Arthur van Dijk new chairman of DutchCulture's Supervisory Board: “Art communicates and connects”
DutchCulture is proud to announce the appointment of the new Chairman of the Supervisory Board: Arthur van Dijk. At the same time we take leave of our current chairman Arno Brok.
Arno Brok, King’s Commissioner in Friesland, really enjoyed his time as chairman of DutchCulture’s Supervisory Board. The decision to pass the baton was more of a rational decision rather than an emotional one. “DutchCulture is about to start a new policy planning period and it is better that the new chairman is involved with that from the beginning,” says Brok.
Arno Brok joined DutchCulture soon after it was formed by the merger of three institutions. “I have always been really impressed by the knowledge and spirit of the DutchCulture staff members. I was often there when one of the members of staff came to provide comment and I always noticed how professional and passionate they are. I am going to miss that.”
Brok shares that passion. A sense of amazement is how he describes his feelings when looking at beautiful paintings, particularly when it comes to landscape art. “I can really get lost in such a painting. And as a member of the board, art and culture are my top priorities. From an international point of view, I have a particular interest in language diversity. When I was twenty years old, I moved to Fryslân (the province of Friesland). This was supposed to be a temporary move initially, but I ended up staying and learning the Friesian language. I discovered that there are no less than thirty regions in Western Europe where multiple languages are spoken. I think it is incredibly important to nurture those cultures, both at the level of Fryslân but also internationally.”
Brok therefore thinks that the government should dedicate more money to art and culture in the Netherlands. “Our Minister of Culture spends just under 800 million which is not really enough. We should create a healthy climate in which art and culture can flourish and the government should facilitate this. Fortunately, DutchCulture makes an important contribution and I am confident that this can only get better with Arthur van Dijk as new chairman of the Board. I am really happy that he has taken on this responsibility. He is a gifted board member who will fulfil his duties with charm and discernment.”
Arthur van Dijk has been King’s Commissioner in the Noord-Holland province since 2019. Previously, he was chairman of Transport & Logistiek Nederland, where he gained a lot of international experience. Before this he was an alderman (VVD party) in the Haarlemmermeer region, where art and culture were part of his portfolio. Arthur van Dijk has long been an art connoisseur and trumpet player. For him, art is an intrinsic part of life, so he did not have to think long when Arno Brok asked him if he would be interested in taking over his role as chairman of DutchCulture’s Supervisory Board.
“As a child I used to listen to the steel plates on my parents’ music box. Tick tock, tick tock went the metal – I can still hear that sound as if it were yesterday. We would be listening to Cavelaria Rusticana by Pietro Mascagni. When I listen to it now, it takes me straight back to my childhood. That is the power of art. It can conjure up the past, the present and the future.”
But it is also about connection, says Van Dijk. And this is where DutchCulture plays such an important role. “I recently attended a concert by Iris Hond. She was once homeless, and now she is a successful concert pianist. I arranged a meeting between her and Achmed, a pianist who is a refugee from Aleppo, Syria. These two can really mean a lot for each other. Art and culture can make connections where politics fail. Art is about more than beauty alone. Art communicates, it connects, it allows people to truly look at each other. Art can lead to growth. As an alderman, I was responsible for art and culture and I have always been a strong advocate for art education at school as it gives children an essential foundation.”
DutchCulture is an indispensible knowledge and network organisation, says Arthur van Dijk. “DutchCulture not only establishes connections but also helps artists to develop in other countries, which subsequently brings us all kinds of good and beautiful things. What the people in politics often forget is that art and culture is so much more than the sum of its parts. Investing in art and culture is absolutely worthwhile and everyone can contribute in their own different way. Joining the Supervisory Board is my personal contribution and I am really looking forward to it!”