Dutch Music Academy Promotes Bitcoin at Student Showcase

The classical music academy has become the first educational institution in the Netherlands to accept bitcoin for tuition.

AccessTimeIconJun 18, 2014 at 10:39 a.m. UTC
Updated Sep 11, 2021 at 10:53 a.m. UTC

The classical music academy Muziekacademie Den Haag has become the first educational institution in the Netherlands to accept bitcoin for tuition.

This Saturday, it will host an event called Bitcoin 4 Music, with the aim of encouraging wider bitcoin use in the country and, more specifically, the arts. The academy is also running a special offer, with the first five attendees to pay in bitcoin receiving a 10% discount on tuition for the upcoming year.

Bitcoin 4 Music will be open-house, meaning people can drop by to meet teachers, play instruments and register for courses next year. In addition, students of the academy will showcase their music in an ongoing six-hour concert.

State of the arts

Director Maria Lewanski explained to CoinDesk that the government's budget cuts, a result of the financial crisis, are destroying the country's cultural infrastructure. She said:

“They announced those budget cuts that are basically crippling orchestras, crippling museums, theatre groups, everything. It was enough that everyone was going to have a really hard time surviving.”

For The Hague, the cuts meant the arts center would have to shut down as well. Some 40 music teachers were let go on 1st July of last year, but they opened their own music academy independently. The Music Academy has now been up and running since September and has managed thus far without subsidies.

As a knock-on effect of these cutbacks, private sponsors are being hounded for funds by cultural institutions. Lewanski added:

“Everything is really blocked up now. All of the private funds, foundations, sponsors are now being propositioned by three times as many institutions who are no longer getting subsidies now […] They worked us into a corner where we really have no opportunities for getting a lot of funding.”

She added that the banking sector's role in the diminishing cultural sector has made the idea of circumventing banks more attractive. In turn, she hopes that the proclaimed “bitcoin millionaires” that made fortunes in the digital currency might be willing to help with donations to the Academy.

Dutch bitcoin economy

The Netherlands

has been more welcoming of bitcoin than many of its European counterparts, attracting new businesses and startups like payments provider Mollie, which has made the digital currency accessible to people through more than 10,000 merchants.

Additionally, back in March, a row of businesses began accepting bitcoin payments on two canal-side streets in the Hague, unofficially rebranding as Bitcoin Boulevard.

This is in spite of the Dutch central bank's warning earlier this month that bitcoin's high degree of anonymity is attractive to money launderers, and earlier advice that bitcoin is not “a viable alternative for the basic functions of money”. It remains open to the digital currency, though it is still learning and assessing its risks.


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