'Morning Sun', Edward Hopper. Drents Museum, Assen.

Photo: Bert Kaufmann

COVID-19: actual measures for financial support

On this page we share information on the effects of COVID-19 on the cultural sector in the Netherlands and the available measures for financial support.
31 december 2020
Michiel van der Padt

Last update: 12 June 2020

This page tries to refer to official government publications only. For the latest information we encourage you to consult these sources directly. No rights can be derived from the information displayed on this page.


  1. Information for self-employed persons working in arts and culture in the Netherlands 
  2. Information on grants and funding
  3. Information for organisations in arts and culture with employees
  4. Information on residence permits: no work no permit?
Information for self-employed persons working in arts and culture in the Netherlands

If you are a self-employed individual without employees (ZZP) living in the Netherlands and working in arts and culture, many of your activities may have been cancelled due to the coronavirus. With that, for you and many other self-employed individuals, your income and financial independence might face acute problems. In order to support self-employed persons in the Netherlands, the government has relaxed the requirements for income support for self-employed individuals (Bbz). This temporary extra support is known as Tozo (tijdelijke overbruggingsregeling zelfstandig ondernemers).

For the period between the 1st of March and the 30th of June the first round of support was distributed (Tozo 1). The second round, Tozo 2, can be applied for between the 1st of June and the 30th of September. This 4-month extension of the Tozo must be applied for separately. Requirements are similar, except that for Tozo 2 a partner test applies. This means that you and your partner's combined income must be below the social minimum in order to be eligible for support.

What exactly does the Tozo support entail for self-employed individuals?

  1. Income support. The government will supplement the income of those who's income has been decimated by the corona crisis up to the guaranteed income minimum. This can amount to a maximum of around €1500 euros (net), depending on your age and the composition of your household. This support does not have to be repaid, and there is no capital norm (meaning no savings or capital are weighed in calculating the eligibility for support). 

  2. A loan for business capital up to a maximum amount of €10,157. You do have to repay this loan, but it is possible to request a delay of your payment obligation. The interest rate will be lower than under the regular Bbz.

Tozo 2 retroactively comes into effect on 1 June 2020, and will remain in place until 30 September 2020. This means that between now and 30 September you can apply for income support through the Tozo-scheme for the months of June, Juli, August and September. As the scheme works retroactively, there is no need to apply immediately. You have to apply through the municipality where you live.

In order to qualify for Tozo 2 you must fulfil the following requirements:

  • you are an established self-employed professional, aged between 18 and (state) pension age. Are you a self-employed professional and have you reached state pension age? You can apply for the loan for business capital.
  • your nationality is Dutch or equalled*
  • you live and reside in the Netherlands legitimately.
  • you practice your business or profession in the Netherlands. If you live in the Netherlands but have your business abroad (in the EU, EEA or Switzerland), you can apply for the income support under this scheme to the municipality where you live.
  • you meet the legal requirements for being a business owner, for instance you are registered in the Commercial Register (Handelsregister)
  • you have all permits required for your profession or business
  • you started your company before 17 March 2020, 18:45 hours and you meet the hours criterion: a minimum of 1,225 hours per year are put into your company or professional activities. If you started your business less than a year ago a minimum of on average 23.5 hours per week applies
  • owners of a private limited company (dga's) must hold at least 50% of shares and meet the hours criterion
  • there are no grounds for exclusion from the Participation Act
  • you live in the municipality where you apply

*Equalled is defined as: nationals from EU-countries, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland. But also other nationals staying in the Netherlands on a valid residence permit.

More information and how to apply can be found on the website business.gov.nl. For a general FAQ for entrepreneurs, visit this page. For information on the Tozo support for self-employed professionals, visit this page.

Entrepreneurs without personnel may also be eligible for a one-time €4000,- compensation if their business is deemed to be directly hit by government measurements taken against the coronavirus. For more information, read further under “Information for organisations in arts and culture with employees”. 

Information on grants and funding

The Dutch government has indicated that leniency measures will be taken to support institutions receiving a subsidy from the basic cultural infrastructure (BIS) 2017-2020 or the Heritage Act. Various funds, such as the Performing Arts Fund, Creative Industries Fund NL, Mondriaan Fund, Netherlands Film Fund, Dutch Foundation for Literature, Cultural Participation Fund, and various private funds will also do this. They have stated that they will act generously in the reporting of subsidised activities: the fact that planned activities could not take place due to the coronavirus will not be charged to subsidised parties. Please do note that different funds have different guidelines regarding cancelled activities. As a beneficiary person or organisation, you must contact the fund. Be sure to check the website of the relevant fund to do this. 

Some open calls, grants and other funding opportunities are temporarily suspended; meaning they currently do not accept applications. If you are looking for funding for any future activities, double check with your envisioned funder(s) whether you can apply and if any precautions should be taken considering your timeline.

The Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO) provides subsidies and vouchers and the Strategic Scholarships programme to entrepreneurs and private-public consortia that participate in strategic grants abroad. Since conventions and gatherings are cancelled or postponed all over the world due to the COVID-19 virus, RVO has changed its cancellation conditions. For more information about the cancellation conditions in your specific case, please contact your contact person within the PPS consortium and / or RVO. You can reach out to the RVO with questions regarding your international business here.

Information for organisations in arts and culture with employees

For organisations in arts and culture with employees who face acute financial problems or even bankruptcy, a number of preventive measurements are taken by the government:

  • A so-called NOW scheme has been set up by the government to help enterprises hit by the corona crisis to continue paying wages to their employees. Depending on the loss in turnover for enterprises, up to 90% compensation for wages can be claimed. If an enterprise chooses to claim using the NOW scheme, it will not be allowed to request permission to dismiss employees on economic grounds during the period for which you receive compensation. The first NOW-scheme, which allowed organisations to apply for wage compensation for the months March, April and May, is currently closed. The second now scheme will open op 6 July 2020 and will allow organisations to apply for wage compensation for the months June, July, August and September. Applications are handled by the Employee Insurance Agency (UWV), who strives to handle requests for the NOW scheme from April 6th onwards.
  • A one-time, fixed compensation of 4000 euros (TOGS) is available for entrepreneurs who have been directly hit by the coronavirus and measurements taken by the government in response to it. It is specifically for those enterprises that were either forced to closing their enterprise, are restricted in meetings and/or face curtailment of travel. Organisations can apply for the TOGS until 26 June 2020.
  • A more structural government support to compensate fixed costs called TVL will be open for applications later this month. It allows organisations and enterprises who deal with a minimum of 30% revenue loss to compensate fixed costs such as rent, insurances, leases, maintanence and subscriptions. The maximum reimbursement that can be obtained is €50.000,- for four months (June, July, August and September). 

More measurements, such as delayed payment of taxes and loans, are/will be available for business in need. For more information check the FAQ for entrepreneurs on business.gov.nl.

Information on residence permits: no work no permit?

For non-EU citizens who have a conditional residence permit (this is essentially every type of residence permit that is not a permant residence permit), they are required to have sufficient, independently earned financial means to support themselves and their family without making use of public assistance. If individuals do intend to make use of public assistence and benefits, their permit may be revoked. On Friday the 17th of April, the State Secretary of Justice and Security communicated to Parliament that claiming a Tozo benefit will not have any negative consequences for holders of residence permits who are required to have a certain income-earning capacity, stating that: "I will make an exception for non-EU citizens with a residence permit for definite time [i.e. a non-permanent residence permit] with the purpose ‘work in self-employment’ who claim a benefit based on the Temporary Bridging Scheme for Self-Employed Entrepreneurs (TOZO). Considering the special circumstances and the temporary nature of the scheme, claiming a benefit based on this scheme will not have any consequences for the right of residence of the non-EU citizen in question".  Lawfirm Franssen Advocaten has dedicated an extensive blog (in English) to the matter with thorough explanation. We also encourage you to keep an eye on the FAQ-page on the coronavirus by the IND.

When it comes to fulfilling a minimum amount of working hours, it is important to remember that any kind of work relating to your (artistic) practice can be counted as working hours. This includes administrative tasks, researching and reflecting. If you are not doing this already, keeping up with a type of working hour registration can become more important if you have to prove your productivity as a self-employed individual to immigration services. 

COVID-19 Helpdesk for international cultural cooperation.

If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact DutchCulture's COVID-19 Helpdesk through this contact form. Also let us know if information on this page is incorrect or if certain information is missing. 

For more information, including specific information on other how other countries are dealing with the corona crisis, and specific information per artistic discipline, please refer to our COVID-19 Dossier main page (in Dutch).