As a professional, you can turn to various places for advice and information. Examples include sectoral bodies and representative bodies, such as professional associations and trade unions. What can they do for you exactly and where can you find them?
Advice and information
Network organisations, professional associations, industry associations and trade unions are all parties that represent the interests of a sector and/or their own members in various ways. The precise duties a representative body assumes are not laid down anywhere. A network organisation is often purely geared towards enabling contact between organisations or persons, often in the same field of work. Associations often focus on promoting the interests of the collective and also arrange networking meetings for their members. In addition, they often play an important role in the professionalisation of the field, for example by means of an active lobby (possibly by activating their members). A trade union focuses more on promoting the interests of both the collective and the individual. They are also more likely to provide legal assistance.
Things which are often offered include: networking events, legal help, personal advice, tax advice, insurance, courses or workshops and knowledge. If you are considering joining somewhere, do your homework about the membership fees and the services offered, so that you know which organisation suits you best. Sometimes there are student or starter rates and you can usually sign up for newsletters for free.
Examples of two large trade unions include the Kunstenbond and CNV Kunst en cultuur. And it is nice to know that lots of these associations are, in turn, members of Kunsten ‘92, the advocacy organisation for the entire arts, culture and heritage field.
There are seven sectoral bodies financed from the cultural basic infrastructure (BIS). These are institutions that perform support duties for the arts and cultural sector.
- Digitaal Erfgoed Nederland (Digital Heritage Netherlands, DEN) supports heritage institutions with their digitalisation policy and DEN has also, in practice, been there for culture-producing institutions since 2017.
- National Centre of Expertise for Cultural Education and Amateur Arts (LKCA) aims to stimulate and support the cultural life of children, young people and adults.
- EYE promotes Dutch film culture by means of collection development, presentation, promotion, research, education and knowledge transfer for a broad public and professionals.
- Het Nieuwe Instituut is the sectoral body for the creative industry.
- Boekman Foundation is an independent knowledge centre for arts and cultural policy in the Netherlands.
- DutchCulture is a support institution, which focuses on the promotion of international cultural collaboration.
- Theater in Nederland has a network and platform function.
- Cultuur+Ondernemen implements the Entrepreneurship in Culture program.
A professional organisation is not an intermediary. A representative body will not do your financial administration, launch your product or service on the market or, for example, sell your music or show. If you need help running a business, you should bring in an intermediary. For example, a personal agent, agency, theatrical agency or booking agency.