The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science have reached agreement on the provision of funding to KIT. As a result, the future of the consultancy, research and educational facilities at KIT has been ensured. It also means that the decision to part company with the Tropenmuseum has now become a reality. The Tropenmuseum is to merge with the National Museum of Ethnology in Leiden and the Afrikamuseum.
KIT and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science have reached an agreement on future financial arrangements. The Minister for Foreign Trade and Overseas Development is to make one-off funding of €28m available to KIT, €11m of which is to be allocated to the museum for 2014 and 2015. The remaining €17m will be used to cover various costs, including the redundancy scheme and the safeguarding of the future of the consultancy, research and educational activities of the organisation independent of any government funding. KIT will also be contributing to the costs of this transition. KIT will remain a potential partner for government projects in the future.
Transfer of collections
In addition to the fore-mentioned €11m in funding, the Minister of Education, Culture and Science will also be making €5.5m available for the exploitation of the museum in 2016, meaning that the Tropenmuseum will remain open at least until 2017. The Tropenmuseum is currently working on a merger with the National Museum of Ethnology in Leiden and the Afrikamuseum in Berg en Dal. The new museum – spread over three separate locations – will be entitled to apply for government subsidies from 2017 on.
As soon as the merger has been completed, KIT will transfer responsibility for the museum collections and the national heritage collection to the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science in order to ensure their preservation for the public. The State will then be lending the national heritage collection to the University of Leiden.
New focus at KIT
The ‘New KIT’ will focus on providing research and consultancy services, and also education and training in the areas of sustainable development and intercultural competencies for the international market.
Derk Vermeer, interim director: ‘I am very happy that we have been able to reach this agreement with the government. It means that we will be able to continue to make our research and consultancy services and our international training facilities available to the market; that is where our focus now lies. The past two years have been very difficult ones for KIT and its employees due to the high level of uncertainty and extensive reorganisation. The loss of the theatre and the library were very painful blows, as was the decision to part company with the Tropenmuseum. However, we have full confidence in the future of the museum after the merger has been completed.’
For many decades now, KIT has been receiving structural funding from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. These funds were used to support our knowledge development activities, the library and information services, the Tropenmuseum and the Tropentheater. The funds accounted for approximately 50% of all KIT income. In 2011, the ministry announced that it would be discontinuing its funding. A one-off subsidy to cover transition costs was made available for the year 2013. As a result, KIT announced an extensive reorganisation of the institute in April 2013. It continued its discussions with the government in order to ensure a sustainable future for KIT.
The Royal Tropical Institute was founded in 1910 and has been housed in the historical building on the Mauritskade in Amsterdam since 1926. The changes that it is now facing are also historic in their own way. After all, since the foundation of KIT, its museum and knowledge institute have always been intrinsically linked to each other. However, as of 2014, the museum will go its own way when the merger has been finalised, independent of the new KIT, which will then consist of the legally separated entities of research, consultancy and educational facilities, each with their own particular focus and ambition. The Tropenmuseum and ‘New KIT’ will remain housed at their current locations. KIT will also continue to exploit its historical congress facilities and the Tropenhotel.
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