The start of the AFK in 1972
The Amsterdam Fund for the Arts (AFK) was established in 1972. At that time, our task was to 'award commissions for the creative arts' and to grant Amsterdam's prizes for the arts on behalf of the municipality. We also financed cultural productions. Because the AFK operated independently and managed a part of the municipal subsidy itself, its decisions about the contents of works of art could remain independent from political influences.
Between 1972 and 2002: Responsibility for the Amsterdam Prize for the Arts
The municipality commissioned the administration of the AFK to decide which works had made an important contribution to the development of the capital city's creative arts. Between 1972 and 2002, the AFK awarded 18 small-scale, individual prizes annually. The current Amsterdam Prize for the Arts is a conglomeration of those prizes.
From 1995: Responsibilities increase
In 1995 the municipal authorities expanded the AFK's responsibilities. In addition to awarding prizes, the fund was also responsible for subsidizing incidental cultural products and granting commissions for works of visual art in public spaces. In this way, the AFK became Amsterdam's most important institution for providing subsidies for art in public spaces.
2015: A new role for the AFK
The Amsterdam Municipal Council’s Outline Report for the implementation of the 2017-2020 Kunstenplan (Arts and Culture Memorandum), proposed a new role for the AFK. The alderman chose to introduce a new cultural plan system, with an Amsterdam Basic Infrastructure as a subsidy programme for organisations that fulfil an essential function within the city. According to the Outline Report, the AFK would provide not only incidental financing, but would also implement support for all the remaining institutions within the Kunstenplan. In April 2015, the Municipal Council agreed with the Outline Report, and the main principles of the Hoofdlijnen Kunst en Cultuur (Main Ambitions of the Municipal Arts and Cultural Policy) were approved at the end of November 2015. These include changes to the system as mentioned above, as well as changes to the content of policy procedures.
The AFK today
Today, the AFK is available for all disciplines within the cultural sector, for cultural organizations and artists. The fund supports both experimentation and proven quality, established organisations and those that are relatively new, the professional arts and amateur arts - from every district of the city.
The AFK’s tools for implementing Amsterdam's cultural policy consist of programmes for multi-year subsidies as a component of the 2017-2020 Kunstenplan (Arts and Culture Memorandum), as well as programmes for one-off grants. In addition, the AFK initiates special activities which focus attention on proven quality and encourage talent development and innovation within the sector, such as the Amsterdam Prize for the Arts and the 3Package Deal for outstanding international talent.