Country Focus: Belgium
Extra €20m in cash rebates available from 2014
by Boyd van Hoeij
- It seems that the Dutch government has been listening to the voices raised both within the Dutch film industry as well as in the wider political arena, which addressed the competitiveness of Dutch production, which had been lagging behind its European peers and has suffered from severe budget cuts.
On October 31, the Dutch cabinet announced it would set aside an extra €20m to boost Dutch production for both local and international films spending money locally.
The tax shelter system of countries such as neighbouring Belgium have long been cited as example by people within the Dutch film industry, which was indeed so unattractive in terms of incentives that even big local films started filming (partially) abroad, notably in Belgium, Luxembourg and Hungary, countries that all work hard to attract foreign shoots with financial incentives.
Doreen Boonekamp, the CEO of the Netherlands Film Fund, commented: “This positive outcome is crucial for the future and quality of the national film industry. Dutch film professionals can now compete internationally on the basis of quality. We expect this measure to enable more foreign producers to shoot and produce in the Netherlands.”
The statement by the Dutch Government confirms that the introduction of a simple, specific and transparent film measure is considered to be the best option for the Dutch film sector. A cash rebate seems to be the most effective measure in its execution. It will stimulate expenditure within the Netherlands and will give a considerable boost to the Dutch film production climate, with increased levels of employment, on top of the cultural benefit.
Figures from Oxford Economics have shown that employment levels in the European cinema sector have grown over 11% since 1998, while, by comparison, employment in the Dutch film industry fell almost 17% over the same period, a situation that should be rectified by the financial incentives that will become available in 2014.