattpad, a platform that mainly attracts readers between the ages of 12 and 26, on which conversations about (mainly) fiction are actively conducted via chat. Also booktok, a trend on the popular platform TikTok with numerous book tips, draws attention to literature from a young group of readers who are often thought to read little or not at all.

Other platforms for digital reading and/or experiencing include, for example, the platform for audio books Whisper (competitor of Storytel), the app Immer which enriches and facilitates reading via tablets, and is called the online magazine of De Gids DIG (The Internet Guide), which has been conducting all kinds of online experiments with multimedia and literature since 2010. An example is interactive fiction , which has existed since the inception of the internet, but has not yet made any real progress. The form consists of literary texts that are experienced via an interactive form on a web browser or other program. Another digital genre is 'Instagram poetry', which clearly shows how poetry can also be found in the digital environment knows how to flourish: the poet Rupi Kaur has more than 4,5 million followers on Instagram.

Performing arts

Perhaps even more important in the performing arts than in other domains is the physical, live experience. The energy of a room, the interaction with the artist, the music that you not only hear but also feel... This does not alter the fact that in the performing arts the digital experience is increasingly replacing the physical experience. supplements and enriches.

This happens primarily within performances. This is what digital technologies offer new possibilities in the field of image, light, sound and special effects (SBB 2020). But digital transformation also offers opportunities around productions, for example in offering additional information during a performance via an app, or for relevant side programming or education programs. The digitization of ticket systems also offers many possibilities and insights in the field of audience data. For example, DIP creates a link between ticket sales systems, making it possible to collect aggregated and anonymized information on a large scale. audience data and analyze sales data (DIP zj).

Digital transformation also offers additional opportunities to reach the public. This is nothing new in the music industry: since 2015, the majority of recorded music revenue has come from digital distribution, mainly via streaming platforms such as Apple Music and Spotify (NVPI 2022). This cover has also made it possible for artists to to do more yourself and interact more directly with their audience.

Music streaming

The graphs in the figure below provide insight into music streaming. The first graph shows the shares of physical and digital distribution within the turnover of the Dutch music industry (NVPI 2022). The second graph shows what share of Dutch people buy music digitally or pay for a music streaming service (CBS 2022b, Eurostat 2022). You can switch between the different graphs via the tabs above the figure.

% of respondents

Sources: NVPI 2022, CBS 2022b, Eurostat 2022

Although live performances and performances were sometimes previously offered digitally as stream or video registration, this digital offering only really increased significantly as a result of the corona measures in 2020 and 2021. A large number of stages, artists and companies offered livestreams, archive images or other online content, and was able to reach many people. For example, the 77 companies that received multi-year subsidies from the Performing Arts Fund in 2020 and are members of the NAPK trade association, programmed almost 300 online performances in both years, which were viewed by more than 1,3 million people (Draaijers 2022). Although the focus will again be on physical performances in 2022, some of the companies will continue to offer online performances.

During the corona pandemic, the digital domain also offered opportunities for amateur artists. The vast majority of practitioners who took lessons, courses or workshops within one of the performing arts domains did so at least partly online. A (smaller) proportion of practitioners also found a place online to stage or perform art (Neele et al. 2022).

(Use of) online performing arts offerings

The first figure in the graph below shows how many online performances were programmed by the 77 companies that received multi-year subsidy from the Performing Arts Fund in 2020 and are members of the NAPK, as well as how many people viewed them in total (Draaijers 2022). The second figure provides insight into the use of online cultural education in 2021 (Neele et al. 2021). You can switch between the different graphs via the tabs above the figure.

Number of performances: n / Number of visitors: nx 1.000
% of respondents

Sources: Neele et al. 2021, Draaijers 2022

Major steps are also being taken in digitizing the performing arts past. is currently working on connecting various performing arts collections, so that they can ultimately all be searched from one central service platform. In addition, works in various ways to promote expertise and stimulate the creative reuse of digitized material, in order to help the performing arts sector in the digital transformation. The main bottlenecks that stand in the way of organizations are a lack of time (61,0% of respondents), priority (51,2%) and resources (29,3%) ( 2022).

Current status of digitization of archives in the performing arts sector

The graphs in the figure below show some results of a small-scale study into the digitization of performing arts archives among 49 organizations ( 2022). For an older study, see also Faun et al. 2016. You can switch between the different graphs via the tabs above the figure.

% of respondents
% of respondents
% of respondents

Source: 2022


The inventory on this page shows that digital technologies are used in very different ways in the cultural and creative sector. However, a clear similarity lies in the great possibilities that this commitment offers: to create things that were previously impossible, to reach new audiences and stay connected to the audiences of the future, and to ensure that in that future art from the past and present is also still available. At the same time, similar obstacles are seen in many domains that can hinder the sustainability of digital transformation: in particular a lack of investment capacity and knowledge. As a result, it is also feared that larger organizations in particular will be able to focus on digital transformation and reap the benefits.

An important conclusion from this first inventory is that currently data mainly appears to be available on the use of digital technologies in production, distribution, consumption and archiving. However, it is much less clear how organizations actually and fundamentally change as a result, in areas such as culture, strategy, processes, relationships and employee skills. One of the ambitions in the further development of this page is to investigate, in collaboration with DEN, among others, how this necessary knowledge can be strengthened.

A second ambition is to further explore the interfaces with the other themes in the Culture Monitor in the future. What does the digital transformation mean for digital and physical cultural participation? And for the professional practice of makers? To what extent does digitalization contribute to a more equal cultural sector? Does digital transformation increase or decrease the environmental sustainability of the sector?

In addition, we hope to pay more attention to important technological developments that could have a major impact on the sector in future updates of this page. For example, artificial intelligence (AI) is currently receiving a lot of attention - partly due to the release of the ChatGPT program at the end of 2022 (Schellevis 2022). Although by no means perfect, AI can already generate texts, images and music, among other things, at a quite usable level. It is clear that this offers great opportunities, but will raise just as many big questions in the future. We would like to offer this space on this page in the future.

Want to know more about the theme of Digital transformation?

A lot of information about digital transformation in the cultural sector and about how you as a cultural professional or cultural organization can take steps in the process of digital transformation is available via THE, Knowledge Institute for Culture & Digital Transformation. Via the Knowledge base The Boekman Foundation also has approximately 2.300 publications available that relate to digitization in the cultural sector. With the 'Refine search results' option it is possible to search more specifically within these results.


ANP and Bright (2020) '“3,6 million Dutch subscribers to Netflix”'. On:, 16th of June.

BARB (2022)'Netflix signs up to BARB'. On:, October 12.

Batchelor, J. (2022) ' presents… the year in numbers 2022'. On:, December 20.

Blokland, R. (2022) 'Dutch film: a digital foundling'. On:, 11 January.

BNA (2021) 'Architectural firms see the opportunities of digitalization'. On:

Library Insight (2021) 'Library statistics file 2020: the digital library'. On:

Library Insight (2022) 'Library statistics file 2021: the digital library'. On:

BIM Desk (zj) 'What is BIM?'. On:

CBS (2022a) 'ICT use in companies; industry, 2021'. On:, 1th of April.

CBS (2022b)'Internet purchases; personal characteristics'. On:, October 21.

CBS (2022c)'ICT use in companies; industry, 2022'. On:, December 7.

CBS (2022d) 'COVID table set museums 2020-2021'. On:, December 23.

DEN (2017) ENUMERATE / the digital facts 2016-2017. The Hague: DEN Knowledge Institute for Digital Culture.

DEN (2022) 'Digital transformation: what is it and what do I achieve with it?'. On:, November 9.

Derix, B., N. Nieuwlaat and T. Huigen (2022) Trend research: digitalization in the construction sector. Eindhoven: Markeffect BV

DIP (zj) 'Why DIP?'. On:

Dijksterhuis, E. and M. Gielen (2022) Research art market 2021. Amsterdam: Dutch Gallery Association.

Dool, R. van den (2019) Gaming & esports in the Netherlands: from recreational sports to top sports. Utrecht: Mulier Institute.

Draaijers, A. (2023 – forthcoming) Impact of the corona crisis on members of the NAPK. Amsterdam: Boekman Foundation.

Europeana Foundation (2022) The Netherlands and Europeana: an overview. The Hague: Europeana Foundation.

Eurostat (2022) 'Internet purchases – goods or services (2020 onwards)'. On:, 30 March.

Faun, H., N. Stroeker and R. de Vreede (2016) Inventory of culturally producing institutions. Zoetermeer: ​​Panteia.

Performing Arts Fund (2018) 'digitization'. On:

Govers, C. (2017) Baseline measurement of reach of digital heritage. Sl: GfK.

Graauw, C. de and Q. van Aerts (2020) Digital Heritage Visible Indicators: framework for measuring target reach. Rows: Claudia de Graauw.

Graaf, M. van der (2022) Indicators for the use of digital heritage: research results and proposal for implementation. Amsterdam: Pleiade Management and Consultancy BV.

Hattum, R. et al. (2022) Industry monitor 2022. Amsterdam: Professional Association of Dutch Designers.

Houtman, A. (2022) Documentary in motion (report). Amsterdam: Dutch Audiovisual Producers Alliance.

Huysmans, F. (2021) Towards a harmonized measurement of use and impact of digital heritage: an Action Plan. Sl: Digital Heritage Network.

Government Information and Heritage Inspectorate (2022) Sustainable digital accessibility of the national collection: an exploration. The Hague: Government Information and Heritage Inspectorate.

Jansen, S. and J. van de Merbel (2022) The management book for digital transformation: from technology to revenue model. Zeist: VMN Media.

Jones, R. (2022) '“Making music is about making assets for social media”: pop stars battle digital burnout'. On:, February 18.

Kemman, M. et al. (2021) State of Dutch digital heritage 2021: 1 measurement following the Intensification Program 2019-2021. Utrecht: Dialogic innovation & interaction.

Kroesbergen, F. (ed.) (et al.) (2022) Dutch designers yearbook: dd'22. Rotterdam: NAi010 publishers.

KVB Boekwerk (2021) 'Digital reading: e-reader or smartphone?'. On:, May 19.

KVB Boekwerk (2022a) 'Sales figures 2021'. On:, 15 March.

KVB Boekwerk (2022b) 'Sales channels in 2021'. On:, 15 March.

KVB Boekwerk (2022c) 'Nearly 2 million more books sold in 2021'. On:, 15 March.

KVB Boekwerk (2023) 'Sales channels in 2022'. On:, 26 January.

Mees, J., T. van Tuijl, M. Wijdenes and K. de Groot (2022) Film facts & figures of the Netherlands: summer 2022 issue. Amsterdam: Netherlands Film Fund.

Melchers, F. (2022) 'Netflix is ​​not the largest: regular TV (still) beats streaming services'. On:, November 24.

MMF (2022) The MMF digital burnout report. London: Music Managers Forum.

Mulder, J. et al. (2019) Research the current state of digital accessibility and use of Dutch heritage. The Hague: KWINK group.

Mulder, J., S. Compagner and E. Verbruggen (2020) Trend monitor audiovisual collections in the Netherlands 2020. Hilversum: Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision.

Nagelhout, E. and C. Richards (2021) Report book industry measurement 56: digital reading theme measurement. Amstelveen: GfK.

Neele, A. and Z. Zernitz (2021) Artistic and creative in your spare time: monitor amateur art 2021. Utrecht: LKCA.

netflix (2023) Final Q4 22 shareholder letter. Los Gatos: Netflix.

NEMO (2021) Follow-up survey on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on museums in Europe: Final Report. Berlin: Network of European Museum Organisations.

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RRKC (2022) Digital transformation in the Rotterdam cultural sector. Rotterdam: Rotterdam Council for Art and Culture.

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Rutten, M. (2021) Digital transformation in the architectural industry. Amsterdam: BNA.

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Slabbekoorn, J. and E. Lauf (eds.) (2022) Television offering and viewing behavior 2022. Hilversum: Media Authority.

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Reading Foundation (2022) 'Understanding of e-book less in depth than of paper'. On:, November 10.

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Uslu, G. (2022b) The power of creativity: multi-year letter 2023-2025. The Hague: Ministry of Education, Culture and Science.

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We thank the following individuals for sharing insights at various points during the writing of this page in 2022:

  • Niels Bakker (Lezen Foundation)
  • Joris van Ballegooijen (Creative Industry Incentive Fund)
  • Bente Bergmans (Museum Association)
  • Maartje de Boer (RCE)
  • Bart Boskaljon (RCE)
  • Klazien Brummel (Council for Culture)
  • Annemiek van de Burgt (KB National Library)
  • Marcus Cohen (DEN)
  • Iris Daalder (NAPK)
  • Raymond Frenken (NAPA)
  • Koen de Groot (NVPI)
  • Willem Hilhorst (Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision)
  • Jennifer Hofstede (De Schrijverscentrale)
  • Dirk Houtgraaf (RCE)
  • Marieke Istha (BNA)
  • Jonathan Mees (NL Film Fund)
  • Clayde Menso (ITA)
  • Roeland Ordelman (Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision)
  • Else Laura Rademaker (DEN)
  • Esther van Rosmalen (White Rook)
  • Janet Slabbekoorn (Media Commissioner)
  • Jorien Scholtens (Media Commissionerate)
  • Monique in het Veld (
  • Senne Vercouteren (Council for Culture)
  • Tanja Zuijderwijk (freelance advisor for digital projects in the cultural sector, including for Het Nieuwe Instituut)

Accountability image

Oerol 2022 / Photography: Lisa Maatjens