One of the most densely populated countries in Europe, the Netherlands currently has a population of more than 16 million people. These people have always been known to give a lot of importance to their national media outlets. Television, newspapers, and radio are all frequently consumed even today when everything can be done via the internet.
Dutch cinema, while always having a place in people’s lives, is not one of the most famous kinds of media outlets. Since the year 2000, the average Dutch has been very consistent in going out to the cinema 1.4 times a year on an average basis. The trend was even lower in the 1970s and 1980s but the most popular decades for cinema in the Netherlands were the 1950s and 1960s, even more so than today. Dutch cinema goers usually enjoy foreign films like James Bond, Harry Potter, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Lord of the Rings – which were the highest-grossing movies in the country since 2001. Meanwhile, Dutch movies only share a mere ten to fifteen percent of the gross total every year.
Trends in the Dutch Cinema
Recently, the trend in the Netherlands has shifted towards lesser cinemas but with a larger number of smaller rooms for viewing in every cinema. While at the start of the 1990s there was a total of 175, with upwards of 400 screens and 226 seats for every screen, there was a stark difference in the 2000s. By 2008, only 130 cinemas were left but with a surprising number of 560 screens, with 180 seats for each screen. The Dutch movie theatre market is also very condensed and four main companies, by the names of Wolff, Pathé, Minerva and Jogchem’s, together hold a joint market share of around 80 percent of the total.
It is very rare to see independent Dutch-funded movies in the Netherlands. The absence of government support, capital from Europe or patronage from broadcasters, makes it impossible to make movies. Recently in 2008, only 30 movies managed to be independently or get co-produced by the Netherlands.
Even though the Dutch film industry is usually overshadowed by its German and French counterparts, it still managers to produce first-rate films, with a number of Academy Award winners under its belt, like Hotel Paraiso (Zus & zo), Antonia’s Line (Antonia), Twin Sisters (De tweeling), Oh My Darling and many others. People still go to the cinemas, either to watch local movies of internationally made ones. Cinema, therefore, is still very much alive in the Netherlands, a lot like other media outlets.