Activist group Fossil Free Culture NL (FFCNL) projected a huge earthquake crack onto the Groninger Museum in the evening of Friday, January 29th, with the intention to call out the Museum’s financial ties to gas companies GasTerra and Gasunie. FFCNL called for the Museum to sever such ties, claiming that an institution that presents itself as the “fertile cultural soil” of the province should not accept money from companies that are destroying that same landscape.
FFCNL – a collective of artists, activists, researchers and critics – strives to end the influence of the fossil fuel industry in the cultural sector, and believes that cultural institutions play a crucial role in the fight against the climate crisis. The group has called out as hypocritical and wrong the fact that the Groninger Museum receives financial support from the two former subsidiaries of the Nederlandse Aardolie Maatschappij (NAM), while the province has experienced more than a thousand earthquakes over the past 40 years as a result of gas drilling.
“Through such donations, the fossil fuel companies can pretend to be benefactors of the Groningen community and polish their image. This is unacceptable,” said FFCNL spokesperson Maria Rietbergen. “The cultural sector should not allow itself to be used as a marketing tool for the fossil fuel industry, because that is how you maintain the social acceptance of their destructive practices. That is why we are calling on the Groninger Museum to end its ties with GasTerra and Gasunie.” Fossil Free Culture is planning to keep its demonstrations going until the Museum decides to renounce the sponsorship money from fossil industry companies such as GasTerra and Gasunie.
According to Dagblad van het Noorden, the director of the Groninger Museum Andreas Blühm found the Friday action “stylish” and understands the ideals behind it. At the same time, he has no intention of refusing the incoming sponsorship money.
The collective will therefore continue carrying out protests against the Groninger Museum in the future. They strongly believe that they can have a major impact on institutions, and have previously succeeded in adjusting policies of the Van Gogh Museum, Nemo Science Museum and The Concertgebouw, among other things.
Translated and adapted from the Groningen Internet Courant