Cultural citizenship and real politics: the Dutch case

Rene Boomkens*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


In the first decade of the twenty-first century, politics and everyday life in the Netherlands became polarized, under the influence of several conservative and populist movements that reflected a growing distrust of government and 'politics as usual', and a xenophobic and cultural conservative attitude towards migrants and migration, more specifically of Muslims and Islam. Politics took on the shape of a cultural war. This article studies the ways in which Dutch government policy tried to cope with this polarized condition by reshaping its cultural policy. The article focuses on the reorganization of the Council for Culture that advises the government on issues of culture and the arts. In a series of advisory reports the Council introduced new conceptions of citizenship in which the cultural dimension is highlighted and the role of new media and of transnational cultural developments is put forward as crucial and unavoidable. It is shown how this new cultural policy tries to do justice to the new cultural condition by covering five changes in the field of cultural policy: the shift from edification to participation; the shift from an instrumentalist to an more intrinsic definition of culture; a shift from multiculturalism to a politics of difference and experiment; the transnationalization of national politics; and the redefinition of the concept of Dutch culture.

Original languageEnglish
Article number923323414
Pages (from-to)307-316
Number of pages10
JournalCitizenship Studies
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • cultural politics
  • globalization
  • Dutch politics
  • migration
  • transnational culture
  • cultural citizenship

Cite this