We are only 7% dependent on grant money

Erik Backer

The building contains several venues. Where we are now is called the old hall. It is a club like a concert hall and we have got a bigger one with the capacity for 1500 people this is about 650. So we have got two concert halls, a theatre and a cinema and apart from that a gallery were we show mainly photo exhibitions and we have got so called media room. The restaurant is located near the gallery so in the day time it also functions as the entrance to our gallery. And in the evening is the restaurant and also an extra bar for this concert hall here.

The programme is really varied especially in music. You can not think of a genre that we are not doing here maybe except from classical music. But it ranges from jazz, hip-hop, blues and rock, death metal. Well, you name it and we you have got it here. That also means that you have got quite a lot of different audiences. Which means that you will need a very sophisticated marketing department to really approach all these people. And that you will need the security and doormen who can handle all these different people with their own ways of enjoying when they are going out.

And it also means that as we are having shows mainly in the evening but in a certain nights also after 12 o'clock that you need so many people employed. You can not let people work of course for 12 or more hours. So we need shifts sometimes. So if you take that all in consideration you can say that we employ about 260 people. And everybody in Melkweg is payed. So we do not work with volunteers we never did actually. But for many pop venues in Netherlands it is quite common to work with volunteers but it is not here I guess.

So also the income for Melkweg is mainly the tickets of the entrance and of course the drinks from the bars. Sometimes we rent a building not in a commercial way but usually to let say secondary schools or high schools or universities who do some kind of cultural programmes for their students. And another income source of course is the grant that we receive from the city of Amsterdam. It is in itself actually quite the sum of money. It is 850.000 euro which is an okay sum. But if you consider that whole turnover in a year in Melkweg is about 13 million euros it means that we are only for a 7% dependent on government or a city money which is good. We actually have to operate like a real enterprise although we do not aim for a profit. But we do not aim for a loss. So we need some extra at the end and also in order to well to get reserves and some times for a calamity or lot of stuff you have to buy. So this is how the Melkweg is operated financially.

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Erik Backer

Erik Backer

Executive director of Melkweg in Amsterdam, Netherlands

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