Does cultural policy matter in public-art production? The Netherlands and Flanders compared, 1945-present

Martin Zebracki

Environment and Planning A 43(12): 2953–2970

Publication date: 2011


Cultural policy has produced divergent intentions underlying the direction of public art since its advent in Western Europe in 1945. Literature has feebly demonstrated the extent to which differentialities in cultural policy have affected the production of public artworks over time and space. This paper fills this gap as regards Amsterdam and Ghent, cities that are situated in different national institutional contexts. It shows dissimilarity—in that one finds a relatively higher number of public artworks, more spatially dispersed and more diversified public artworks in Amsterdam than in Ghent, which is particularly a result of institutional differences—and similarity between these cities, in terms of initiatives by local communities and arts actors, irrespective of the local policy context. These results provide insight into policy concern with public-art production and the everyday practices and cultural traditions that underpin it.

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